The short answer is ‘Yes’. We are programmed to procreate, so our bodies have made sure we have incentives (and rewards) for engaging in intercourse.
If you have a healthy relationship with your sexuality, having regular sex can be a great way to make your life a little easier overall, providing small boosts to your physical and mental health.
In French, orgasms are called “la petite mort”—the little death. Despite this description, medical literature shows that greater sexual frequency is associated with a healthier, longer life in both men and women.
While the benefits of sex can be linked to longevity, the abscence of sex in and of itself does not correlate with deacreased life expectancy: a long-term study into the health and ageing of a group of nearly 700 older nuns found many kept active and lived well into their 90s and even past 100.
The recorded benefits are as follows:
Sex helps you sleep well & get out of bed in the morning
Sexual activity triggers the release of hormones such as oxytocin, dopamine, and endorphins. Dopamine, also known as the 'feel good' hormone, is a neurotransmitter that interacts with the pleasure centers in our brains. The release of oxytocin promotes bonding and attachment.
After climax, another hormone—prolactin—starts circulating in the bloodstream. Prolactin is responsible for feelings of euphoric relief, relaxation, and drowsiness after a satisfying orgasm. Many people drift off to sleep in that state. The mental state we’re in before we go to sleep influences the quality of the sleep that follows—if you go to bed feeling good, you’re more likely to awaken well-rested.
Not everyone gets sleepy post-coitus. The surge of dopamine your receive during sex is also known to positively affect coordination, memory, and focus. The energy boost you get from morning sex, combined with a relaxed state of mind and loosened muscles, can help you ease into the day ahead.
Sex is a natural painkiller
Have you ever tried masturbating instead of using a painkiller to help a headache?
Try it sometime, it might work better than you think. People with chronic and painful conditions such as fibromyalgia have reported using masturbation as temporary, but effective pain relief.
The release of oxytocin, dopamine, and endorphins lower our sensitivity to pain. Having an orgasm is one of the fastest-working pain-killers known—the pain threshold rises by almost 75%. Simply applying pressure to the anterior wall of the vagina causes the pain threshold to increase by 50%—an effect that benefits women giving birth. As bad as that pain can be, it would be much worse without the pain-reducing effects of stimulating our pleasure centers.
This is the same system that comes into effect in an intense situation—being a victim in a car crash, or an athlete during a race. People often don’t notice an injury they’ve sustained until there’s a chance to relax.
Sex is good for your heart
Surpassing your resting heart rate on a regular basis trains your body to move oxygen and blood to your muscles more efficiently. Arousal and intercourse make the heart beat faster, and the number of beats per minute peaks during climax.
Sex also regulates the balance of estrogen and testosterone in your body.
Sex has the same effect on the heart and body as a form of light excercise. Your heart rate peaks during climax, but in order to stay healthy, you'd have to maintain it for 150 minutes (total) per week. 2.5 hours of moderate activity per week is considered the minimum for adults.
Sex burns (a few) calories
When comparing sexual activity to a jog, sex is less effective in burning calories, but that isn't to say that it doesn't count. In fact, the calories burned during 25 mins of moderate sexual activity corresponds with two to three times average resting metabolism. Of course, the bodily strain of sex can vary. Two physically fit people engaging in enthusiastic sex will have an intense workout, whereas a slow, intimate session will be less demanding.
Exploring new techniques and positions can be beneficial, too. During intercourse and foreplay, we use muscles and stretch tendons that might be more static in our day-to-day. Caution is advised, though, as there are many people who have sustained injuries in the heat of passion.
Additionally, doing exercise you enjoy can be incentivising and effective—having an intimate romp in bed is generally much more enticing than a morning jog in icy weather. If won't replace keeping fit, but it is a good addition to your other exercise routines.
Sex makes your immune system stronger
Orgasms increase the number of white blood cells in your body, which is known to help fight off viruses and foreign bacteria.
