The Surprising Link Between Sex and Work Productivity
Written by Leann Poston, M.D.
Sex and sexual behavior aren’t usually the first things that come to mind when you think about employee management or productivity. Nonetheless, a study published in the Journal of Management investigated this topic, and the findings may surprise you.
- Workers who engaged in sex at home had a more positive attitude toward work, regardless of whether they were otherwise satisfied with their marriage.
- Sex at home increased both job satisfaction and daily job engagement.
- Conflict between work and family life reduced the likelihood of having sex at home.
Workplace stress reduces your sex drive, which leads to a poor attitude and reduced productivity at work. Prioritizing sex in a committed relationship and maintaining a proper work-life balance leads to better outcomes at home and work.
What the research said about sex and work productivity
For two weeks, researchers had 159 married adults who had full-time employment complete a survey three times a day. The survey asked about their sexual activity the night before as well as how they rated their mood and work productivity levels.
Shortcomings in the Study
Critics of the study point out that it relied on notoriously inaccurate self-reporting. The study was of short duration, only lasting two weeks. The population studied was extremely limited, only married couples engaging in sexual intercourse. Researchers said this was an intentional choice to reduce confounding variables.
Researchers discovered a link between having sex the night before and feeling more satisfied and engaged at work. The beneficial effects lasted for an average of 24 hours. The opposite was also true. Participants were less likely to engage in sex when they got home if they were in a bad mood or had a bad attitude at work.
According to the study, an inability to maintain a boundary between home and work, as well as bringing work-related stress home, can have a negative impact on your sex life. We’ve all known that answering work calls and emails late at night can strain relationships. Researchers discovered that the more stress you brought home, the less likely you were to engage in sex, sleep well, or even talk to your partner.
However, this research suggests that the inverse is true. Sex at home can have a positive impact on your work.
What does this mean for everyone who works from home?
What should you do when there is no separation between work and home? This study was conducted before the pandemic, when working from home was rare. According to a Washington Post article, being together all day can negatively affect anyone’s sex drive. Living in close quarters with others all day, even family members, and an inability to separate from work, raises cortisol levels. Cortisol levels spike with increased stress, causing your heart to race and your blood pressure to rise.
The study results suggest employers should encourage their employees to unplug and disengage from work activities when at home instead of encouraging them to be available 24 hours a day.
Benefits of Sex on Work Productivity
The benefits of sex in a supportive relationship are hard to dispute.
The Physical Benefits of Sex
- Lower blood pressure: Sexual activity has been linked to a lower average blood pressure. Sexual activity dilates blood vessels and increases heart rate, increasing oxygen and nutrient delivery to the body cells without increasing blood pressure (Brody, 2006). Increased oxygen and nutrients to the brain increase alertness and reduce the tendency to experience decision fatigue.
- Reduced pain sensitivity: The endorphins released during sexual activity may reduce pain sensitivity.
- Improved fitness: According to the American Heart Association, sexual activity is classified as mild to moderate physical activity equivalent to climbing two flights of stairs or walking briskly. The level of physical activity during sex may be rated higher in those who are older, less physically fit, or have cardiovascular disease (Levine et al., 2012).
If you are losing muscle mass and gaining weight as you age, it will be difficult to maintain your fitness standards. As we age, growth hormone levels decline, so by age 55, most men’s growth hormone levels are only 17% of those found during puberty. Invigor Medical offers anti-aging treatment options that may stimulate the pituitary gland’s natural production of growth hormone potentially resulting in increased muscle mass and decreased abdominal fat.
- Better immune function: Depression can suppress immune function resulting in more frequent and prolonged infections. According to studies on the relationship between sexual activity and immune function, there appears to be a positive relationship between sexual activity and increased immune function in women and mixed results in men (Lorenz & van Anders, 2014).
- Better brain function: In a two-year study of 6016 adults aged 50 and up, participants who engaged in more frequent sexual activity and had greater emotional closeness performed better on memory tests. The study’s older participants had a stronger link between sexual activity and memory performance. Previous studies have discovered that sexual activity improves episodic memory in non-human animals (Allen, 2018).
Sex Can Have Psychological Benefits as Well!
- Better self-image: We’ve all heard that you can’t love others unless you first love yourself. Without self-esteem and a positive self-image, it is hard to believe in yourself and your abilities. Positive self-esteem implies that you believe your ideas, feeling, and opinions have worth. How others will treat you in the workplace is based on how you perceive yourself. Positive self-esteem can give you the confidence to be a team leader, support team members, and work more independently (Indeed editorial Team, 2021).
- Better mood: Researchers have found a strong correlation between sexual activity and happiness. The frequency and quality of sexual activity are both important, as is being in a committed, long-term relationship (Cheng & Smyth, 2015). Sexual activity increases the release of both dopamine and oxytocin. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is linked to the reward centers in your brain. Dopamine release decreases stress and anxiety, allowing you to perform better at work.
- Increased creativity: Oxytocin, a hormone released during sex, promotes social bonding, but it also fosters creativity. It improves your ability to generate valuable insights, ideas, and problem solve—all useful characteristics at work (de Dreu, Bass & Boot, 2015)!
