RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Intimacy will lower couples’ stress levels, especially if they’re having problems at work, a study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine suggests. Intimate contact—from just holding hands to having sex—correlated with lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the couples studied.
THE DETAILS: Researchers had 51 working couples take saliva samples and record their mood and activities several times a day over the course of 6 weeks. The couples also kept track of the stress they experienced at work. The more intimate contact recorded, the lower the subjects’ cortisol levels (measured in the saliva) were, despite having stressful work environments.
Keep your sex life healthy:
Eat a Sex-Friendly Diet
Enjoy Great Sex for as Long as You Live
Be a Sexually Active Senior
Make Friends with a Sex Toy
WHAT IT MEANS: Daily duties like working, taking care of the kids, making dinner, and bringing home a solid paycheck can put a damper on anyone’s libido. But since sex seems to lower stress levels, it’s probably a good idea to put it on your to-do list a few nights a week.
Sex drive out of gas? Here are some ways to rev up your engine.
• Meditate on the moment. Just a few meditation sessions can jack up your sex drive and speed arousal, say researchers at Canada's University of British Columbia and Israel's Hadassah University Hospital. In their study, volunteers who took three mindfulness meditation classes were more aroused while watching an erotic movie afterwards than when they watched one pre-meditation training. Mindfulness involves simple techniques for calming the mind and focusing on the present moment. Check local hospitals and fitness centers to find a class in your area, or grab a book or guided CD by mindfulness maestro Jon Kabat-Zinn.
• Invest in X. Danish researchers found nearly 70% of women said they better understood their sexual desires after watching X-rated films. Men, here’s how to bring it into the bedroom: Suggest it as foreplay. If she's interested but hesitant, try films directed by Victoria Hart, which are shot from a woman’s perspective.
• Eat some arginine. Peanuts, hazelnuts, and walnuts are a great food source of arginine, an amino acid that improves blood flow, to help you get from dead tired to orgasmic. You only need a handful a day, so sprinkle them on yogurt, salads, or oatmeal. Or just snack on them plain.
For more ideas on easing stress, check out the natural remedy finder