No, this blog is not about masturbation. Well not really…but I’ll get to that later.
This blog IS about all the amazing reasons to have sex (and orgasms) that extend far beyond connection with your beloved. While nurturing your partnership may be reason enough to maintain a vibrant and active sex life, it is important to understand that sex also confers significant benefit to YOU in that it can actually improve your emotional and physical health. That’s right, folks, you heard it here: intimacy, sex, and orgasm contribute to optimal health.
Ten Benefits of Sex that May Surprise You
Lowers your blood pressure
Decreases heart attack risk
Counts as exercise
Improves women’s bladder control
Supports the immune system
Enhances pain tolerance
Lowers prostate cancer risk
Promotes restful sleep
And (ladies) if that list isn’t enough to get you in the mood, try this:
“ [Regular sex and orgasm, and potentially even thinking about ‘good’ sex] delivers a strong activation of dopamine to the female reward system, as well as surges of oxytocin for connection, and opioids that drive the sensations of joy…[It] delivers to women the feelings that lead them to want to create, explore, communicate, conquer and transcend.”
Naomi Wolf, author of Vagina: A New Biography
Many of my patients come to see me searching for their long-lost libido, but even more come hoping to reclaim their former vital vibrant selves - their joie de vivre. Their desire for overall juiciness may start out as an inquiry into their lack of sexual desire, but more often than not it also includes a longing for a version of themselves from the past that was more creative, more motivated, and more joyful.
Hormonal changes as we age impact every aspect of mood, energy, sleep, and sexual function. How this manifests for each of us is the result of a rich and complex interplay between hormones (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, thyroid, oxytocin) and neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine) – all of which are affected by diet, exercise, sleep, stress management, and yes, relationships & sex.
So in addition to all those other things you do for your health, you now have a new very fun activity to add to your self-care list. That is: have great sex with someone you love (or at least think about it!), and if you’re not currently partnered, pleasuring yourself counts, too! Now go out there and get healthy. Doctor’s orders!