Cortisol is responsible for regulating many essential bodily functions. However, consistently elevated cortisol levels can be detrimental to your health. When oxytocin and dopamine are released during sex, they cause your body's cortisol levels to decrease.
Prolactin helps you fall asleep. Sleep is well known to be an essential component of keeping the immune system in good shape, the deep sleep phase being most important. During deep sleep, our bodies are more equipped to target inflammation and infections.
Immunoglobulin A (IgA) is an antibody that plays a significant role in upholding the immune system. It can help prevent illness, and is the first line of defense against the human papillomavirus (HPV). People having sex once or twice a week were found to have significantly more IgA in their saliva compared to those who had sex less than once a week, and, curiously, more than those who had sex more than three times a week.
Sex improves your mental health & memory
When we imagine a mentally healthy person, we imagine someone in a stable emotional state, at ease with themselves. The more at ease you are, the better your mind reacts to stress and absorbs new information, which can de-escalate some sticky situations and help you remember important things.
Because of the surge of hormones during and after sex or masturbation, sex can be very beneficial to your mental health. Even smaller things like kissing, can reduce stress and anxiety. Sexual intimacy in a trusting environment facilitates emotional intimacy and deepens feelings of love and affection. Sometimes it’s easier to open up to one’s partner about a difficult issue after sex.
Reaching the point where sexual intercourse is a positive, easygoing experience for all involved is a challenge in itself. Establishing trust with your sexual partner, learning how to interpret each other’s signals, overcoming insecurities to become comfortable in your own skin—these are all non-trivial acts of emotional maturity. Sexual activity is even known to lessen the use of immature psychological defence mechanisms, such as isolation or denial.
This is not to say that sex is a shortcut for treating mental health problems—you still have to do the emotional and psychological work. But if you do, you’ll be giving yourself some key components in living a happier, more vibrant life.
You can track your period and sex life using WomanLog. Download WomanLog now:
We live in a society where sex is considered a normal and necessary part of life. This is the result of a decades-long effort to overcome deep-rooted feelings of shame and guilt associated with sexuality. Because sexuality is so intimate and so consequential, it has led to problems in social organization throughout human history. The topic is so burdened with moralizing because it is an obvious subject to address when establishing social norms.
The potentially life-changing reality of an unwanted pregnancy causes real anxiety for most people. One of the last-ditch methods for preventing a pregnancy is emergency contraception, the key word being emergency.
Pornography is a popular adult movie genre that generates $90 billion annually in global revenues. Many people enjoy watching adult movies, regardless of their lifestyle and relationship status. Some watch pornography by themselves, while others use it to spice things up in the bedroom. Although adult movies can bring novelty to your sex life, it's important to watch them responsibly and find fair trade sources.
Hidden within the vulva, the clitoris is an erogenous organ of the female reproductive system. How big is it? What is its role? Why does it give pleasure when caressed? Let’s discover the mysteries of the clitoris.
It is true that we all have our preferences. Couples often have one or two sexual positions that lead them more easily to the peak of pleasure. Varying the positions may be wise. By doing the same all the time, it loses its flavour. The routine sets in, but sometimes it takes little to change a habit and the two partners have slightly different feelings.
Expectant women and future fathers often worry if it is safe to have sex during pregnancy and if it won’t hurt the baby. However, pregnancy need not mean sexual abstinence: neither penetration nor orgasmic contraction can harm the child.
Menstruation is a natural part of life yet talking about it can prove difficult due to social stigma and gender stereotypes. Two people in a romantic relationship will come to know each other intimately and your period is a topic that is sure to come up sooner or later.
People are social animals, but over the past year and a half, maintaining a social life has become challenging. Now that the Covid-19 restrictions are being lifted, many of us are having mixed feelings about returning to life as we knew it. Especially returning to the dating scene.
