It’s bad news for your health (and your sex life) if your woman routinely stresses like Christine O’Donnell on Piers Morgan last week. Even if you already have your coping mechanisms fine-tuned – ESPN cancels out all negative energy! – living with a jittery, Type-A partner might still shorten your life, according to new research from the University of Glascow.
The study found finches who mated with stressed-out partners died earlier than birds in stress-free pairs. Different as we are, humans and finches surprisingly share the same physical response to stress and similarly strong bonds with mates – which leads researchers to believe that a stress-case spouse could be shaving years off your life as we speak.
Don’t buy it? Fair enough. But consider this: Her frazzled nerves are probably keeping you from seeing action tonight. A woman’s arousal depends on the absence of anxiety – a response that may be partly biological – sex expert Ian Kerner, Ph. D., explains in Your All-Day Seduction Plan for Better Sex.
Here are four proven tactics to try.
Tweet her sweet nothings from work. Paul J. Zak, director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies, found that use of any social media triggers a 15 percent increase in the feel-good, anti-stress hormone oxytocin – just like physically interacting with loved ones does. “Oxytocin attaches to regions in the brain that process fear and stress and down-regulates them,” Zak say. “It likewise inhibits the release of stress hormones.”
Make her a walnut-crusted salmon for dinner. A team of researchers led by Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, Ph. D., professor of psychiatry and psychology at Ohio State University College of Medicine, found earlier this month that medical students who took 2.5 grams of omega-3s a day showed a 14 percent decrease in the production of inflammation-promoting cytokines, which are part of the body’s stress
response, and a 20 percent reduction in anxiety symptoms. Plus, she won’t have to worry about making dinner. Bonus!
Run her a bath. Soaking will steep her in the stress-busting hormone oxytocin. “Warmness signals safety to the brain,” Zak says. “You shiver when you are cold as a stress response to generate heat.” He says a moderate temperature, usually around 105 degrees, is the most relaxing, depending on personal preference. “Emotionally the brain follows the body,” Zak says. “If the peripheral nervous system signals to the brain that it is relaxing, we release fewer stress hormones and tend to be happier as a result.”
Pleasure her. University of Cincinnati researchers found that the very experience of pleasure – whether from sex or simple comfort food – reduces stress by dampening the response of the brain’s hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which controls reactions to stress. If you know what gets her off, don’t hold back. The researchers say the pleasure-induced stress reduction lasts for seven days!