Sex is freakin’ awesome, isn’t it? And gosh darnit, it can feel so good. But you know what? It’s not just an enjoyable thing to do every now and then (or a lot). Doing the deed is actually good for your health! And to add to that, studies have shown that having regular sex is even better for your overall wellbeing. So next time you’re thinking about taking a trip to pleasure town, remember that you’re actually doing something really great for your health too.
Now before we go any further, regardless of your gender or how you identify, the idea of sex can mean many different things to many different people. The key, and the most important part, is that you’re only engaging in consensual sexual activity. Talk to your partner or partners about what you want, what you like and what you’re willing to do – or not to do. And if at any point, you’re feeling like you are no longer willing to do that thing, that’s okay. And then it’s also okay for you to just stop doing that thing, no questions asked, point blank. Okay, now that we got that out of the way, let’s get right to the health benefits of getting it on!
Other than the act itself, which can be quite the decompressing activity, there are also physiological and mental components to the ol’ Netflix and Chill (with generally no Netflix and little to no chill involved whatsoever). Being physically close to someone and touching them can help with your mental health, alongside boosting your confidence and self-esteem. This is because it releases your body’s natural feel-good hormone, oxytocin. Sex can also help to reduce blood pressure in the long run – even though you would assume that it increases it!
Sexual arousal itself can actually release endorphins, which are chemicals within your brain that activate your brain’s pleasure and reward system. And having orgasms can reduce cortisol levels, which is your main stress hormone. Getting off to reduce stress, both mentally and physically = bonus!
Balancing Those Hormones
A study straight out of the University of Michigan has shown that achieving orgasm can increase the hormone estrogen in women. As you have 3 kinds of estrogens (2 “bad” and one “good”), the “good” kind is the one increased, in this case. This is fantastic news for women with out-of-whack progesterone levels and female-hormone related disorders. Go on and get it on, ladies!
Orgasms release oxytocin, which makes us happy… and that’s not rocket science. But like I mentioned before, oxytocin can also reduce the stress hormone cortisol – which is the super stubborn one that can cause abdominal fat, lack of sleep, digestive issues and can throw a lot of your other hormones for a loop. Another study has shown that sexy thoughts alone can effect testosterone, cortisol and general arousal in women. All in all, orgasms and sex can help to balance your estrogen levels, cortisol and even those thyroid hormones.
Now, you might be thinking that the LAST thing you wanna do when you’re in pain is to get down and dirty. But, studies have actually shown that orgasm cuts pain by half, without changing sensitivity. But, once again – it has to do with that release of those trusty endorphins, which can occupy morphine receptors in the brain. Right before you climax, a wave of oxytocin rushes through your body. They’re especially great for migraines or cluster headaches! So next time your partner says that they have a headache, just let them know that you’re comin’ in with that pain relief, baby.
It’s Good for Your Brain
Did you know that having regular sex can help your brain cells? We lose those cells with age, so studies have shown that keeping up with sexual activity can actually help them to grow and even protects them from decline! Animal studies have demonstrated that sex can stimulate the growth of brain cells in the hippocampus – the part of the brain which is responsible for learning and memory. Getting it on can help you to remember stuff? Oh heck yes, that’s sexy.
And not to mention that when you orgasm, the neurons in your brain are more active and then use more oxygen that they withdraw from the blood. More oxygenated blood delivers a fresh supply of nutrients to that area. Also, a women’s hormones surge while doing the deed, which can help improve reaction times and even concentration. Now that’s a new way to use a study-buddy.
It’s a Darn Good Workout
Okay, so it’s no secret that it can be quite the calorie-burning activity. Thinking super dirty thoughts again? You’re welcome. Well, the human body uses over 600 muscles during sex, everything is releasing and contracting – your arms, legs, butt, core… everything. Obviously, some areas may be getting used more, depending on the position. But this can be a fantastic exercise for cardio and strength movement – although not to be replaced with your regular spin class. Also, all of those lovely hormones that get released can actually promote a good sleep afterwards. Not too shabby if you ask me.
Lots of love (and pleasure),
Having trouble with your sex life? There could be many different factors involved – from emotional, to mental or physical. It’s important to seek advice or help from a licensed professional. There is no need to feel embarrassed or ashamed, you are worthy of obtaining the help that you need.
Photos by Amanda Hayden
Additional Information Sources: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2031498/Sex-Why-makes-women-fall-love–just-makes-men-want-MORE.html#ixzz4wv3Ma04o ; http://www.medicaldaily.com/sex-yourself-better-health-4-aches-and-pains-orgasms-can-cure-307834