The Way This Town Is Dealing With Stress Is Pretty NSFW

February 24th 2017

Kyle Fitzpatrick

You’re overworked to the point where your stress is beyond management. What do you do?

Well, if you live in Overtornea, Sweden, the solution is in your pants.

The town is hoping to give municipal employees an hour per week off to have sex.

As the New York Times reported on Thursday, the town is set to vote on the matter as a means to both encourage healthy work-life balance and procreation in a relatively small town. The reactions locally and abroad have been mixed.

“I believe that sex is often in short supply. Everyday life is stressful and the children are at home,” councilman Per-Erik Muskos explained in the proposal, which he introduced. “This could be an opportunity for couples to have their own time, only for each other.”

This begs an obvious question: Is sex a valid form of stress management?

Yes and...yes?

It’s been proven that physical activity can relieve stress. As the Mayo Clinic shared in 2015, physical activity helps with stress because it boosts the production of endorphins, it puts the mind at ease, and can generally make you feel better.

Can physical activity via sex reduce stress?

As Dr. Elizabeth Scott noted last year on the results of an Arizona State University study of 58 middle-aged women, “physical affection or sexual behavior with a partner significantly predicted lower negative mood and stress, and higher positive mood” in the following day of said sexual act.

As as for introducing sex into the workplace, Dr. Mark Sergeant, a Psychology lecturer at Nottingham Trent University, shared with Metro in January that, for starters, masturbating at work is a "great way to relieve tension and stress." However, he did caution that mixing work and sex are is not without potential complications: "Introducing any form of sexual behavior to a workplace could be seen as a slippery slope that makes people think that other forms of sexual behavior, such as those linked to harassment, are more acceptable."

The thought of sex-as-stress-reducer does have some valid critiques. As sociology professor Lotta Dellve of the University Of Gothenburg noted in the Times' piece, sex is just one of a myriad of ways to physically reduce stress and moreover, an employer mandating time for sex seems a bit imposing. “It is wonderful to see your spouse during the workday," Dellve said. "But you don’t necessarily want to have sex.”

While the thought of trading stress balls for, uhh, other types of balls sounds a bit ridiculous, the idea might be something that Americans should consider, given that stress levels are on the rise. In 2015, 24 percent of Americans reported being “highly stressed,” a six point increase from 2014. Moreover, the 2016 election hasn't particularly helped as an American Psychological Association study found that more than half of adults were stressed by last year's electoral process, further highlighting the growing need for stress reducing solutions in America today. Whether or not that means getting a break from work to get it on remains to be seen.