That sex reduces stress - or that no sex increases stress - is hardly a new observation. A team of German researchers, though, is arguing that sexual frustration is a complex phenomenon not to be underestimated. It can precipitate a downward spiral, pulling couples helplessly and unbeknownst into a swirling vortex of all work and no nookie.
Ragnar Beer of the University of Göttingen surveyed almost 32,000 men and women for his Theratalk Project, which has found that the less sex you have, the more work you seek. Indeed, the sexually deprived have to find outlets for their frustrations: they often take on more commitments and work.
Beer's team found that 36 percent of men and 35 percent of women who have sex only once a week take on extra work to compensate for their wanting sex life. It's even worse for the hapless couples who have altogether lost their eye for one another. Forty-five percent of men and 46 percent of women who no longer have sex with their partner seek out other activities to salve their wanting libidos.
And, to make matters worse for sexless workaholics, the extra work cuts into their would-be sex time. "Sexual frustration prevents you from being able to reduce your stress," Beer observes. In other words, no sex leads to even less sex.
"One commonly takes on obligations out of sexual frustration that aren't easy to let go of, like leadership positions in a club, for instance. That takes away from the time spent on the relationship, which again negatively contributes to sexual satisfaction. Unobserved, the frustration often becomes deeply ingrained," Beer observes.
On the other hand, people who have sex at least twice a week don't want to work. Only 5 percent of this horny segment seeks out other activities to live out their stress. Beer is seemingly unconcerned by the prospect that workaholics might fall into a downward spiral of all sex and no work. Indeed, the danger is clear. Beer warns, "It's important for couples to keep a close watch on their sexual satisfaction rather than wait until it's too late."