Does Lack of Sex Cause Anger?

angry face illustration

There are many reasons for a lack of intimacy. Mental health issues like depression and anxiety can affect libido. Certain medications can also have sexual side effects. Touch starvation can occur when couples go months without being physically intimate.

Dwindling intimacy can cause stress, and that can lead to anger. But does lack of sex actually cause anger?

1. Lack of Feel-Good Chemicals

During sex, your body releases feel-good chemicals such as endorphins and oxytocin. Oxytocin is often referred to as the “love hormone,” which promotes bonding and trust in relationships. When we lack sex, our brain doesn’t produce these chemicals, and as a result, we can become stressed out and snappy. In fact, research shows that people who avoid sex struggle to deal with stress.

This is why it’s important to talk about sex with your partner regularly. Keeping the lines of communication open can prevent resentment from building up. It’s also helpful to practice relaxation techniques such as exercise, meditation, and masturbation to release some of that pent-up energy you may be feeling.

If you’re not talking about sex with your partner and you’re feeling angry, consider seeing a therapist together. If your insurance doesn’t cover a therapist, there are many online options and coaches that can be very affordable.

Having a healthy and fulfilling relationship can improve your mood and help you deal with sex problems. If you and your partner have been struggling with issues like infidelity or resentment, it’s important to seek counseling. This will help you address these issues and build a stronger bond. You can also try to focus on other areas of your relationship, such as spending time with friends or taking up a hobby.

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2. Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety and depression can make you feel irritable, easily tense, and more likely to explode with anger. They also can lead to other health problems, like lung issues, headaches, heart disease, fatigue, and sleep disorders.

Some people with anxiety and depression have what psychologists call “explosive anger.” These are bursts of rage that can look and feel a lot like an anxiety attack, with symptoms like flushed skin, erratic heartbeat, profuse sweating, and a feeling of tightness in the chest. It can be hard to tell the difference between an anxiety and an anger attack, but a mental health professional can help you find healthier coping mechanisms.

Another way that depression can lead to anger is through self-criticism and shame. Some older psychoanalytic models viewed depression as the result of repressed rage that cannot be expressed, so the rage is instead directed at the self. This can lead to feelings of worthlessness, which also fuels anger.

Talk therapy can be helpful for both anxiety and depression. You can try techniques, like self-compassion, to learn to treat yourself the way you would a friend with the same problem. You can also try joining a support group for anxiety and/or depression to spend time with others who understand what you’re going through. They can offer support and encouragement that you might not get from a friend or family member.

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3. Relationship Issues

If sex in your relationship is drying up and you’re starting to get angry, chances are the root cause has more to do with relationship issues than not having enough erotic energy. Whether one partner is more concerned about work, family responsibilities, or their own personal health, all these factors can make it hard to find time for sex. And if you don’t discuss these concerns openly, the problem can become bigger and more difficult to fix.

Personal triggers such as insecurity about lovability, jealousy, anxiety, or body image issues can also contribute to the lack of intimacy. They may cause one or both partners to be less willing to take risks or to feel that their sexuality is a sign of rejection. Those are not easy issues to broach, so some couples need help from a counselor to open the lines of communication and discover any underlying problems.

Other signs of anger in a relationship include obsessing over “shoulds” and “musts,” jumping to conclusions, mind reading, and collecting straws (looking for something small to be upset about). If you and your partner are experiencing any of these side effects, it might be worth seeking professional help to address them. Anger in a relationship is often destructive, and it can create a vicious cycle that’s almost impossible to break out of.

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4. Physical Health Issues

Many men and women struggle with physical health issues that affect their sex drive. When people do not have sexual intimacy on a regular basis, they can experience health problems like fatigue and low energy, blockage in blood flow, pain during orgasm, lower back issues and other physical ailments.

These health issues can cause emotional distress and lack of desire for sex. This can lead to anger and irritation as the person tries to cope with their health issues. If you have a physical health problem and are struggling with sexual frustration, talk to your doctor about it.

Corrine Hounslow is a stay-at-home mother of three who struggles with low libido. When she goes a long time without sex, she becomes snappy with her family and co-workers. It’s not that she’s pre-menstrual or depressed; she’s just tired and irritable. But she knows that her problem is not just about a lack of sex, it’s about sex being absent from her life. Research in 2016 suggested that sex releases feel-good chemicals in the brain that improve mood and reduce depression. When these chemicals are not released, the result can be sexual frustration and anger. The good news is that there are a number of things you can try to help boost your sex drive and prevent sexual frustration from arising in the first place.

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