In recent years, the number of instances of explicit non-consensual content being published online has been growing at an alarming rate. As more people use the internet to do their jobs, manage their social lives, and try their luck at dating, the danger of cybercrime increases. Revenge pornography is a cybercrime mainly committed on social networks or similar platforms.
Hormonal birth control doesn’t work for all women—some experience side-effects, others just aren’t comfortable with the idea of altering their bodies in such a fundamental way. These are the alternatives.
Sex is an integral part of most committed romantic relationships. Trying out new positions is a good way of maintaining emotional closeness and learning more about your needs and the needs of your partner. You don’t need to do anything crazy—even small changes can help you achieve better orgasms and generally enjoy a more exciting and pleasurable experience.
Long-distance relationships occur when lovers are separated by considerable physical distance. They live in two different cities, countries, or even continents and cannot routinely meet in real life due to their work and study obligations or for other reasons (such as the restrictions enforced because of an unprecedented global pandemic).
A visual comparison of the human male body and the human female body reveals many similarities, but the differences are immediately apparent. The reproductive organs are the most obvious difference—the physical expression of the chromosomes that determine biological sex.
Painful penetration or dyspareunia is defined as persistent or recurrent genital pain that occurs just before, during, or after intercourse. Many women experience discomfort during vaginal penetration now and then. But for some, painful sex becomes a regular part of their intimate lives.
Online dating started for real in the mid-1990s. It’s a fair bet that online romance scamming wasn’t far behind. We all want to connect, but when it comes to your safety and emotional well-being, boundaries and trust must be established before you take the next step. Knowing how to spot a catfish can help you avoid falling prey to this form of emotional abuse as you explore relationships online.
Humans are complex social beings. We use certain behaviours and rituals to communicate, compete, and find romantic partners. Flirting is a normal part of our lives as humans. We've learned these patterns from our ancestors to find a pleasing partner. But even after centuries of human evolution, we still become awkward and can be easily confused when we flirt. What are the signs of flirtatiousness, and what can we do to avoid misinterpreting them?
Natural processes are messy, and often require a set of guidelines for people to follow in order for them to be both safe and enjoyable for everyone involved. Being informed can make the difference between a wonderful experience and a terrible experience.
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD), affecting millions of people worldwide. A lot of stigma surrounds STDs, making it difficult to seek help when needed. But the reality is that anyone can get herpes.
A romantic relationship between two people develops through multiple stages. The beginning is full of passion and the feeling of butterflies in the stomach. After a while, the excitement fades, and the relationship falls into a routine. Lack of sexual desire in a long-term relationship is a common issue, but you can quickly light up your intimate life.
Ageing and sexuality are two themes human society has surrounded with myths and stereo-types. Just because our bodies change doesn’t mean our appetite for sex and intimacy disappears. What does it mean to manage your sexuality later in life?
Stress and anxiety are likely to affect your physical and mental health. Often the first symptoms appear in the reproductive system. Prolonged or chronic stress can confuse the body and therefore hormone production, causing irregular periods, difficulty con-ceiving, and even low libido.
Whether you maintain an active sex life throughout the month, or avoid sex during your period for any reason, there is still something of a taboo around sex while menstruating. The questions we have about this topic often remain shadowed in uncertainty.
Safe contraception should be available to everyone. Access to contraception allows us to plan for pregnancy, protect ourselves from sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and gives us more control over our lives.
Vaginal mycoses, or vaginal yeast infection (also called candidal vulvovaginitis, vaginal thrush, or candidiasis) is extremely common. Mycoses is found in about 20% of vaginal secretions tested in laboratories. The pain and discomfort caused by this condition often requires immediate medical attention.
Non-penetrative sex, a.k.a. outercourse, is sex without sexual penetration. There are a variety of reasons why a person might choose this over penetrative sex, including preference, safety, mental and physical restrictions, and personal boundaries.
Despite cultural and scientific progress, there is still an air of mysticism and misconception surrounding female arousal and orgasm. Both men and women still struggle to understand what makes the female body tick.
