Stress. Stress is what brings us together, in the University Union and Robery E. Kennedy Library, huddled over flashcards and laptops, counting the hours until our finals. At the end of every quarter, stress is the broth of the stew we find ourselves in. Like any holiday, we know that finals are coming, but they sneak up on us anyway, and we find ourselves with little time to do anything else but prepare for them.
Some of you, as a result, may feel that you can get no use from a sex column this week. The stress of studying triggers a primal response, that of “fight or flight.” So as we go into war against the dreaded Scantron army, our body boosts our strength by nearly shutting down “less important” things, such as our libidos.
Although sex does use energy that could have been spent studying, this energy isn’t just thrown away. Sex is one of the best stress relievers, as many studies show. In addition, it also lowers blood pressure, helps you sleep better, boosts your immune system and self esteem, and you get the pleasant rush of an endorphin high, as you would from any vigorous exercise. Sex is so beneficial that in a species of chimpanzee, all conflicts are resolved peacefully through it. I’m not suggesting that we form some “Brave New World” society, but think of how our lives would be if humans could prevent conflicts, even wars, in that way.
For many people, during times of stress their body practically throws them into someone else’s arms. The reason is unclear. It could be your body’s last gasp at begetting a child, in case your father actually does kill you over that “D+.” It could be the “flight” part of the earlier reflex, a way of pushing worries out of mind. Or it could be that, deep down, they know that it’s the best way to relieve their stress. Any of these could easily explain the unusually high hook up rate both in horror and thriller movies. Comparing finals to being attacked by zombies or what have you is a bit melodramatic, but in both cases, the outcome affects the rest of your life, and stress takes its toll.
All this sounds very good in theory, but how do you go about relieving stress this way? If your body is already encouraging you, the main challenge will be discovering which people feel the same way. The worst-case-scenario for you is being frustratingly horny all week, while you hit on people who are hard at work and have shut off their libidos accordingly. Luckily, God gave us the Internet for a reason, and hopefully your connection is fast, because you may need to look at a lot of … study guides online.
If your body is geared up to study, but you feel like reaping the benefits of some coitus, you may need to prepare a bit first. Reducing some of your stress some other way first could help you be more relaxed. Exercise, meditation, and plain ol’ laughing works wonders. And if you have a willing partner, but aren’t sure if you are up to it, foreplay is your friend. Take as long as you need: even if the sun rises before you actually have sex, just being intimate with someone can relieve stress. And this time of year, every little bit helps.
For a good time, write Anthony Rust at firstname.lastname@example.org