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The single biggest factor ruining your sex life

Stress takes more of a toll on your sex life than having children, work and physical health does, according to a survey.

Out of 2,066 adults surveyed, almost half (45%) said being stressed negatively affected their sex life, in research conducted by BBC Radio 5 Live.

This was by far the most significant problem factor for sex, with physical health coming second (32%).

Mental health issues came third with 26% saying this factor affected sex, followed by having kids (20%) and work (18%).

Other less significant factors included pornography (12%), social media (10%) and reality TV (7%).

Relate therapist Ellen Brady told the BBC: “We’re seeing an awful lot of clients with anxiety issues – anxiety and sex just doesn’t sit together at all.”

She also addresses the factor of social media, which she suggested was a bigger factor than the survey highlighted (only 10% flagged it).

“There’s not the basic connection happening in couples, they’re not even making eye contact or talking to each other, so it’s no wonder when they get to bed that sex is difficult.”

Brady has advice on how couples could improve their sex life after it had suffered – involving putting sex on hold temporarily.

She says: “Ban sex, because whatever you’ve been doing sexually it’s gone wrong, so you want to wipe it out and start again, and just reconnect emotionally and in terms of intimacy.”

“There’s a big gender divide on that one, because women very often want to buy into emotional intimacy and kisses and cuddles and quite often men don’t see that as a priority, they see sex as the priority.”

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How you can reduce stress

Effective ways to beat stress include getting more sleep, practising mindfulness and making sure you do regular exercise.

You should also visit your GP, who can suggest therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) in order to deal with stress.

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