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How to stay calm and maintain your sexual health during election season

By Dr. Jamin Brahmbhatt, CNN

(CNN) — Election season — with all its arguments about debates, political ads and fundraising text messages — brings a roller coaster of emotions. Whether you’re glued to the news, debating with friends or scrolling through social media, stress and anxiety at this time can be overwhelming.

If you feel that stress, you’re in good company: Some 62% of Americans feel worn out by election coverage, according to a Pew Research Center survey in May.

While you might know that stress from the presidential campaigns can affect your mood, energy and temper, it may surprise you to know it can also affect you below the belt. Here is what you can do about it.

The connection between stress and sexual health

Stress is a well-known libido killer because it triggers the release of cortisol, a hormone that can interfere with both sexual desire and performance. Elevated cortisol levels can lead to a decrease in testosterone, further affecting libido.

The emotional fatigue and heightened stress from the current presidential campaigns can lead to an increase in cortisol and a decrease in testosterone levels, making it more challenging for people to feel in the mood.

Chronic stress can also lead to other health issues that indirectly affect sexual health, such as cardiovascular problems, sleep disorders and mental health issues. All these factors combined can create a cycle in which stress has a negative impact on sexual health, leading to further stress and health complications.

Erectile dysfunction and anxiety

Anxiety is another common byproduct of election stress. Constant worrying about the future can trigger performance anxiety, leading to erectile dysfunction, or ED. Men with high levels of anxiety are more likely to experience ED, according to a 2021 study in the International Journal of Impotence Research. So if you’re finding it difficult to perform in the bedroom, the anxiety induced by the campaign might be to blame.

Election scrolling can disrupt sleep patterns

Poor sleep quality is directly linked to sexual dysfunction, as it can lower testosterone levels and increase stress hormones such as cortisol. So try not to stay up late to catch every news update on the campaigns. And this recommendation isn’t limited to election coverage; any form of prolonged screen time and stress-inducing content can similarly affect sleep and, consequently, sexual health.

Prioritizing a consistent sleep schedule and reducing nighttime screen exposure can help maintain your overall well-being and sexual health.

The humor in political stress

Picture this: You’re in bed, trying to get intimate, but all you can think about is the latest polling data or what one of the candidates said at a rally. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s a reality for many of my patients.

Humor can be a great stress reliever, so don’t be afraid to laugh at the situation. Cracking up with your partner about the craziness of the election season can help break the tension and bring you closer together. Embracing humor in stressful times can not only ease anxiety but also strengthen your bond.

READ MORE: Sex — does it actually improve your life?

How to get election stress out of your sex life

To manage election stress and maintain sexual health, it’s essential to engage in relaxing activities. Take breaks from politics to read a book, take a walk, practice yoga or do whatever you enjoy to help you calm down. Practicing mindfulness through techniques such as meditation and deep breathing can also help you stay grounded.

Staying active is another natural stress reliever. Regular physical activity can boost your mood, improve sleep and enhance your sexual health. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week. Open communication with your partner about how you are feeling can help reduce stress and anxiety. Walk together, discuss your worries and find ways to support each other during these tense times.

The importance of voting

Even with all this stress, it’s important to remember the power and privilege of voting. Not everyone around the world gets to vote. Your voice matters, and participating in the democratic process is an essential way to contribute to the future you want to see. If you haven’t registered to vote, you can do so at

Even when you’ve done all you can do, know that election stress is real and can have surprising effects on your sexual health. By acknowledging the problem and taking proactive steps to manage your stress, you can maintain a healthy and satisfying sex life, even during the most turbulent political times.

So, take a deep breath, focus on what really matters — your health and well-being — and remember to cast your vote. And then have some fun with your partner.

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