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Body & Mind: The health benefits of sex

Sex is amazing for your health! It is a physical activity with all kinds of benefits. For example, it makes you happier, you have less stress and it also improves your sleep rhythm and immune system!

De gezondheidsvoordelen van seks
Photo courtesy of Goop

Sex is good for your health. And not just a little, it is actually very healthy. Having sex can be considered a physical activity of moderate intensity. That’s somewhere between walking and slow jogging. The weekly recommendation of 150 minutes of physical activity at moderate intensity sounds a lot more fun! You burn calories and work on your fitness and that without having to buy expensive sports shoes.
In addition to physical health, sex also boosts your mental health. There is a link between having sex often and good mental health. Below, I am more than happy to list some of the health benefits of sex for you;

Sex makes you happier

The biochemical substances released during sex and an orgasm positively influence our mood. So it is really true that you feel happier after having sex. It creates a sense of trust, attachment and connection. The cuddle hormone, oxytocin, creates this feeling. Before, during and after childbirth women also produce extra oxytocin, so in a natural way they can cope better with the pain and can get extra attached to their child. The hormones that are released during sex are responsible for the happy and relaxed feeling after an orgasm.

Sex makes you sleep better

A study (2019) found that the quality of sleep was better when someone had an orgasm before going to bed. It was also easier to fall asleep. By the way, this also applies to masturbation.

Less stress

Not just sex, even cuddling and holding hands can lower your stress levels and blood pressure. Participants in a Scottish study kept a diary of their sexual activities ( included sex with penetration, without penetration and masturbation) for several weeks. During this period they were regularly exposed to stressful events (complicated tests and speaking in front of an audience). Participants with the least sexual activity had the highest increase in blood pressure and stress levels. Participants who had sex more frequently had a significantly lower blood pressure and lower stress levels.

Sex reduces pain

Menstrual cramps? Headaches? Muscle soreness? Not pleasant, but we have good news! Sex releases the hormones serotonin, oxytocin (= the cuddle hormone) and endorphins (= the happiness hormone). These are thought to help relieve pain. Hormones can do wonderful things, including making you suffer less from headaches, menstrual cramps or muscle soreness after sex or an orgasm!

Immune System

A British study shows that people who have sex regularly (about once or twice a week) have higher levels of Immunoglobulin A (IgA) in their blood than people who have sex less frequently. Immunoglobulin A protects you from bacteria and viruses that can make you sick. A remarkable result of this study is that the level of IgA dropped again after participants had sex more than 3 times a week.

Pelvic floor muscles

During sex you train the muscles of your pelvic floor. These muscles are much more important than they appear to be, as they are connected to your bladder. If these muscles are too weak, they can cause you to lose urine involuntarily. Keeping your pelvic floor muscles strong is therefore very important if you want to avoid incontinence. When you have an orgasm, these muscles contract and become stronger. The stronger these muscles are, the more intense an orgasm can become! Start exercising!

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