Sex and wellness: Why sex can be beneficial to the mind and body
As Salt-N-Pepa once said, “Let’s talk about sex!” Having conversations about sex may seem scandalous to some, but it is a natural and healthy thing to participate in.
It’s something that we do to continue the human species and it helps that it’s a fun thing to do with an intimate partner. What you may not know is that the wellness benefits of sex and intimate activities go beyond the act itself.
Sex, "self love", and other sexual activity can be beneficial for your mind, body, and relationships.
If you want some additional reasons to set the mood and practice some self-love (or love with others), we’ve got it covered:
Sex Can Help Your Mental Health
Some of the greatest wellness benefits of sex, masturbation, and sexual activity come from its impact on your mental health. It can be an important factor for increasing intimacy, love, and trust in relationships and help with expressing emotions with partners. People who have regular sex report having greater satisfaction with their lives, mental health, and even decreased daily stress levels.
A recent survey looked at how sexual activity impacted psychological distress during COVID-19-related lockdowns and found that sex helped reduce the risk of developing anxiety and depression.
Penetrative sex appears to be more effective than other types of sexual activities for helping mental health, but they both can help.
Sex May Help Creativity
In the middle of a writer’s block or having difficulty with that big project of yours? Well, sex may be what you need to help your creative flow. Research shows that there is a link between creativity and sexual activity. In fact, the more creative a person is, the more likely they were to have more sexual partners.
Because sex is known to help reduce stress and improve your mood, this can also help you get into a better headspace for creativity.
Sex Helps the Vaginal and Pelvic Muscles Function Well
You wouldn’t normally think of sex as a strength-building activity, but it can help strengthen your vaginal and pelvic muscles Why is it important to have strong muscles in this area The pelvic floor stabilizes your body and supports the bladder, uterus, and bowels. Having a weak pelvic floor may lead to loss of bladder control and bowel incontinence, a painful uterine prolapse, and decreased blood flow to important muscles.
This becomes especially important after menopause – regular sex can reduce vaginal atrophy and weakness in pelvic muscles that can happen with hormonal changes.
Sex Helps Heart Health
Sex may not always be vigorous enough to count exercise depending on what you’re doing, but it still has some benefits for your heart Regularly having sex can help lower stress and blood pressure, which is great for reducing the risks of cardiovascular disease.
A national study of older adults found that different components of sex could support heart health. For men, the frequency of sex was protective against cardiovascular events. On the other hand, having good quality sex had better protective effects for women.
Sex May Help Boost the Immune System
Sex can help a healthy immune system in multiple ways. Not only can sex improve blood flow for your immune response, but it can also increase some of the molecules that fight off germs. One study found that sex can help boost the production of salivary immunoglobulin A (IgA). This molecule is the most abundant antibody present in our bodies and is the first line of defense against harmful pathogens.
The wellness benefits of sex may differ between penetrative sex, masturbation, and other sexual activities, but all of these activities have benefits. Choose the activities that fit into your boundaries and make you feel good instead of doing what you think “you should” be doing. Before you get down for any sexual activity, always be sure to communicate with your partner(s) about preferences, boundaries, contraceptives, and other sexual safety concerns (like STIs).