Remember the excitement of a new romance? Just the site of your lover would cause butterflies and feelings of desire. The passion was intense, the excitement high and the sex was unbelievable! But alas, nothing lasts forever, those intense feeling and emotions eventually settle down and over time subtle changes come into play that can affect your sex life. One of the most often overlooked causes of these changes is snoring. For too long, snoring was considered nothing more than a nuisance to the snorer and their partner. But we now know that snoring and sex are closely related. Read on to find out how snoring is killing your sex life.
The Five Stages of Sex in a Long-Term Relationship
As we touched on above, your sex life goes through changes as your relationship progresses. There are five “normal” stages to a couple’s sex life when they are in a long-term relationship.
- New – This is in the beginning of the relationship. The sex is very passionate due to the intense feelings of a new relationship. Libido is very high in the new phase of a relationship.
- Comfortable – This is the second stage and the sex evolves from being super-hot and intense to more of a bonding experience. At this stage, sex releases hormones that create intimate bonds between people.
- Committed – In this stage the couple has committed to one another. They can fully relax in the knowledge that this is a “permanent” relationship. Disagreements and fighting happen in this stage as couples must “negotiate” the terms of this relationship. Makeup sex is a good way to get over these disagreements!
- Roommate – After being in a committed relationship for a while or getting married the next step is the roommate stage. This is where building a life together takes priority. New jobs, homeownership, kids and financial obligations take over. Your sex life often takes a backseat to these other obligations. It’s important to prioritize your sex life in this stage.
- Resurfacing – This is when the kids are grown, your careers are established, and you have a bit of financial security. This stage is when you look at your partner and think “wow, he really is a great guy” or “I am so lucky that she’s with me”. Couples often report that sex at this stage is the most rewarding.
Snoring and Sex: A Relationship Killer
Chances are that in the beginning stages of your relationship, you though that your partner’s snoring was “cute”. But certainly not something that would become a serious sex and relationship issue. But the research is clear. Snoring causes physical and psychological changes that affect the sexual function in both men and woman.
Because of this, the bond that sex creates between a couple can disintegrate. Those feelings of love and closeness disappear. And often the relationship dies. Ask almost anyone in a bad relationship and they’ll tell you that sex is one of the first things to go. Not everyone who stops having sex is in a bad relationship, but almost everyone in a bad relationship stops having sex.
So how exactly does snoring fit into all of this? Science has now shown that snoring affects both men and women, the snorer and their partner in ways that can kill your sex life.
The Psychological Effects of Snoring and Sex
When a person snores, part of the airway becomes blocked by tissue in the nose, throat or mouth. As air passes over this obstruction the tissue vibrates resulting in the sound we call snoring. There are psychological consequences for both the snorer and their partner affecting sexual function.
Some of the psychological effects for the snorer and their partner include:
- Depression – Studies have shown that upwards of 53% of snorers also had depression. Because snoring interrupts the normal sleep cycle, this disruption can cause or contribute to depression. Likewise, the partner’s sleep cycle can be interrupted due to the noise waking them up several times a night.
- Anxiety – An increase in anxiety has also been associated with the disruptions of the normal sleep cycle.
- Fatigue – Snorers and their partners often have disruptions in the REM phase of sleep. This is the deepest phase of sleep and some argue the most important. When the REM stage is disrupted, you don’t wake up refreshed and are often plagued with fatigue throughout the day.
- Mood disorders – Snoring causes the oxygen in the blood to get low. This activates the part of the brain that regulates oxygen levels. It releases stress hormones designed to increase respiration and bring the oxygen levels back up to normal. Over time, having these increased levels of stress hormones can cause or exacerbate various mood disorders. Many other mood disorders are also associated with sleep interruptions, specifically insomnia.
Some of the physical effects for the snorer and their partner include:
- Low Oxygen Levels – Because snoring is caused by a blockage in the airway, less oxygen is getting into the blood. Thus, there is less oxygen getting to the organs, including the genitals.
- High Blood Pressure – Because there is less oxygen getting to the organs, the body automatically responds by increasing blood pressure. In the beginning your blood pressure may only be high at night, but over time it can turn into a chronic condition.
- Increased risk for heart disease and heart failure – Because the heart has to work harder supplying blood to the organs, it’s not getting the rest it needs. Over time, this can lead to heart failure. Heart disease is caused by a buildup of plaque in the arterial wall. High blood pressure damages the arterial wall allowing for the buildup of plaque.
- Increased risk of stroke – High blood pressure is directly related to an increase in risk for stroke.
- Increased risk for kidney failure – Like strokes, high blood pressure is directly related to kidney failure.
- Impotence in men a loss of libido in women – Snoring can affect the regulation of hormones that are essential for a health sex life.
- Weight gain – A healthy sleep cycle is important to maintaining a healthy weight. Have you ever noticed that when you wake up fatigued and tired (maybe hungover) that you crave greasy, salty and sweet foods? Because your body is tired and looking for a quick way to boost energy, sugary and high carbohydrate foods are the quickest way to do that.
Save Your Sex Life: What You Can Do
Fortunately, there are some fairly simple things you can do to greatly reduce or even eliminate snoring altogether. But I urge you to first talk to your doctor to rule out a very serious condition called sleep apnea.
After you have ruled out sleep apnea as a possibility, there are a number of very effective ways to dealing with snoring. The main thing you want to be aware of is what type of snorer are you? There are four basic types of snoring.
- Nasal – If your partner describes your snoring a whistling or rumbling or grunting, you could be a nasal snorer. This happens when there is a blockage in the nasal passages forcing the air through a narrower passage. Often this is due to a cold, allergies or poor air quality. Use of a decongestant or air purifier may help the situation. If it persists use of a nasal dilator will usually fix the problem.
- Mouth – Mouth snoring is related to nasal snoring. It happens when the nasal passages are so blocked that you are forced to breathe through the mouth. As the air passes over the soft tissue in the mouth, it vibrates causing a low rumbling sound. Enlarged tonsils can also be a factor. Again, using a device like a nasal dilator can be effective for mouth snorers.
- Tongue – As our muscles relax, so does our tongue. But for some people the tongue relaxes too much, falling into the back of the throat and blocking the airway. As air passes over the blockage, it creates a vibration we call snoring. Tongue snoring is considered “positional snoring” in that it occurs mostly to people who sleep on their backs. Using devices such as anti–snoring pillow, adjustable beds or the Smart Nora are all designed to change the position you sleep in preventing this problem. Anti–snoring mouthpieces are designed to hold the lower jaw forward so that the tongue can’t fall back. Additionally there is a Tongue Stabilizing Device (TSD) that will hold the tongue forward while you sleep on your back.
- Throat – Throat snoring is the loudest and most disturbing of them all. Throat snoring occurs when the tissue in the throat relaxes and blocks the airway. When severe, throat snoring can completely block the airway. When this happens, it’s called sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is considered a serious medical condition that needs immediate medical intervention. However, once sleep apnea is ruled out, many people find relief using a Mandible Adjustment Device (MAD)
Snoring and Sex: Conclusion
Relationships, especially long-term relationships are hard enough. Having and maintaining a healthy sex life is important to the health of the relationship. Losing physical intimacy with a partner is often the last straw of the relationship. And while there are certainly a number of medical conditions that can make physical intimacy impossible, snoring it not one of them. As long as you address the problem before any permeate damage is done, you can resurrect your sex life.