A Chat About Stress, Sex, and Kink, September 2, 2020

Stress, Sex, and Kink

Content: Discussions of stress, anxiety, and its impact on sexual expression. Mentions of self-harm. Kink and stress.

#fetchat date: September 2, 2020

#fetchat is a weekly Twitter chat for anyone interested in exploring the world of kinks and fetishes. The responses below were comments made by #fetchat followers. The answers are posted as they appeared in the chat. We’ve removed the identities of those responding out of respect for their privacy.

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What are the ways stress can impact sexual health & sex drive/libido?

Folks said:

Stress can significantly impact sexual health & sex drive/libido. It can increase it or decrease sex drive. As for sexual health – your entire bodily system is impacted by stress from blood pressure to your energy. When I’m stressed my libido takes a dive.

Stress can sometimes be a good thing, but often when it becomes chronic it performs the exact opposite function. And I do worry that in an ongoing pandemic, this stress we feel is moving from invigorating to chronic and painful.

I think it also depends on the type of stress. Becuase stress isn’t just one flavor. The stress from a new job or a relationship can be different from COVID stress or the stress of dealing with a chronic illness.

Definitely! My lupus stress makes me want to curl up under 50 blankets and sleep a year

YES! Oh my goodness. And because one of my symptoms is severe arthritis, it makes PIV partnered sex miserable – there’s literally NO comfortable position to make that happen. The good thing that came out of that, though, is unlocking my concept of what constitutes sex.

Some won’t experience a change; some will experience a drastic decrease; & then some will become much more sexual. It depends on whether increased stress uses sexuality as a coping mechanism, or if it.

I’d say all kinds of ways. With all the quarantine stress, my consumption of sexual content/items has skyrocketed.

I can only say from my own experience but if I’m overly stressed my sex drive just drops and becomes non existent. I feel very tired. To tired to achieve anything.

Being aware of how stress affects you sounds like a valuable piece of information to have. Some people just go with the flow & never realize how an external influence impacts them, and misappropriation is one of the things that is terrible about the unknown psychological impacts.

What are the ways it doesn’t? LOL. I’m not sure the stress is what kills it. Probably the meds I take for the anxiety/depression are what truly kill it. It’s awful.

depends on the type of stress. Sometimes when I’m stressed my libido goes into the tank. Other times I want sex all the time. And other times I don’t want sex but I just want to masturbate.

Stress lessens my libido. Ironically sex lessens my stress levels, lol. I just need to want it first.

What are some ways to talk to your partner(s) if stress is impacting your sexual health & sex drive/libido? Or encourage a partner who is struggling with stress?

Folks said:

Like someone said, talk things over at a neutral time. Maybe focus on activities that you could do together that you can enjoy & don’t add more stress to ‘perform’.

I think it is about self awareness & open dialogue. If stress decreases libido, the last thing one should do is blame the person experiencing that stressor. And as much of a fan of sexual impulses multiple times a day, it should be a healthy sexuality & relationship.

Just being honest. Where quarantine started, we both had a lack of sex drive, but we talked about wanting that close connection of intimacy even if we weren’t having sex. Just because our sex drive was low, the need for intimacy was still high. 

That’s a beautiful way of looking at a human connection. Sexuality isn’t the only way we might respond to stress – the need for intimacy (that human connection and bond between people) can also be a strong (or weak) response to stress.

If I had a partner, I would need to be extra communicative. Stress has a larger impact in my life, but I think the guilt from not being able to engage sexually would be crushing.

Honest communication can be really hard when it comes to sex. This s is a space where I wish vanilla folks would take more a cue from the kink community. The most important thing, I think, is to have the convo at a neutral time – when you’re not just about to have to have sex or start a scene. Make sure your partner(s) are in a space to listen, and use “I feel…” statements. If someone you love is struggling – talk to them with empathy, let them know there’s nothing wrong with them and that your there for them.

be open about it. If you hide it, your partner will probably know something is wrong and they may blame themselves. Everybody gets stressed and it’s okay to admit that it’s getting to you. 

Communication is always key. Does not matter if you are in a committed relationship, or playmates. But now I see many more people being much more specific with desires and concerns. What do you like and want to explore?

How might stress’s impact on your sexual health and sex drive/libido impact the way you participate kink/fetish play?

Folks said:

There are multiple types of stress and not all are necessarily bad when it comes to kink play. For example, the stress over a long denied orgasm during T&D play, or the stress of a bound person to get free, or a pet to earn a ‘treat’.

Eh, it all matters about your kink partner. If both/all parties have heightened libidos, cool. And if both/all have decreased libidos, that can also work. It’s when there is a mismatch that problems can ensue and disfunctions can develop between partners.

I would guess that it might put a person too much in their own heads to pay attention to their boundaries, or make communicating them harder.

As a Cuckoldress, my cuck knows that when I’m stressed a play session with playmate is exactly what I need. We both crave our sexual spanking sessions for the release it can give us both. A session can be a huge stress relief for both of us, as a Top or bottom. 

I wouldn’t participate at all. I wouldn’t find it enjoyable and I don’t think I’d be a fun partner. Subspace would be nearly impossible. 

