Does election stress affect your sexual health? An expert explains

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Couples can maintain a healthy and satisfying sex life, even during the most turbulent political times, by taking proactive steps to manage stress.

Publisher’s Note: Dr. Jamin Brahmbhatt is a urologist and robotic surgeon at Orlando Health and an assistant professor at the University of Central Florida School of Medicine.


Election season — with all its debates, political ads, and fundraising text messages — brings a rollercoaster of emotions. Whether you’re glued to the news, debating with friends, or scrolling through social media, stress and anxiety can be overwhelming during this time.

If you’re experiencing this stress, you’re in good company: According to a May Pew Research Center survey, 62% of Americans feel exhausted by election coverage.

While you may know that presidential campaign stress can affect your mood, energy, and temperament, you may be surprised to learn that it can also affect you below the belt. Here’s what you can do about it.

The Link Between Stress and Sexual Health

Stress is a known libido killer because it triggers the release of cortisol, a hormone that can interfere with both sexual desire and performance. Elevated cortisol levels can lead to a decrease in testosterone, further affecting libido.

The emotional fatigue and increased stress from the current presidential campaigns can lead to a rise in cortisol levels and a drop in testosterone levels, making it harder for people to feel in the mood.

Chronic stress can also lead to other health problems that indirectly affect sexual health, such as cardiovascular problems, sleep disorders, and mental health problems. All of these factors together can create a cycle where stress negatively impacts sexual health, leading to further stress and health complications.

Erectile Dysfunction and Anxiety

Anxiety is another common byproduct of election stress. Constant worry about the future can lead to performance anxiety, which leads to erectile dysfunction, or ED. Men with high anxiety levels are more likely to experience ED, according to a 2021 study in the International Journal of Impotence Research. So if you’re finding it hard to perform in the bedroom, the anxiety caused by the campaign may be to blame.

Poor sleep quality is directly linked to sexual dysfunction, as it can lower testosterone levels and increase stress hormones like cortisol. So try not to stay up too late to follow every campaign news story. And this recommendation isn’t limited to election coverage; any form of prolonged screen time and stress-inducing content can similarly affect sleep, and therefore sexual health.

Prioritizing a consistent sleep schedule and limiting screen exposure in the evening can help maintain your overall well-being and sexual health.

Imagine lying in bed trying to get intimate, but all you can think about is the latest polls or what one of the candidates said at a rally. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s the reality for many of my patients.

Humor can be a great stress reliever, so don’t be afraid to laugh at the situation. Laughing with your partner about the craziness of election season can help break the tension and bring you closer together. Embracing humor during stressful times can not only relieve anxiety, but also strengthen your bond.

READ MORE: Sex – Does it Improve Your Life?

To manage the stress of the election and maintain your sexual health, it is essential to engage in relaxing activities. Take breaks from politics to read a book, go for a walk, practice yoga, or do whatever you enjoy to calm down. Practicing mindfulness through techniques such as meditation and deep breathing can also help you stay grounded.

Staying active is another natural way to relieve stress. Regular physical activity can improve your mood, improve your sleep, and improve your sexual health. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week. Open communication with your partner about how you’re feeling can help reduce stress and anxiety. Take walks together, discuss your concerns, and find ways to support each other during these tense times.

Even with all this stress, it’s important to remember the power and privilege of voting. Not everyone in the world is eligible to vote. Your vote matters, and participating in the democratic process is a vital way to help shape the future you want to see. If you haven’t registered to vote yet, you can do so at

Even if you’ve done everything you can, know that election stress is real and can have surprising effects on your sexual health. By acknowledging the problem and taking proactive steps to manage your stress, you can maintain a healthy and fulfilling sex life, even during the most turbulent political times.

So take a deep breath, focus on what really matters — your health and well-being — and don’t forget to cast your vote. And then have some fun with your partner.

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