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Is stress destroying your sex life?
Shilpa Shet
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January 22, 2007

With today's fast-paced lifestyle, many things tend to take a back seat. Quality time with family and friends, personal free time for oneself, etc. For couples, the casualty is often sexual desire.

After spending most of their waking hours at work, many are too tired to do anything but sleep. And for those who like to party, even sleep is not an option.

Navin*, an architect from Mumbai says, "My wife and I both lead very hectic lives. We not only have to work, we also need to have an active social life to increase business contacts. On an average, we realise we are working and partying for almost 14 hours a day."

This, he says, has resulted in a non-existent sex life. "We get so stressed out that we don't even look at each other when we crash for the night," he sighs. "We fight a lot and have gone to sleep many times on a sour note." While he mourns the lack of closeness that comes with intimacy, he says they both are willing to sacrifice their sex life for the sake of their careers, at least for a few years.

A common problem

Dr Mahesh Nawal, a qualified sex therapist and counsellor for many years, says this is not unusual. His online consultancy receives 40 to 50 queries everyday, most of them relating to decrease in sexual activity.

"Men are more affected by this than women because the demands and expectations from them are very high," he warns, adding that a diminishing libido can cause a whole lot of problems in a relationship. "Constant pressure and a failure to perform can lead to frustration and depression. For some couples, separation seems to be the only way out." 

A case in point is 23-year-old Ashwini, who is dating a 28-year-old  workaholic businessman. "He is on the phone all the time, day and night," she wails. "Initially, I tolerated it thinking his work is critical. Now I am getting frustrated."

Their sexual chemistry, which was very strong, initially has dwindled. "We don't even hold hands now," she says.

Top culprits

What causes a diminishing libido? Stress arising from having to juggling work and home seems to be the main culprit. Lack of time, communication, perfomance anxieties and increasing competition at work all contribute to stress. 

The solution

Identify the problem and then address it, instead of indulging in a blame game. According to sexologists, it is the brain and not your hormones that control your emotions and moods. So, put that brain into use by sitting down with your partner and discussing the situation till a compromise can be reached. Take the help of a therapist if necessary.

Compromise worked for Sachin Kumar, a project manager from Mumbai. "Things came to a head with my partner due to my long working hours. I realised that, to save the relationship, something had to give,"  he says.

Sachin negotiated with his clients over deadlines and cut back on his hours. He has also joined a yoga class. "I am home at a decent time. I feel like a new person and it has already improved my overall performance," he grins. 

Tips for a rocking twosome

Useful links

* Name changed to protect identity

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