If you’re burning up for all the wrong reasons, it may be due to stress. Draw a line between time spent in the boardroom and in the bedroom, and reconnect with your man

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Modern society would have us believe we can do it all, but when stress hits, sex suffers. According to clinical psychologist Dr Woolf Solomon (“Dr Paul”), stress has surpassed the common cold as the most prevalent health problem we face today. So where does that leave your relationship? “We need a certain amount of stress to function properly: says Solomon, who regularly talks on the topic “Boardroom Burnout, Bedroom Blues’. “This keeps us in our peak performance zone. Yet too much stress can lead to irrational problem-solving and heightened emotions: www

STRESS AND RELATIONSHIPS

The multiple roles women fulfil have a real impact on their romantic relationships. “Women very often feel fatigued and are low in energy. They may have conflict about their different roles: says Solomon. ‘As a result, their sexual desire may be lessened and intimacy becomes less important: Patty Brisben, CEO and founder of Pure Romance, an international company selling intimacy products, agrees. “Stress can be a big drain on our libidos, especially since it’s complex and not something that can be fixed instantly: she says. “When we’re overworked, intimacy can be affected, largely due to the negative effects of cortisol [a stress hormone known to block certain sex hormone receptors, thereby contributing to the fatigue]: “It’s natural for couples to go through ups and downs in their sex lives. Work, kids and stress will affect your libido and ageing also impacts intimacy;’ says Port Elizabeth-based clinical sexologist Leandie Buys. Between juggling all our responsibilities, we often neglect our own needs. “Taking care of yourself means you’re physically, emotionally and mentally better able to take care of those close to you: says Buys.

THE GREAT GENDER DIVIDE

“The way men and women perceive love is one of the biggest relationship problems today: explains Buys. After a hard day at work, sometimes all a woman wants is some affection and help around the house. Her partner’s probably thinking more along the lines of some TV time, followed by bedroom action. Aside from stress, sexual conflict often arises because of the difference between male and female needs. “Women speak in oestrogen, men listen in testosterone,” says Solomon. “Women need love to open up to sex; men need sex to open up to love: The difference between males’ and females’ sexual needs is also physical. ‘It takes two to eight minutes for men to reach orgasm, while it takes women anything from 12-20 minutes. Men’s sexual feelings disappear quickly after orgasm; women’s remain: says Solomon. Making your feelings known is the best way to fulfil both your needs. “Keep communicating,” stresses Solomon. “Express your sexual desires and needs and, most importantly, ensure there’s compromise and mutual understanding in your relationship:’ Both men and women often just need a little appreciation from each other, be it verbal or physical.

– This article was published in the January 2012 edition of Destiny magazine