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!