Many of the women that I work with tell me that they could live the rest of their lives without having sex. And while this may seem bleak to some, it is reality for many women who struggle with low desire (aka hypoactive sexual desire disorder). Sometimes the motivation to have sex may not come from our own personal desire. Sometimes it comes from knowing that this is something that is good for us physically, mentally and emotionally. Sort of like going to the gym, right? Much of the time it is incredibly hard to get the motivation to get to the gym or a yoga class. But after we are finished we are overflowing with endorphins and a sense of accomplishment, making it all worthwhile. Same goes for sex! On those days when desire is low and you need an additional push to get in the mood, remember these 10 reasons that sex is oh so good for you!
1. Decreases Depression & Increases Happiness
Research shows that sex and physical contact increases happiness and life expectancy rates. Both men and women benefit from the mood enhancing benefits of an orgasm. As endorphins are released we feel better, happier and more connected with our partner (and ourselves). Research also indicates that remaining present and engaged during sexual encounters increases pleasure and feelings of happiness. This means that sex doesn’t always have to be mind-blowing. As long as we can stay aware and mindful we can reap the happy benefits.
2. Strengthens Your Immune System
Hello sex season, goodbye flu season! A study at Wilkes University shows that sexually active people were found to have higher levels of immunoglobin- an antibody that helps the body fend off disease, colds and the flu. Researches also discovered that people who have regular sex take fewer sick days. You know what this means, right? Save those sick days and use them for a day-long romantic rendezvous with yourself or a partner.
3. Increases Libido
The more you have sex the more you want it… and the more your sex life improves. Women report that the more sex they have the better sex feels and the more they want it. Why? Having sex can increase blood flow to the genitals, improve vaginal elasticity, and increase vaginal lubrication. Three important ingredients to sexual pleasure!
4. Improves Pelvic Floor and Core Strength
Having a healthy sex life provides a serious workout for your pelvic floor. As you orgasm you will experience small contractions in the pelvic floor muscles, which, in turn, tones and strengthens those muscles. Why do we want strong pelvic floor muscles? Helps decrease chances of incontinence (bladder control issues), can make child birth easier, helps to reduce pain during sex, and improves the quality of orgasm.
5. Lowers Blood Pressure
When we have an orgasm the hormone oxytocin is released. This hormone is directly linked to blood pressure. This means that solo sex and partnered sex can directly effect your blood pressure. In another study, it was found that sexual intercourse (not masturbation) lowered systolic blood pressure (the first number on your blood pressure report). Now, sex can’t replace blood pressure meds or living a healthy lifestyle, but it can be a great addition!
6. Decreases Pain
There goes that headache excuse… Research shows that the endorphins that are released following an orgasm can ease any mild ache or pain. Endorphins actually have similar effects on the body as morphine. Single? Don’t you worry. It is just as effective to self-medicate with masturbation.
7. Decreases Stress and Anxiety
When we feel sexually aroused our pleasure and reward system in the brain is activated. This can help us feel more intimate and connected. Additionally, sex decreases the production of cortisol which triggers stress in the body. During a study at the University of West Scotland, they even found that people who were having sex at least once every two weeks were more capable of handling stressful situations, like public speaking!
8. Improves Sleep
Sex and masturbation are a great self-soothing technique. After we have an orgasm our body releases prolactin, a hormone that causes relaxation and sleepiness. For women, the benefits are even greater because sex increases our estrogen levels. Increased estrogen levels enhance REM cycles, which help us to reach a deeper level of sleep.
9. Makes You Look Younger
Better than Botox! A study from Royal Edinburgh Hospital in Scotland had a panel of judges watch subjects through a one-way mirror and guess their ages. The participants in the study who were engaging in regular sexcapades (4 times a week) were seen as 7-12 years younger than they actually were! Why? Sex releases estrogen and testosterone, which improve the appearance of skin and hair, and help the body appear more youthful.
10. Improves Intimacy and Relationships
Skin to skin contact helps to stimulate the release of oxytocin, AKA “The Love Hormone”. (This is also why OBs and nurses in the maternity ward promote skin to skin contact for parents and babies). Oxytocin helps create feelings of love, trust, bonding and generosity. Don’t have time for even a quickie? Spend 60 seconds hugging your partner, making sure your bellies are touching. You will get a smaller, but still worthwhile, dose of oxytocin to keep you feel connected and loved.