Sex and intimacy can be somewhat of a taboo subject depending on your circumstances. Personally, sex wasn’t talked about often in my household or in a school setting. It was perceived and often portrayed as something which was strictly reserved for married couples. And even then sex and intimacy were only used in order to procreate. But times have changed, and with it I’m slowly revising my relationship with sex.
Sex is by no means a cure-all, but it can certainly benefit our well-being. In fact, there are numerous reports detailing how sex can reduce cardiac episodes, boost the immune system and can even help us sleep. Have I got your attention yet?!
Please Note: I do my best to talk about sex, intimacy and sexual health in a non-judgemental way. However, I’m also aware that sex and intimacy aren’t necessary for everyone, and that’s fine. I’m writing this as someone who is working on her relationship with sex, how I understand it, and how it correlates to my own mental and physical health.
5 Reasons why SEX and INTIMACY is good for your health!
Can reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression etc.
Sex and intimacy aren’t a cure-all or a miracle worker. Let’s clear that one up before we get started. But sex does release feel-good hormones which can temporarily improve our mental health. Chemicals such as dopamine, endorphins and even oxytocin have been known to boost our mood significantly. And all of these are released in abundance when we partake in sexual activity. Specifically, if we reach orgasm. If you’re having sex with your partner it can even help improve the bond you have with each other.
Whats more is that the level of stress hormone (cortisol) is reduced with sex and intimacy. A study conducted in 2019 clearly shows the correlation between the reduction of stress and intimacy. While this wasn’t entirely isolated to sex, even casual intimacy such as hugging and cuddling helped to reduce cortisol levels. Even with the reduction of libido, which is common when stressed, you can still combat cortisol by cuddling up with the one you love.
Masturbation can help improve self-esteem.
You don’t have a partner? No problem! Masturbation is a perfectly normal part of being a human. It helps to release stress, explore our own sexual appetites and allow pleasure without the risk of STDs or pregnancy. It’s a win, win really.
But masturbation is still such a taboo subject, especially among women. Women are often taught that it’s ‘dirty’ and ‘unladylike’ to consider our own self-pleasure. I’m here to say that it’s entirely the opposite. Partaking in masturbation, no matter your sexual orientation or gender, helps us become more in tune with our bodies. It helps us feel more comfortable in our bodies and can also help us communicate what makes us tick with potential partners. Sex is always better when you consider your own self-pleasure as well as that of your partner.
So set aside the misconceptions, lock the door and grab yourself a vibrator!
BDSM helps to open your mind and is linked to well-being.
Who would have thought? BDSM is an umbrella term used to describe sex that involves bondage, discipline, domination, submission, sadism and masochism. And it’s more common than ever before! While BDSM was once considered an act of sexual deviancy, it’s been thrust into the mainstream. But why has it been proven to improve our mental health and well-being?
Not only does BDSM help to open our minds to new experiences, but it also helps improve our communication skills. The act of BDSM is based on mutual trust and can help us develop deeper connections with others. Even if you’re casually participating in BDSM, the same improvements apply.
Sex can be a natural sleep aid.
Sleep is essential to our mental and physical health. Without adequate sleep, we run the risk of a variety of health concerns. I know for a fact that I simply can’t function without at least four hours of sleep. While medication can help, sex and intimacy are other ways to encourage sleep. As mentioned, the hormones released during sex, and even the simple act of cuddling, are crucial in helping us relax.
Not convinced? Check out this article from The National Sleep Foundation.
While it’s not a marathon or even a sprint, it still counts as a form of light exercise. And, let’s be honest, it’s way less boring. I’m not going to talk about the calories your burn, because that’s not the point. The point is that you’re engaging in physical activity which, in general, is good for your mental health. So, skip your morning walk and partake in an orgasm. Or two!
It’s better to be safe than sorry.
I think it’s important to reiterate safe and consensual sex. While sex and intimacy are wonderful things, they can be disastrous if not the will of both parties, or if unprotected with a partner you may not know well. Remember to protect yourself and others when participating in sexual activity.
If you’re a heterosexual woman it’s also important to consider the instance of pregnancy. Always practice safe sex.