When it comes to natural stress relievers, it really doesn’t get much better than sex. Sex is more than just something that feels good and keeps you feeling connected to your partner. It’s also incredibly good for you, both physically and mentally. Plus, orgasms are perpetually available and free, so you can treat yourself to as many as you can handle.

However, it’s important to understand that sex (either partnered or solo) should always be a way to relieve the effects of stress. If anything about your sex life is making sex a source of stress in and of itself, it’s time to make some changes. Here’s a closer look at where and how to start.

Occasional Slumps Are Normal 

Literally everyone has the occasional stretch of a few days, weeks, or even months when life is just extra stressful for one reason or another. Maybe your boss has been extra demanding at the office lately or your family’s been going through a rough patch. Whatever the case may be it’s understandable that you might not be in the mood for sex as often (or at all) for a while.

Know that it’s perfectly normal not to be super horny and perpetually down to get dirty when you haven’t been feeling well or life’s been demanding a lot from you. Definitely communicate with your partner if you have one, but beyond that, don’t force anything. The chances are excellent that you’ll be feeling like your old sexy self again in no time once things calm down.

If you are concerned about a prolonged or unexplained lack of sex drive though, it never hurts to speak to your doctor or therapist. They’ll be able to determine whether or not there could be a physical cause that ought to be addressed.

Keep Distractions to a Minimum

Technology’s great and there are lots of reasons to love it. However, there’s a reason you’re always hearing about how disruptive it can be. Cell phones, laptops, smart TVs, and the constant connectivity that comes with them can make it hard to appreciate good, old-fashioned, human-to-human connection the way we used to. If you or your partner are in the habit of bringing your tech to bed with you, it may be affecting your sex life as well.

The fewer distractions there are in your bedroom, the better. Try making it a point to finish your emailing, your social media scrolling, and all the catching up you have to do on your Hulu queue before getting up to go to bed. Plug your phones in for the night and leave them in another room to avoid the temptation to sit in bed fiddling with them until you fall asleep. Make your bedroom synonymous with total relaxation. You’re much more likely to spend your time talking, cuddling, trading massages or chasing your next orgasm – activities that bring you closer together and nurture intimacy.

Add Toys to the Mix

Don’t get us wrong. There’s nothing wrong with au natural sex or self-love done the old-fashioned way, but there’s also something to be said for what sex toys bring to the table. Not only are they just plain fun to play with, but they can help relieve sex-related stress in the following ways as well:

  • Sometimes you’re just plain physically exhausted at the end of the day, but could still really go for a quick orgasm or two. Breaking open the toy chest and reaching for your favorite go-to items is a great way to do that on nights you’re just not up for a lot of thrusting or riding.
  • Using toys together can help take some of the pressure to perform off of both partners. They also make it easier to put certain bedroom goals back on your bucket list, like orgasming simultaneously or having multiple orgasms.
  • Sex toys can be a great solution for nights when you wish you were more in the mood, but are having trouble getting there as well. Luxury sex toys (like FemmeFunn’s unique vibrators) can be especially great at waking up those nerve endings and getting them ready to rock.

Sex toys are also a great way to add variety to the way you make love with your partner or explore your body when you’re alone. There are options designed specifically for men, next-level vibrators that can help women explore a full range of sensations, and even toys that can be used together as a couple. Go ahead and treat yourself to an entire collection of toys if you like. The sky’s the limit.

At the end of the day, life’s just too short and orgasms are too good to let stress get in the way. Patience, communication, and dedication are the best ways to move past ruts and get your groove back once and for all.