You may think of sex as pleasurable. But have you considered the many health benefits of the practice? Today we explore how sex can boost your immune system, lower your blood pressure, relieve stress, improve stress, etc.
Sex has many benefits similar to other forms of physical activity. Let’s get right to some of the health benefits of engaging in sexual activity.
1. Drop stress hormone levels
Did you know that when you experience an orgasm, you drop your levels of the stress hormone cortisol?
When we are anxious or stressed, our levels of the stress-inducing hormone cortisol rise. This response can be positive in small doses, but if the substance hangs around in the blood too long, we can experience too much inflammation, stress, and anxiety.
The good news? Sexual intercourse or masturbation affects your hormones in several beneficial ways:
- Dopamine and oxytocin (the “love hormone”). Hit a climax, and voila! You get a burst of these two hormones.
- Cortisol. After releasing dopamine and oxytocin, these two hormones help drop your cortisol levels. Your immune system rebalances, and you have less inflammation.
The more good news? You don’t have to experience an orgasm to get the hormone upside. Experiencing skin-to-skin contact causes your body to release oxytocin within 20 seconds. In addition, using sex as a cardiovascular workout increases your feel-good endorphins (which leads to lower cortisol levels).
2. Lessen Pain
Could an orgasm be a reasonable substitute for pain medicine? Experiencing an orgasm can lead to pain relief. Here’s an example: Vaginal mechanical stimulation in rats results in a powerful pain-blocking effect, one stronger than ten milligrams of morphine per kilogram.
Listen to sex expert Beverly Whipple:
“We found that pressure on the G-spot elevated pain thresholds by over 47% and pleasurable stimulation increased it by more than 80%.When women had orgasms, their pain thresholds went up by more than 108%.” She continues, adding this: “There appeared to be no change in tactile or touch thresholds, which means it’s not a distractor and it’s no anesthetic. It’s an analgesic [and alleviates pain].”
Moreover, having an orgasm is not required to get pain relief. Vaginal stimulation blocks chronic back, leg, and other pain forms. Anecdotes of genital self-stimulation reducing menstrual cramps, headaches, and arthritis are not uncommon.
3. Immune system boost
Did you know that sexually active individuals take fewer sick days? We know that those who engage in sexual activity get an immune system boost.
While not definitive, one study hints at a protective role for sexual activity against COVID-19 infection. As sexual activity increases, our immune system function improves. In the study, those who had sex more than three times per month had a lower disease incidence than those with less sex.
Thank you for joining me in this exploration of three (or the many) benefits of sexual activity.