We probably don’t need to convince you that more sex is a good thing, but scientifically, it’s even better for you than you realize. Aside from feeling good, sex has a positive effect on chemical balances, internal health, external appearance, mood, and relationships.
Check out our list of seven ways that regular, enjoyable sex can lead to a healthier, happier life.
1. It Releases Feel-good Chemicals
The major positive effect that sex has on the body is the release of feel-good chemicals like dopamine and serotonin. The main one is oxytocin, sometimes referred to as “the love hormone.” Oxytocin is released when you have positive, intimate interactions with a loved one. While good chemicals increase, stress-related chemicals like adrenaline and cortisol are decreased, leaving you feeling uplifted.
2. It Reduces Stress
The “glow” that is often felt after sex lasts longer than it might seem. Not only do people tend to feel generally better during and after sex, but into the next day as well. With all of those feel-good chemicals circulating in your veins, you’re actually better equipped to respond to daily stress. You may find that your productivity at work increases or that you do better on an exam.
3. It Is a Natural Pain Killer
Studies have shown that orgasms can help relieve minor aches and pains such as headaches, hiccups, morning sickness and PMS cramps. Orgasms actually raise our pain threshold, due to the surge of oxytocin (which is also released by pregnant women giving birth). The pain relief is also occurs much more quickly than with medication, so give it a try next time you’re feeling achey.
4. It Fills a Physiologic Necessity
A big part of the reason sex is so satisfying is that we’re wired to seek it both biologically, physiologically, and psychologically. Like every animal, humans have reproduction on the brain whether we realize it or not. That’s why we experience horniness and sexual frustration. To some degree, sex is an actual need, in addition to being a desire. When we suppress this need or allow ourselves to feel shame surrounding the acts of sex, we are triggering an array of emotional, mental, and even physical issues. Sexual expression and freedom is healthy and very much needed, find ways to allow yourself to explore in an effort to encourage a healthier and more balanced lifestyle.
5. It Increases Emotional Intelligence
It’s well known that sex improves closeness in relationships. But that kind of intimacy is important and healthy for individuals regardless of who they share it with. Human contact is important to emotional and mental health, and sex is one of the closest kinds of contact there is. Intimacy can be achieved in many ways but sex certainly is a one way avenue to this close connection with someone you care for. Through your experiences with sex and physical intimacy you develop and learn new and improved ways to manage and approach others. Thus, increasing your emotional intelligence which refers to the way that you interact, engage, and handle intimate and vulnerable situations with those you love or care about.
6. It Burns Calories
Few people truly enjoy running, and while sex won’t burn as many calories as a jog around the block, it will burn more than sitting on the couch, or even walking on a treadmill. Twenty minutes of sex can burn anywhere from 60-120 calories, depending how active it is. Men tend to burn more calories, but women can make it a workout too.
7. It’s Exciting
Finally, sex brings excitement to our lives. Sex doesn’t have to become stagnant (especially in relationships) as long as both partners communicate their interests without judgment. It’s important to remain open and receptive to new ideas. There is a vast, pleasurable world of possibilities to discover, much of which we’ll be discussing right here on our website.
All of the above tips assume that the sex being had is consensual, trusting, and safe. There are no benefits in sex that is forced or manipulative. If there are any feelings of pressure from your partner or hesitation in yourself, it’s probably best to rethink things, speak to someone, or seek help. Other than that, have fun with it. You’ll live longer, literally.
Do you have walls or intimacy issues that are making it hard for you to fully experience the joys and benefits of sex? Contact me so I can help you unlock the door to a fulfilling and healthy sexual life.
This post originally appeared on LovingLifeTherapy.com and was republished with permission.