Intimacy is one of the most complex, fascinating, and rewarding aspects of human connection. We usually talk about physical and emotional intimacy in romantic relationships, but people can share intellectual and spiritual intimacy as well. While the idea of intimacy is simple enough to understand, many different factors can contribute to an intimate bond.
Relationships should provide love, security, and companionship. Everyone needs a few deep and meaningful connections with others as we go through life. However, not all relationships are easy. Romantic relationships can be particularly challenging, especially when they enter the long-term phase. Inequalities, differing love languages, and difficulty in communicating can contribute to dissatisfaction in a relationship. In this article, we will guide you through some of the most common disagreements couples face and how to find common ground.
Sex drive—or libido—is a person’s level of eagerness for sexual intimacy. A person’s sex drive is influenced by the psychological, physiological, and social aspects of their life experience, such as age, hormones, family attitudes, lifestyle, past sexual experiences, social pressures, health, and many other factors. Each of us is unique, so it’s not uncommon for people in a relationship to have mismatching libidos.
Although the word ‘sexuality’ leads us to think of the sex act, it is much more than just sexual relations and reproduction as a biological function. Sexuality is a holistic concept that includes a person’s physical and psycho-emotional need for love, intimacy, and pleasure; it is a set of behaviours we engage in to get what we need and want, behaviours that follow both written and unwritten laws. Or that we engage in despite them.
The pleasure gap is an issue affecting many heterosexual couples. When one of the partners experience fewer orgasms during sex, the gap grows. To close the pleasure gap between men and women, it’s important to rethink heterosexual sex.
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a pathogen that, in the absence of treatment, results in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), a condition that undermines the body’s natural defense systems, rendering it vulnerable to disease.
Taking charge of our menstrual cycles can be empowering—knowing when to expect periods and reducing or even eliminating accompanying symptoms makes it much easier to manage, and frees up time and energy to use as we see fit!
Virginity is the state of not yet having engaged in sexual intercourse. It is impossible to see if a man or woman is a virgin just by looking at them. Virginity is a concept—there is no medical or biological definition of virginity. It is a mythologised status, the idea of a transition from one state to another, an initiation after which the informal status of a person has changed.
Sexual harassment is defined as an unwelcome sexual advance. If you have received unwelcome suggestive comments, have been touched without your permission, or have been bullied or coerced into complying with a sexual advance, you have experienced sexual harassment.
The sexual needs of people who live with disabilities are the same as everyone else’s but overcoming the stigma and gaining access to basic sexual-health-related information and services is much more challenging for them. Those with disabilities are still disproportionately underserved when it comes to sexual education and resources, both as adolescents and later in life. In this article, we discuss how to make information about sexual health more accessible for everyone, regardless of our physical or mental capabilities.
The frequency of orgasms differs from person to person. Some people climax every time they have sex, others struggle to climax at all. There are multiple reasons why, in the absence of an orgasm, someone might fake it.
Sex, like any other meaningful event, requires adequate preparation. Foreplay provides a transitional stage between the suggestion of intimacy and engaging in sex—giving partners time to prepare mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Hormonal contraception has been an effective tool for helping women gain more control over family planning and reproductive health. However, changing the way your hor-mones function is not a trifling matter. There may come a moment when a woman wants to take a break from hormonal contraception or stop using it altogether.
Vaginal discharge is a fact of life. Every woman of menstrual age experiences it. It can be said that vaginal discharge reflects a woman’s health. The colour and quality of the secretions indicate where she is in her menstrual cycle and can be sensitive to even slight changes in diet and routine, hormone imbalance, vaginal pH, and infection.
Dating and relationships aren’t easy for anyone. Finding a partner can be even more challenging for asexual people. An asexual person has little or no sexual desire for others, which means they tend to abstain from intercourse and other sexual acts. When one partner has little interest in sexual intimacy, it can be tough for a partner who desires sex to maintain an emotionally intimate relationship.