Sanesco Blog

In the Name of Love: Stress, Sex & Hormones


Stress & the Sexes

When trying to reduce or deal with stress, men release testosterone and women release oxytocin, a pituitary hormone. Ironically, high cortisol levels can interfere with the normal production of both testosterone and oxytocin, hampering men and women from their attempts at stress reduction.

Men vs. Women: After Work

When men get home and head to their “man cave” (or do whatever they prefer for relaxation), their stress levels drop. It is important to understand that by doing so, they are actually replenishing their testosterone, and disturbing them too soon will not allow them to adequately restore their hormone levels.

When a man’s testosterone level is adequate, he is able to be the “emergency man” in urgent situations where he needs to focus keenly, step up and solve a problem. In fact, solving problems is so satisfying that it may cause some men’s testosterone levels to actually rise, while stress hormones like cortisol decrease.

Studies show that stress levels of cortisol while at work are twice as high for women as they are for men. Thus, it’s just as important to realize that when women get home from work, their stress levels often rise even further as they face the pressures of all the things that need to be done at home (dinner, laundry, childcare, homework, etc.). They can’t understand how men can just sit on the couch or read the paper when there is so much to do.

Men vs. Women: Hormones and Sex

Oxytocin is the hormone that rises in women and men after sexual orgasm and makes them sleepy. For women, a release of oxytocin makes them feel safe and protected. They become more nurturing and cooperative. This nurturing, coupled with feelings of being nurtured, further raises oxytocin levels.

On the other hand, oxytocin does not help men deal with stress, and can even bring their testosterone levels down.

Estrogen and progesterone are commonly thought of as women’s hormones. However, many are surprised to learn that testosterone is also a female hormone. Small amounts of testosterone will also help women feel more energetic, sexy and capable. In fact, replacing testosterone in menopausal women has been shown in research studies to increase energy, libido and sense of well-being.

Men vs. Women: Stressors at Home

Men don’t understand why women get so upset, and they don’t even typically notice the things that need to be done without being told. In fact, men will frequently procrastinate about doing things until they get a sense of danger or risk, which triggers their testosterone levels, giving them even greater stress relief.

Women, on the other hand, tend to want to plan ahead, which stimulates oxytocin release, making them feel considerate and caring, which triggers even more oxytocin. The stress levels of cortisol levels for women typically increase when they get home. This may be related to their husbands on the couch…

Neurotransmitters: Balanced is Better

Happiness, moods and libido are also related to neurotransmitter imbalances. If dopamine, nor-epinephrine and epinephrine are low, libido decreases. These neurotransmitters can be tested and balanced with effective, targeted nutrients. Relationships are better if sex hormones and neurotransmitters are balanced. Additional options also exist to increase libido, like scream crème for women.

Men need sex for stress relief. Women need stress relief for sex. My research shows that men that help women with children and housework have more sex.

With such polar primal hormonal responses and feelings, it is little wonder that men and women have trouble understanding one another! As balanced hormones play such a big part in increased well-being, consider getting your hormone levels checked, in the name of love.

Sharon Norling, MD, MBA

Sharon Norling, MD, MBA

Dr. Sharon Norling is a nationally known and highly respected medical doctor specializing in integrative medicine and practicing advanced functional medicine in Hendersonville, NC. Dr. Norling graduated from Case Western Reserve School of Medicine and has trained at USC and UCLA. She received her MBA from St. Thomas University.

Dr. Norling’s expertise is based on her years of clinical experiences, former Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School, and her research. She is national board-certified in OB/GYN, Integrative Medicine and Medical Acupuncture. Dr. Norling combines a credible and responsible academic knowledge with years of experience and a caring nature.

Recognized for her expertise, she has testified before the White House Commission on Complementary Alternative Medicine Policy. She has served in multiple leadership roles as Medical Director and senior management in two large healthcare organizations.During her years in health care she has been nurse, medical doctor, hospital administrator, advocate and a dismissed and misdiagnosed patient.

Her passion is finding the root cause of illnesses instead of just using a pharmaceutical drug to treat the tip of the iceberg. Hormonal and neurotransmitter balancing is one of her specialties.

Dr. Norling is an international speaker and the author of Your Doctor is Wrong. As a presenter, she is engaging, articulate, humorous, and insightful, making learning a dynamic professional and personal growth experience. Whether you have heard her on the radio, seen her on TV or sharing the stage with celebrities, Dr. Norling is the expert.

Dr. Norling is a medical authority, a visionary and an extraordinary leader who provides real solutions for patients who have been dismissed or misdiagnosed.

Disclaimer: The information provided is only intended to be general educational information to the public. It does not constitute medical advice. If you have specific questions about any medical matter or if you are suffering from any medical condition, you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.

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Inhibitory Neurotransmitter


One of our feel-good neurotransmitters; Low levels of serotonin may relate to occasional symptoms like moodiness, sleep issues, and carb cravings.