Noise, Stress, and Sex Frequency

Sounds in your surroundings can make the difference between "Grrraow ... baby!" and "Not tonight, dear." Noise causes stress, and sex drive can suffer as a result.



Noise and Sex

Make love to the background noise of barking dogs, traffic sounds, or the neighbor's choice of music? Sure! Nothing says you can't. And if you can, great! But for many people, noise is a sexual turn-off. It interferes with the sense of privacy and feeling of uninterruptibility that helps set the mood, especially for women.

In a study * in which women were asked to list factors that contributed to their sexual responsiveness, the #1 factor identified was "privacy and freedom from intrusion." Loud sounds or nearby voices disrupted the sexual experience.

Just the threat of noise can be enough to put a damper on your libido. If somewhere in the back of your mind you know — or your partner knows — that your lovemaking might be interrupted by the ringing of a cell phone or the sudden and insistent barking of a neighbor's dog, sex becomes just a little less appealing.


Noise, Stress, Sex, and Intimacy

Besides the immediate effect noise can have in killing a romantic atmosphere, there are cumulative effects too. If you experience a lot of noise in your life, it adds to your chronic stress level, and long-term stress can decrease your sex drive.

If you are in an ongoing relationship with a partner, a reduction in the frequency of sex over time can weaken the relationship and lead to other intimacy problems.


Low Sex Frequency ... A Noise Problem?

The good news here is that sex difficulties are not necessarily a symptom of problems in your relationship with your partner. If you're having sex less often than you'd like, consider whether noise could be one of the reasons.

* A L Clark and P Wallin, "Women's sexual responsiveness and the duration and quality of their marriages," American Journal of Sociology 71 (1965): 187.



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