By Bunmi Sofola
IT is a well-known fact that sex has come to be an accepted stress reliever. Some mornings, Felicia confesses she feels so lethargic she has to force herself out of bed. At work, the lethargy turns to irritability and she finds herself snapping at colleagues for no reason before returning home and picking silly arguments with Dan, her husband about dirty dishes and not helping enough with the children. Sound familiar?
While Felicia’s mood swings may bear some resemblance to the symptoms of pre-menstrual tension or mild anxiety, they are completely unrelated to her hormones or mental state. Her crushingly low spirits are caused by something else altogether-when she last made love. Too long without sex, and she becomes miserable and fractions. “I feel so low, it’s like I’m almost depressed,” confesses Felicia, 33, an executive assistant. “On the weekend, I can’t be bothered to look after the house or do any house work and I’m so short-tempered and feel angry at Dan for everything.
“At work too, my colleagues detect my change in mood and ask if I’m Ok, and I’ll then say I’m feeling a bit low so they won’t take it personally.” Felicia, a mother of two children aged five and 16 months, said she made the connection between her mood swings and the state of her love life after her children were born. “Before we had children, we’d have sex whenever we wanted and would hardly go a day or two without,” she recalls. “But parenthood drained our energy and we’d often be too exhausted.
As the gaps between our lovemaking becomes wider, I noticed the difference in my attitude to Dan. Even when we hadn’t had sex for just a week, I’d start to feel like we were drifting apart and it made me frustrated and angry. I worried about everything and whether our relationship was in trouble. It was very frightening. I can see how couples could break up in these circumstances. A ‘sex famine’ as it’s now popularly referred to, is something many exhausted parents can identify with, not to mention couples who’ve lapsed into a lazy over-familiarity in long relationships.”
The truth is we’re simply not making love as often as we need to. And what’s now becoming apparent are the serious repercussions.As well as impacting on our mood and mental health, experts now believe a lack of sex is particularly responsible for the break-up of some marriages. Early last year, scientists from Florida State University confirmed the importance of sex in making women happy, revealing it triggers an ‘afterglow’ that lingers for 48 hours and which helps couples to bond. Without it, they become miserable and distant.
“And the statistics back this up – according to a recent global survey of 26,000 people aged 16 and older across 26 countries, only 44 per cent of people are fully satisfied with their sex lives. A report by the Kinsey Sex Institute noted that a woman who had sex nine times in a month was 1.24 times as likely to be happy as a woman who had sex four times in a month.
Scientists blame lack of sex activity in the bedroom on the stresses of modern living. The researchers say this decrease in the amount of sex we have could be due to the increased connectivity of modern life, with screens and distractions which don’t go off at 11pm as the old and few TV channels used to. You can see why people would have more time for sex. What else was there to do on a rainy evening in the pre-Net-fix and wi-fi days than slip under the covers with a willing partner?
“Modern woman are working harder too. Add this to the fact that most of us are available online 24/7 and juggling demanding jobs with just as demanding children, and sleep is what most of us lust after in bed. Dr. Geoff Hackeff, a leading expert in sexual medicine believes if we carry on like this, sex is in danger of being a lost art. “The domestic set-up in the Fifties, for example, seemed to positively encourage sex,” he says. “But nowadays, there’s not enough focus on it. Women are tired; they’re working or focusing on screaming children. Some are even exhausting themselves at the gym – which, done to excess, can affect your hormones and destroy your desire.
An active sex life keeps couples together and makes people live longer.”
For Dan, Felicia’s husband, the Jekyll and Hyde changes in his wife’s personality when they don’t have time for physical intimacy have been hard to bear. “It was awful,” he says. “She’d shout at me for little things I had or hadn’t done, and because we both work full-time, it made everything so much harder. Before we had kids, we’d have a lot of sex, but now we’re tired and it’s more difficult. I do miss sex too, but I don’t suffer without it as much as Felicia does. And the only thing that could end the strained atmosphere is to get intimate.
As soon as we have sex, her bad mood lifts and I have my loving, kind wife back. It’s as if a switch had been flicked.”
Felicia agrees. “It’s like we’ve entered the honeymoon period and for the next few days, I’ll feel all happy and normal again. But this only lasts for a week or ten days, so we make a conscious effort to have sex regularly, even if we don’t feel like it.” For years, studies have lauded the physical and psychological benefits of sex. Behaviour linking regular sexual activity to emotional well-being, found that younger women felt more depressed the longer they hadn’t had sex. This is because, like any exercise that raises your heart rate, sex causes your brain to release feel – good chemicals that boost your levels of serotonin
– the happy hormone – to lift your mood. Serotonin is the body’s key anti-depressant chemical and one of the major reasons people feel happy and relaxed after sex.
According to Dr. David Weeks, former head of old age psychology and clinical neurophyschologist at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital, people need to be more aware of the importance of a healthy sex life, particularly in their early years. “Sex has a number of health benefits, which can make men and women look five to seven years younger,” he says. “It causes the release of endorphins, the ‘feel good’ chemical which acts as
a natural pain-killer and reduces anxiety, aiding sleep. The exercise itself boost circulation which is good for the heart and it also causes the. human growth hormone to be released which produces more lean “rriuscles and less fat and makes the skin look more elastic and attractive.”
But it’s not just physiological benefits that count. Dr. Weeks claims sexual satisfaction is a major contributor to quality of life and the psychological impact cannot be understated. “If there’s an absence of pleasure, there is an absence of connectedness between two people, and people may start to have doubts about their relationships,” he says. “Sex sustains intimacy and there are some people who crave that need for sociability and sex more than others.”
Who Needs Light In The Dark? (Humour)
A guy on a date parks his car and gets his girlfriend in the back seat. They make love, and the girl wants to do it again almost instantly.
They end up doing it a second, a third and a fourth time, until the bloke needs a rest and ask his girlfriend to excuse him as he needs to take a leak. While out of the car, he notices a man a few yards away changing a flat tyre. He walks over and says, “Listen, my girlfriend’s over there in my car and I’ve already given it to her four times and she still wants more. If you give her one for me, I’ll change your tyre. l’
The lucky motorist readily agrees, climbs into the vehicle and begins shagging the insatiable girl. While he is at it doggy style, a police man shines a torch through the window. “What do you think you’re doing there?” he asks the man, who replies, “I’m making love to my wife.”
The police man looks bemused and says, “Why don’t you do it at home?”
The man answers, “Well, I didn’t know it was my wife until you shone the torch on her.”