3 Unexpected Benefits of Sex
Sex has so many benefits! By now you may have heard that sex counts as a form of exercise (that can burn about 150 calories per hour). And we all know how valuable exercise is to maintaining a healthy mind and body. However, I’m so excited to share just a few unexpected benefits of sex.
Benefits of Sex #1: Better Breathing
Did you know sex can unblock a stuffy nose? Sounds weird, but true! During arousal, your sympathetic nervous system — the one that activates your fight-or-flight response — kicks in. Your adrenaline levels go up and your blood vessels constrict. Less blood flow to your nose means less inflammation, so your nose opens up and you are able to breathe more easily. However, the position in which you choose to have sex matters. If you have sex lying on your back, you won’t experience the same level of congestion relief. In that position, you don’t benefit from the effects of gravity nearly as much as you would in an upright position.
After orgasm or arousal, your parasympathetic nervous system — the one that conserves your energy and slows your heart rate (a.k.a. rest and digest) — begins to take over. At that point, your nose will start to slowly return to normal and you’ll feel the congestion begin to return. On average, you’ll have less congestion for between 45 minutes to an hour; however, be mindful that the effect doesn’t always happen to the same degree each time you try this. While medication can offer you several hours of relief, it alleviates your discomfort in a vastly different way and isn’t nearly as much fun as participating in sexual activity. Warning: with these benefits of sex, one annoying side effect is possible, as you get relief from your congestion, you might also get a runny nose which can happen either during or after sexual activity. So, just be sure to keep a box of tissues close.
Benefit #2: Helping You Look Younger
You might be surprised to hear that having sex 3 times a week can help keep you looking younger! Dr. David Weeks, at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital in Scotland, may have uncovered the tangible fountain of youth. His long-term study found that the key ingredients for looking younger are staying active and maintaining a good sex life. There are plenty of benefits of a healthy sex life. Sex can keep us younger because it decreases stress, relaxes us, leads to better sleep, greater contentment, enhances intimacy, and improves personal relationships. Sexual intercourse also boosts our immune system, prevents stagnation, allows us to sweat out toxins from our pores, and bathes our skin in anti-inflammatory molecules such as oxytocin and beta-endorphins. This translates to our skin’s radiance and being more at ease with facial expression. Which ultimately, can give us a glow, helps prevent dryness, improve skin elasticity, and possibly help to ward off wrinkles. Maybe it’s time we all start considering sex as a part of our skincare regimen, who’s with me?!
It’s important to note that you don’t need a partner(s) to reap these youthful benefits. Solo sex works just fine! However, Dr. Weeks did mention that pleasure from the act is the most “crucial factor” in preserving youth. To take advantage of these benefits of good sex, take some time to figure out how to turn yourself on, what feels good for your body, and reclaim your youthful glow!
Benefit #3: Less Social Anxiety
Did you know sex can help with social anxiety? Humans are social creatures with an evolutionary need to form and maintain social bonds. We have developed a sociometer which allows us to register the degree to which we are being accepted or rejected. When rejection is detected, our sociometer kicks on and tells us to take action to prevent the occurrence of the rejection we fear. This is where our lovely coping strategies come in to help regulate us and remind us that we are okay. While this is a typical response, socially anxious people often work hard to avoid situations with the potential for evaluation by other people or these situations are endured with significant distress. Unfortunately, avoiding feared social situations can lead to fewer opportunities for positive experiences such as laughter, social support, and intimacy.
Even though socially anxious people may approach sexual activity with more concerns than non-anxious people, sexual activity can help provide socially anxious people with important benefits. Studies have shown that engaging in sexual activity can predict less social anxiety and fewer negative social comparisons the next day. For socially anxious people, greater feelings of connectedness to their partner(s) during sex also predicted less social anxiety symptoms as well as fewer negative social comparisons the following day. However, having an orgasm (or not) does not have any impact on social anxiety the next day. Similar to Dr. Weeks’ study, the most useful predictor of reduced social anxiety symptoms the next day was experiencing pleasure!
To learn about more unexpected benefits of sex, and learn how to have a happy, healthy sex life, contact us today!