CW – Self-harm Like I said, when stress is tied to anxiety then impact play or any kind of strong sensation play is off the table, bc of my history of self-harm. Swaddling play & bondage helps me find some release.

For me my drive has not diminished, but the people with whom I’d like to share it has reduced.

If it was full-blown anxiety sex of any kind would be a no. However, if stressed, getting out of my head would actually help to relieve my stress levels. The distraction is nice.

If I’m very stressed or impaired in any way I would never engage in impact play.

I have bad hips and my mental health is slowly declining so what little play I get is always described as plan b.

What are some ways to use kink and fetish play as a stress reducer?

Folks said:

For many, kink can be a time to set aside or turn off their normal roles or personas and to become someone/thing else. That ‘freedom’ to become a rarely accessed part of their true selves can be a big help with stress.

The sense of being out of control (or in control) can be really healing for folks depending on what they need. The physicality of sexual release, if that’s part of play can release a lot of yummy brain chemistry that helps with stress reduction.

This!!! A session where I can completely let go and place all my trust in my partner is the best reset there is – 100%!!!

it depends on if that kink/fetish was a stress reducer in the first place (i.e., masochism as an absolution & sexual enhancer). Kinks/fetishes/sex are sometimes like music – there are moments in our lives where they just “make sense” and that is whey they are played.

Topping in a scene can give me control when my stress comes from both not having control of what affects my life. Bottoming in a scene can help me, when the stress of being in charge is too much. Benefits of being a switch.

Impact play works wonders for me because it forces me out of my head (away from anxiety and stress). Bonus points for those extra hard weeks when tears come to the surface during play because of the interplay of emotional turmoil (outside scene) and physical pain (inside).

I’ve started planning scenarios in more details and pushing the limits with those I play with.

What are the important safety issues to consider when you are using kink/fetish play as a coping tool? 

Folks said:

Maybe paying extra attention to physical cues, doing extra check-ins/more involved aftercare. Probably a lil extra discussion before starting just to make sure.

I’m cautious about using kink for stress relief if you’re not also doing the work outside of kink to address the source of stress.

I think it is about mental wellbeing & also physical wellbeing, as stress can increase risk taking behavior. I would say these two areas of concern should always be considered in general, but stress can reduce our decision-making capacity. So question and evaluate.

So – stress can dip into fight/flight/flee responses if anxiety is involved. And in play the same thing can happen (well-planned & negotiated). Putting those 2 things together can overwhelm someone’s coping, lead to drop, or increase stress instead of decreasing it. So safewords and constant check-ins are necessary. Some types of play may be off the table to keep everyone in a safe headspace. Aftercare may look different for all partners. Communication needs to be on point. 

asking about stress should be a part of the negotiations. You need to make sure that you’re not pushing someone beyond what they should do, and you should self-assess to make sure you are in control enough to pay attention to the unspoken signals.

stress can cause people to not realize they have passed a threshold of pain, desire or interest of others. Do not allow “our” desires for release to overshadow safety.

that’s a tough question, personally I wouldn’t want to even try without being in right headspace ..ptsd sux

Don’t get lost in the role play. If you’re using kink as a coping tool, then keep a firm(er than usual) grip on what’s reality and what’s fantasy.

What advice would you give someone who was struggling with the impact of stress on their sex drive/libido?

Folks said:

Don’t make yourself more stressed out trying to “fix” things. Stress happens (god esp. right now). Find as many outlets for stress as possible (don’t put all your stress eggs in the kink basket). Find someone to talk to if that helps.

be kind. Whether it is a hyper active or turtle pace libido, we all deal with stress differently. Talk if you can. Be understanding as you can. And help as you can. If you can be a friend (& not just a sex fiend) that is a good starting point. Be courageous and kind.

True friendship and care IS courageous – because sometimes you have to say things with compassion that may be hard for someone you care about to hear. Thank you so much for sharing that thought.

some medications for anxiety and depression can affect libido. Practice kindness to yourself. Realize that the more you focus negatively on it the more, it will weigh on you. Make intimacy the goal as opposed to orgasms.

First – it’s normative for stress to impact libido/sex drive. Be easy & caring when caring for yourself & partners. Be open & honest about what you are experiencing. Listen with empathy & compassion. Keep play, if you do play, safe, sane, & consensual.

and we reach the crux of why I’m here ..serious question am I wrong for feeling like self harm is an option?

I think it is about knowing what your options are, facing them head on, & knowing that asking for help is a strength, not a weakness. I can’t say self harm is a good option, but in times of stress it can sound like one. Broaden your perspective & see what/who else might help

No. You’re not wrong for having those thoughts. Self-harm short circuits the panic response, but it also creates a destructive feedback loop & feeds feelings like shame and anger. This post talks about self-harm & has info about how it impacts the brain. https://t.co/IbVFlXMj9V?amp=1. My suggestion is to explore counseling. There are a lot of online options now, like http://BetterHelp.com & http://Talkspace.com. When I was practicing as a therapist, I worked w. BetterHelp & they were a great org & offer a sliding fee scale for payment if you ask.

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