Here's a fun fact you may not have known: Not only is sex nourishing for your bod, but the benefits of sex on your mental health are also strong. Isn't that great news? We should all be having more sex.
Dr. Martha Lee, clinical sexologist and founder of Eros Coaching, can back up that sex isn't just about horniness — it's also about health.
"Our sexuality and our expression of it is an integral part of who we are," she explains. "In Chinese medicine, sexual energy has long been associated with the basis of a person's emotional well being. Increasingly, more people are acknowledging that sex has an important role toward our sense of well-being as well as quality of life."
Feeling sadder than usual? Maybe you just need to hook up a bit. Constantly feeling under the weather? Surprisingly enough, you might just need a little more love-making in your life.
And if you're being slut-shamed for liking sex and having it too often, let that person know sex is actually good for you with these real AF ways that sex can benefit your mental health.
1. Sex Can Be A Stress Reliever
Feeling anxious? Have an orgasm!
"A study published in Biological Psychology found that frequent intercourse was associated with lower diastolic blood pressure in cohabiting participants. Orgasms trigger the release of endorphins, which are the feel-good chemicals secreted by the brain that act as effective painkillers," says Dr. Lee.
You mean to tell me that orgasms are just as effective as painkillers? I am no longer spending any more money on Tylenol. Sorry, big pharma!
"During orgasm, higher levels of blood flood the body. and this takes pressure away from the brain," she continues. "Most people report feeling more relaxed after an orgasm. Hence, an active sex life could be your way of getting fit, warding off illnesses, boosting your state of health, and erasing stress."
You know that saying an apple a day keeps the doctor away? You can switch apples to orgasms.
2. Sex Can Help Increase Your Self-Esteem
If you're feeling down about yourself, you should always self-improve from within. But when all else fails, try hooking up with somebody! Dr. Lee says, "Boosting self-esteem was one of 237 reasons people have sex, collected by University of Texas researchers and published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior."
To be honest, I get it. Usually, when I am feeling insecure, it's because I don't feel seen, heard, or desired by others.
"This makes sense because when you have sex, you feel close to your partner, physically nurtured, desired, and consequently good about yourself," Dr. Lee explains. "This reaffirms your desirability [and] boosts your self-confidence, as well as [your] sense of well-being."
4. Sex Helps You And Your Partner Become More Intimate
Sometimes, feeling disconnected from your partner can lead to issues regarding mental health. According to Dr. Lee, "sexually active women in long-term relationships were less likely to be depressed than women who went without sex, according to a study of nearly 300 women by American psychologist Gordon Gallup and published in the Archives Of Sexual Behavior."
Dr. Lee also explains that sex can make you feel connected and close to your partner, not only emotionally, but chemically with things like oxytocin and serotonin:
During lovemaking and orgasm, a combination of endorphins, neurotransmitters and hormones are released. Oxytocin, in particular, is a hormone released during and after sex that has been shown to make women bond, trust and also feel more generous towards their partners. It can also help induce calm and sleep. Another key neurotransmitter is serotonin which is the body's key antidepressant chemical and one of the major reasons people smile and feel happy and relaxed after sex.
If a lack of intimacy in your relationship is leading to you feeling depressed in your personal life, try initiating sex with your partner, because of the whole serotonin, oxytocin, endorphin, neurotransmitter, hormone thing. It'll help!
4. Sex Can Improve How You Sleep
Sleep is incredibly important for mental health. I know that if I don't get my eight hours in, I am a completely unbearable psycho. So if you've been struggling with sleep lately, sex might actually do the trick.
Dr. Lee says, "Oxytocin released during orgasm also promotes better sleep. So if you are stressed about the presentation the next day and want to make sure you a good night's rest, have sex, cuddle together, and have a restful sleep." Throw away those sleeping pills and just hook up with someone instead. That seems like a way more fun idea, right?
Remember, sex isn't just fun, it's good for you (as long as it is consensual and it's done safely — *cough* wear a condom *cough*). It could be the exact thing you need to cure what ails you.
Dr. Lee summarizes, "Sex contributes toward our well-being, enhances emotional attachment, and facilitates intimacy in our relationships. Continuing to share your life in a fulfilling intimate relationship can have positive effects on virtually every aspect of your life, from physical health to self-esteem. Sex is great."
And I agree. So get to it! Sex rules!
Check out the “Best of Elite Daily” stream in the Bustle App for more stories just like this!