Stress is a person’s physical and psychological reactions to life’s demands and challenges. It’s a natural part of life and it can be both positive and negative. Eustress is the positive stress we might experience when we plan a wedding or have a baby. Distress is the negative stress we might feel when we lose a job or end a relationship. Regardless of the type we experience, stress can trigger our “fight or flight” response. If not managed in healthy ways, stress can negatively affect our sleep, weight, mood, immune system and sexual desire.
Some healthy ways to managing stress include meditation, deep breathing, yoga, exercise, etc. But you might not know that sex can also be a healthy way to manage your stress. So, in honor of Stress Awareness Month, here are some ways sex can be a great stress reliever:
1. Deep breathing – When you are having sex, you are definitely breathing deeper. Deep breathing can trigger the relaxation response and help lower stress in your body.
2. Mindfulness – Mindfulness means focusing one’s awareness on the present moment and attending to certain body parts and responses (including thoughts and feelings), without judgment. Mindfulness is not only relaxing, it also reduces anxiety and stress. Practicing mindful sex, focusing fully on the pleasurable sexual sensations in your body, can provide the same stress reducing effect.
3. Relaxation – After having an orgasm, a warm wave of relaxation spreads over your body. Stress and tension are gone…enough said!
4. Touch – Sexual touch from a lover is not only arousing, but can also be incredibly soothing, healing and stress relieving.
5. Exercise – Depending on how intense the sexual activity is, sex could be considered a form of exercise. Not only does it provide some cardio, sex tends to work a variety of different muscle groups, which can help work out tension and decrease stress. Sex also releases endorphins which also helps reduce stress.
6. Emotional Intimacy – Sexual contact, especially when it results in orgasms, releases a hormone called oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone.” It helps people feel closer and more intimate, and helps solidify the bonds of a romantic relationship.
7. Recreation – Engaging in recreational activities that are fun and entertaining can help reduce stress. Remember that sex can and should be fun. It’s something you do together for each other’s enjoyment and fulfillment. So have some fun and reduce your stress!
You don’t need a couple of PhDs in sexology to tell you that good sex between consenting adults can be fun and fulfilling. But you might not know about all the ways sex can make you healthier, as well.
In fact, there are SO many health benefits, we had to split our revelations into two blogs — one for women and one next week for men. So, let’s get started. The sooner you know these secrets, the sooner you can start your workouts (maybe even tonight!).
- Got Cramps? – Many women complain of severe menstrual cramps every month, and their usual habit is to wait until they have them and then take an over-the-counter medication to combat them. In most cases, they experience little relief. But what if we told you that what you’re doing in between periods can help prevent that severe cramping? Well, we’ve got an app for that. It’s called sex. When a woman achieves orgasm, her uterus contracts and spasms as part of the experience. That expels many cramp-causing chemicals and compounds from the uterus. If you have sex often enough, you’ll begin to see your cramps becoming less severe and more manageable.
- Want a Shorter Period? – Uterine contractions via orgasm aren’t just good for reducing cramps, but also the length of your period altogether. The contractions help rid the body of blood and tissue more quickly, helping to end your period faster.
- Want More Regular Periods? – Endocrinologists on the research staff at Columbia and Stanford universities recently performed a study that revealed women who had sex at least once per week were having more regular menstrual cycles as compared to those who had sex every so often. Establishing a once-a-week “date night” with your partner just uncovered a hidden benefit.
- Bladder Control Problems? – Sex strengthens the pelvic floor muscles that control the flow of urine. Kegel exercises that occur naturally during sex will result in women having much better bladder control. That doesn’t mean you couldn’t do some extra Kegels in the car while you’re driving home, too. They are as good for increasing pleasure in sex as they are for enhancing your bladder control.
- Want a Better Relationship? – Sexual contact, especially when it results in orgasms, releases a hormone called oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone.” It helps people feel closer and more intimate, and helps solidify the bonds of a romantic relationship. So, yeah, we guess we’re saying that good sex brings people closer together. I know that’s a no-brainer, but we just thought it was cool there is a scientific basis for it.
So, don’t just have sex because it makes you feel good — have sex MORE because it makes you healthy.