Think for a minute about the benefits of sex and why you have sex. What’s your goal? Is it to have an orgasm or feel close to a partner? Maybe you enjoy “scratching the itch” so to speak when the urge hits you. Perhaps you think it helps to blow off a little steam or keep you in touch with your body. All of those reasons can be beneficial and are certainly important, however, you might be surprised that you get more benefits from sex than just meeting those needs!
The idea of sexual stimulation as being part of a health routine has been around forever. In fact, in the Victorian Ages, women were prescribed vibrators to help with ‘hysteria’!
The 5 most benefits of sex to keep you feeling good
Sex creates a large burst of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is involved in most of the fun parts of lifelike pleasure and learning. It triggers your brain’s reward center and is largely part of making you feel good during sex. Additionally, during sex, your cortisol levels decrease. Cortisol functions largely like an alarm system in your body and is responsible for your stress response. Decreasing cortisol is important for stress relief as it lets your ‘fight or flight’ systems take a break.
We all have heard probably one of the biggest tropes for not having sex—“I have a headache.” However, sex can be helpful in overcoming that pain! Along with creating dopamine, sex also releases endorphins, which are one of the natural things our body makes to relieve pain symptoms in the body. Having a large release at once can also create a feeling similar to euphoria which also decreases the feelings of pain.
Better heart health
As an added bonus to having less stress, decreasing cortisol can improve heart functioning! Research shows that women who noted having a fulfilling sex life were also less likely to have chronic heart conditions or hypertension.
John Hopkins reports that for penis owners, having sex twice a week is shown to reduce the risk of heart attacks, while vulva owners do not need to aim for a number but overall enjoyable experiences to have the same benefit. This is important to note! Quality over quantity will help your heart and also your emotional state by not adding pressure.
Have you ever heard someone complain that their partner falls right to sleep after sex instead of chatting or cuddling? That is because another hormone related to sex is prolactin. This hormone is secreted after orgasm and helps prompt your brain to feel relaxed.
Interestingly studies also show that better sleep increases your libido, which in turn makes you sleep better! In fact, sleeping one extra hour increases your odds of having sex with a partner the following day by 14%. As we know, sleep is crucial to increased functioning when you are awake and is vital in maintaining mental health.
Increased intimacy with partners
Sex also prompts the release of oxytocin—often known as the love hormone. When oxytocin is at play, you feel more connected to those around you. It’s not only known in association with sex but childbirth as well. The better quality of your sex is, the more improvement your brain has on connecting. Additionally, sex also opens up the door for communicating wants and needs which also triggers positive hormone secretion.
The best part of these benefits of sex is that most of them are achievable for most people with a variety of limitations. Researchers at the Center for Women’s Health note that most of these benefits do not require an orgasm! That means you can see improvement and feel better physically and mentally without the added potential stress of having an orgasm. Just sit back and let your body enjoy the moment for what it is.
Sex does not have to be penetrative to start feeling the benefits of sex. Masturbation works exactly the same, meaning that you do not have to have a partner to feel good. Couples who want to increase health benefits also can implement fun types of foreplay or non-penetrative touch and expect to benefit the same!
As always, these benefits are going to be seen in consensual encounters, so never do something you are uncomfortable with, and talk with your partner about any limitations you would like to include!
What is your favorite benefit to sex? Share with us @kissandtellmag on IG