Sex is an integral part of relationships, something that helps us grow closer as a couple. But sex is not only enjoyable, it also has a number of other physical and mental health benefits.
Your brain and sex
Have you ever wondered what happens in your brain during sex? As you become intimate, your brain releases a series of hormones and chemicals that have different benefits for your body.
From stress reduction to pain relief to bonding with your partner, these chemicals influence how you feel before, during and after sex:
Often called the love drug, it is released during sex and when you have an orgasm. It is also associated with positive feelings such as trust and empathy.
Recent studies found that couples involved in a romantic relationship had higher levels of oxytocin than people who were not in a couple.
Dopamine and serotonin
They are also released during sex, peaking when orgasm approaches. Dopamine is a hormone related to pleasure, while serotonin helps regulate mood.
They help the body relieve pain and generate positive feelings; they are another type of chemical that the brain produces during sex. They are often considered a natural opioid because of the feeling of euphoria and pain relief they cause.
Benefits of sex
Having sex is a great way to stay active, relieve stress, increase your sense of well-being and more.
Here are five of the main benefits associated with sex.
- Improves heart health: When you’re sexually aroused, your heart rate increases, just as it would with physical exercise. Getting your blood pumping is good for your cardiovascular health, which helps you stay in good shape overall. You can incorporate sex as a way to stay in shape, but other aerobic exercises are also recommended.
- It can improve sleep: If you have trouble sleeping, sex before bed may help you get a better night’s rest. When you have an orgasm, your brain releases several chemicals associated with sleep, including prolactin, oxytocin, and vasopressin.
- Reduce stress levels: Being intimate with your partner can reduce stress and help with anxiety, even just by touching and cuddling. When you trust your partner, you are more able to open up, relax and enjoy stress-reducing sex.
- Relieves pain: Having an orgasm can be an organic form of pain relief. As you maintain intimate contact with your partner, your brain releases endorphins, which act as a natural painkiller.
- Boost your immune system: People who have sex regularly are less likely to get sick than others. It’s a natural immune system booster that can benefit your body in the future.
From mental health to physical health, the benefits of sex are varied. Aside from these advantages, sex is also a great way to bond with your partner and increase the closeness between the two of you.
Sex as a natural analgesic
There are several possible reasons why climaxing kills pain. The chemical and muscular cascade involved in orgasm can be a pain reliever, and distraction and deep relaxation are likely to help as well.
A team of neurologists found that sexual activity can lead to “partial or complete relief” of headache pain in some migraines, and a study from the University of Munster (Germany) suggests that instead of using a headache as an excuse to refuse sex, making love may be more effective than taking painkillers.
Research, published in Cephalalalgia (the journal of the International Headache Society), found that more than half of migraine patients who had sex during an episode experienced an improvement in symptoms.
This is because sex triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, through the central nervous system, which in turn can reduce, or even eliminate, a headache.
Sex releases a host of chemicals in the brain, starting with oxytocin, he explains. Oxytocin increases with sensual contact between adults and peaks during orgasm.
Oxytocin not only increases emotional connection, but also promotes a sense of calm and well-being, and reduces the effects of stress, all of which reduces the perception of pain. Oxytocin also increases the desire to touch and be touched, which in turn increases the likelihood of increased oxytocin production.
Additional substances, released through contact with your partner’s skin, similarly contribute to pain relief and well-being. These include serotonin, our body’s natural antidepressant; phenylethylamine, which is also present in chocolate and activates the brain’s pleasure center; and endorphins, a natural painkiller that reduces awareness of pain and generates feelings of elation and euphoria. Endorphins have a chemical structure similar to synthetic opioids, the narcotic drugs prescribed for severe pain.
Sex provides many benefits to our overall health, and it’s a great way to stay active.
The pleasure of sex has been designed by our biology to provide a series of benefits that improve our physical and emotional well-being.
Contribute to the cause by doing your own research!