You find that you have a reduced libido lately. You may also have experienced other sexual intimacy issues with your partner/s. Furthermore, you’ve identified that the problems are occurring concurrently with increased gambling activity. While research finds that gambling disorder and compulsive sexual behavior may commonly co-occur, there is also a connection between gambling and sex drive reduction (even if indirectly so) along with other intimacy problems. It’s important that you’ve recognized the association, but you want to understand more about why this may be occurring and what you can do to mitigate the fallout. Below is a breakdown of everything you need to know.
How Gambling Disorder Can Lead to Reduced Sex Drive and Related Intimacy Issues (What You Can Do About It)
Physiological Impact of Gambling on Sex Drive
Studies show that gambling produces adrenaline, and your body releases the stress-hormone cortisol after releasing adrenaline. Too much of this stress hormone threatens your libido. Over time, chronically elevated cortisol levels related to compulsive gambling activity can cause adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue leads to the body not being able to produce enough cortisol, and the resulting low cortisol levels contribute to a decreased libido.
Gambling Related Sleeping Problems
There is a large body of evidence to suggest that gambling disorder can cause sleeping problems. If you’ve been experiencing sleep disturbances after gambling, you can learn more about it here. It’s relevant to today’s topic because it may be connected to your reduction in sex drive. Research consistently shows that sleep deprivation can lead to reduced sexual desire and arousal.
Causes Disconnect Between Partners
Among the signs of problem gambling, are mood fluctuations, constant focus on the activity, and subsequent lack of attention towards companions. Problem gambling drives a wedge between romantic partners, which has a negative impact on feelings of intimacy on both sides of the proverbial (and literal) bed. This may be the most directly related correlation between gambling and sex problems.
Concurrent Psychological Factors Disrupt Sex-Drive Too
Mood and anxiety disorders are among the most common comorbid conditions of problem gambling. Science shows that stress, anxiety and depression can both cause gambling problems and be made worse by problem gambling. In this sense, we once again find how an increase in problematic gambling behavior can potentially reduce one’s sex drive.
For one, there are biological reasons for a reduced sex drive in those who suffer from depression:
It starts with chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters communicate between your brain, where sexual desire starts, and your sex organs. When your brain thinks desire, your body responds by increasing blood flow to the sex organs. Increased blood flow triggers arousal through an erection or vaginal lubrication. In a person with depression, the sex-related chemicals are out of balance. As a result, sexual desire is low or missing. Low levels of some of these chemicals can also dull pleasurable feelings.Cleveland Clinic
When problematic gambling heightens feelings of depression, libido may suffer.
What about anxiety? On a surface level, anxiety related to gambling can simply distract from erotic stimuli and as a result impair sexual arousal. While more research is required, research also suggests that men with anxiety disorders may exhibit risk factors for erectile dysfunction (ED).
What You Can Do Today
Evidence-based treatments for gambling do not include the management of sexual dysfunction. That being said, the association between problem gambling and reduced sex drive infers that treating the former may help with the latter (for a problem gambler). Moreover, therapy for related anxiety and depression (as per above) may also assist. Therapy is also available to treat intimacy disorder.
Put an end to problematic gambling today, and pave the way for a greater intimacy with your partner.
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