- Higher energy levels: Is your energy lagging at the end of the day? Sex can improve cardiovascular fitness even if just by engaging in exercise that increases your heart rate. If that is not enough to restore your energy levels, Invigor Medical can help. Whether you want to improve your athletic performance, lose weight, or even regain some lost hair, our network of practitioners can help you achieve your lifestyle goals without even leaving your home.
- More bonding: Oxytocin is commonly called the “love hormone,” because its increased levels after birth are associated with mother-child bonding. Oxytocin released during sex enhances a sense of bonding and improves emotional intimacy. These feelings of well-being and connection can carry over into your work activities.
- Less stress: Sex lowers cortisol levels. High cortisol levels are associated with chronic stress. Stress can also have an impact on your health and well-being. Having a high stress level makes it hard to think clearly and make decisions.
- Better sleep: A good night’s sleep is essential for resetting hormone levels, repairing damaged tissue, and metabolizing cellular waste products. Sleep deprivation is associated with increased stress and reduced sexual desire and arousal (Kalmbach et al., 2015). Insomnia and disruptive sleep are risk factors for sexual dysfunction including erectile dysfunction (Kohn et al., 2020).
Suppose you have worked on improving your sleep habits, reducing stress, and achieving a better work-life balance but are still experiencing erectile dysfunction. Invigor Medical offers treatment for erectile dysfunction with no office visits needed. Approximately 52% of men over the age of 40 have experienced erectile dysfunction. For 60% of men living with ED, oral medications are very effective. For the other 40%, injectable Trimix is 95% effective.
Sometimes, especially as we age, hormonal changes can mean that even though you have made positive lifestyle changes, worked on maintaining boundaries between work and home life, and are nurturing a relationship with your significant other, you are still not seeing the benefits in your mood and work productivity that you would expect.
Read: 7 Ways to Naturally Regulate Your Hormones to learn additional ways to improve your memory and focus, mood, creativity, and energy levels.
How Work Can Put a Strain on Your Sex Life
Work, as well as conflict between work and family life, can negatively affect your sex life. Both positive and negative moods spillover between work life and home life. Here are a few examples:
- Late-night smartphone use at home impairs job engagement the next day.
- When managers do not get enough sleep, the effects are felt by all employees who report to them.
- The quality of sleep managers get is correlated to their level of abusive supervisory behavior the next day (Barnes et al., 2015).
The research shows that having sex in a committed relationship affects both mood and productivity at work. To learn more about treatment options for erectile dysfunction, anti-aging, or lifestyle management, contact one of the online health practitioners at Invigor Medical today.
- Leavitt K, Barnes CM, Watkins T, Wagner DT. From the Bedroom to the Office: Workplace Spillover Effects of Sexual Activity at Home. Journal of Management. 2019; 45 (3):1173-1192. doi:10.1177/0149206317698022
- Cheng Z, Smyth R. Sex and happiness. J Econ Behav Organ. 2015; 112:26–32.
- Levine GN, Steinke EE, Bakaeen FG, Bozkurt B, Cheitlin MD, Conti JB, et al. Sexual activity, and cardiovascular disease: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2012; 125 (8):1058–72
- Allen MS. Sexual activity and cognitive decline in older adults. Arch Sex Behav. 2018; 47 (6):1711–9.
- Lorenz T, van Anders S. Interactions of sexual activity, gender, and depression with immunity. J Sex Med. 2014; 11 (4):966–79.
- Brody S. Blood pressure reactivity to stress is better for people who recently had penile-vaginal intercourse than for people who had other or no sexual activity. Biol Psychol. 2006; 71 (2):214–22.
- The importance of high self-worth in the workplace [Internet]. Indeed.com. 2019 [cited 2021 Jun 3]. Available from: https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/importance-of-high-self-worth
- Kalmbach DA, Arnedt JT, Pillai V, Ciesla JA. The impact of sleep on female sexual response and behavior: a pilot study. J Sex Med. 2015 May; 12 (5):1221-32. doi: 10.1111/jsm.12858. Epub 2015 Mar 16. PMID: 25772315.
- Kohn TP, Kohn JR, Haney NM, Pastuszak AW, Lipshultz LI. The effect of sleep on men’s health. Transl Androl Urol. 2020 Mar; 9 (Suppl 2): S178-S185. doi: 10.21037/tau.2019.11.07. PMID: 32257858; PMCID: PMC7108988.
- De Dreu CKW, Baas M, Boot NC. Oxytocin enables novelty seeking and creative performance through upregulated approach: evidence and avenues for future research: Oxytocin motivates creativity. Wiley Interdiscip Rev Cogn Sci. 2015; 6 (5):409–17.
- Barnes, C., Lucianetti, L., Bhave, D., & Christian, M. (2015). “you wouldn’t like me when i’m sleepy”: leaders’ sleep, daily abusive supervision, and work unit engagement. The Academy of Management Journal, 58(5), 1419-1437. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/24758227