Mar 162012

So we know that stress kills off sexual interest for lots of people, and then for some people stress ENHANCES sexual interest.

Can I talk about the nature of stress for a minute, so that people understand it better?

You only have one “stress.” What I mean is, you only have one body, which dwells constantly in its own biochemistry; it’s not like it compartmentalizes, so that sometimes you’re swimming around in work stress and sometimes you’re swimming around in school stress and sometimes you’re swimming around in Republican primary stress and sometimes you’re swimming around in What Am I Going to Do with My Life stress. No, it’s all just one pool of stress, with rising and ebbing tides.

So if you’re finding that even though your life is pretty okay these days, your sexual interest seems to be going away, it could very well be because you’re spending too much time watching or listening to the news.

The Republican primaries are AWFUL. They are AWFUL. From the point of view of a person who works in public health, not to mention reproductive health, there is just nothing being said that (a) makes the least bit of sense or (b) gives me any hope for the future of the world, and what’s more, there’s nothing I can do about it, beyond all the things I’m already doing, like teaching and writing and voting. It is AWFUL. The quality of public discourse is swampingly depressing.

And while I know that an informed electorate is vital to the health of the nation and the globe, there is only so much information you need in order to know that you shouldn’t vote for Santorum in the primary and you shouldn’t vote for Romney in the election. Beyond that, you really can’t DO anything about all the awful news, so why are you poisoning yourself with this toxic stupidity?

Because that toxic stupidity is adding to the pool of general stress in your life, and for 80% of us, that general pool of stress drowns our interest in sex. Life is hard enough, what with grocery lists and social obligations, without a daily dose of OHMYFUCKINGGOD-IFUCKINGHATETHESEFUCKINGIDIOTS-WHATISTHEWORLDCOMINGTO-WEAREALLGOINGTODIE. Ya know?

So stop. That’s my tip. Stop paying attention to the news and pay more attention to how nice it feels to live inside a body. Have a glass of wine in a hot bath with fragrant oil. Get a massage. Go for a walk in the woods. Hold hands. Snuggle. Make out. Lick chocolate off someone else’s lips (with their permission).

You know enough about the state of the world. You are doing your part… and part of doing your part is living a life full of joyful, affectionate sex.

And then later? Don’t forget to vote. Okay.

Emily Nagoski

  5 Responses to “sexy pro-tip: stop paying attention to the news.”

Comments (5)
  1. These are my feelings precisely. I’ve passed the point where thinking/talking/worrying/blogging about the election is at all helpful for me. Now, it’s just a source of stress and anger. I’m paying it peripheral attention, but I am NOT dwelling on it until November.

  2. I’m not sure I could ever tune out entirely, but it’s been months since I’ve been exposed to any of the current dismantling of sense and decency directly. Instead, all my news of that sort has been filtered through comedy before getting to my brain. Then I follow it up with a unicorn chaser.

    In terms of things that might help de-stress, I’m currently digging

  3. Indeed! My partner and I are both optimists, even idealists. We both lost interest in sex (with anyone, even ourselves) for a couple of overlapping months, and it seemed to stem partly from other issues but partly from a shared despair at the state of the world.

    It’s possible to be informed without dwelling, and checking in with the news once a week instead of every day doesn’t seem to have affected my ability to write or call my congresspeople when necessary.

  4. You know, it’s funny because I don’t have a partner at the moment, but I have been having some really random symptoms. My doctor isn’t worried, but I am, so I (of course, against my better judgement) input my symptoms into Google and the top hits? Anxiety. Stress. I couldn’t figure that out, but your post makes SO MUCH sense. I mean, I have some work stress, and some moving-to-another-country stress, but both PALE in comparison to OMGIHATEREPUBLICANSRIGHTNOW stress, not to be confused with OMGILIVEINTEXASANDHATERICKPERRY stress. Although, both do go together.

    Thanks for reminding me to take a chill pill about it. My vote doesn’t really do a whole lot in Texas (although, I ALWAYS go) and there’s only so much I can do about it. Rock on, Emily!

  5. SO TRUE. I have an old uncle Frank who told me at the last family reunion to stop watching the news, it’ll just make me cynical. My boyfriend’s to the point with politics that he doesn’t see voting as a viable mechanism for change either. I’ll still vote, though. Just wanted to say I support your claims here!

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