The Benefits of Sex for Your Mind and Body
"How you feel about sex to begin with is shaped by your brain," says Dr. Gloria G. Bramer, a Georgia-based licensed clinical sexologist. "Feeling sexy is the best gift you can give yourself, beyond improving your immune system and all of the other health benefits. There is nothing like feeling positive about your body and your sense of sexuality."
Sex makes you sleepy.
"The sexual release you have after having sex actually helps you sleep better at night," says Dr. Yvonne Fulbright, author of The Better Sex Guide to Extraordinary Love Making. "The surge of oxytocin that happens with a climax will make you fall asleep easier and faster." Just try not to fall asleep during that may not go over so well.
Still tossing and turning? One of these habits may be keeping you up at night.
Sex makes you happy.
This may not be a miraculous medical discovery, but happy women are often the most sexually active! Fulbright said that in a recent study of 4,000 American women, those who had the lowest stress and best overall mental well-being were those who were the most sexually active. They also had the most sexual interest! Have sex, be happy. Be happy, want sex. We like this correlation.
Not having sex can lead to depression.
On the flip side of the happy sex scenario, Fulbright says that celibacy in elderly men and women ranked higher on the suicide index. Those who showed symptoms of depression were found to experience a decrease in symptoms after masturbation.
Sex causes an "orgasmic pregnancy."
Fulbright says that having sex and getting pregnant causes what she terms the "orgasmic pregnancy." "Women are the most interested in having sex when pregnant because they look really good! They are loving their curves and feel really good about themselves overall."
Sex will boost your self-esteem.
We say we don't need it, but sometimes it's nice to have a man's approval, especially when it comes to our body. Fulbright says that having sex boosts your entire self-esteem, not just your body image. The more positive sexual experiences you have with someone, the higher your self-esteem will be. Practice makes perfect!
It releases oxytocin and endorphins.
You most likely already know what endorphins do (to quote Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde, "Endorphins make you happy!"), but what about this mystery hormone, oxytocin? Oxytocin is commonly referred to as the "love hormone" because it leads to feelings of intimacy, closeness, and strong social connections with someone else. This is the same hormone that will make you feel instantly attached to your newborn.
Orgasms help mental health.
"Nothing is as relaxing as putting yourself in a place where you relieve stress," says Bramer. "After you have an orgasm you release natural oxytocin to the brain, which balances you out." Looks like sex is good for your mind and your body.
Sex gets rid of cramps.
Bramer says that having sex may be the best way to relieve menstrual cramps. Many women say that by having sex, they not only get instant relief from their cramps but also from other PMS-related symptoms.
It helps with other stuff too!
Adding to the list of healing powers, sex can help relieve chronic back pain (depending on where you're doing it — we assume an airplane bathroom may not help the cause) and yeast infections.
Use it or lose it.
"When it comes to sex, especially solo sex, people are afraid to do it too frequently," Bramer says. "They think if they do it too much they will become dependent on solo sex, and this is not true. Sex is a case of use it or lose it. As women get older and reach menopause, the vagina can atrophy if it's not put to regular use."
Sex is connected to your libido.
Just as sex is tied to mental health and happiness, it's also tied to your libido. Bramer says that when you are feeling stressed, your libido is going to suffer. This will in turn diminish your appetite for sex, which will also add to your risk of depression. Having sex is an instant mood enhancer that can reverse all of these symptoms. So, what are you waiting for? Get busy!