By: Kelly Graham MSW, RSW
A dilemma that comes up as everyone continues to self-isolate is how to spend your time. One enjoyable activity that may help you feel better is sex, either with your partner, or (oh yes, we’re going there!) with yourself!
Let's Talk About Sexy, Baby!
Sex has many mental and physical health benefits. Sex can help lower your blood pressure, strengthen your immune system, improve the quality of your sleep, help relieve headaches or migraines, strengthen your muscles, and more. Sex is a great form of exercise that can benefit your physical health.
Sex also has many mental health benefits. This includes feeling more confidence and less stress, anxiety, and depression. Good sex contributes to a better sense of satisfaction with life and can significantly improve your mental health. During sex, Oxytocin is released which helps to reduce the negativity you may be feeling and increase your happiness, contentment, and connection. Additionally, in order to achieve orgasm, most of us need to be in the moment.
Mindfulness is one of those techniques often preached by us mental health practitioners. But how in the world are you supposed to meditate and focus on your breathing when your mind is moving so quickly from the onslaught of information? With sex, whether with a partner or by yourself, the pursuit of pleasure is an achievable goal and it’s easier to be mindful and in the moment with a reward like that just waiting in the wings.
Oxytocin can also help improve your relationship with your partner. At a time where you may find your partner is getting on your nerves as you have to spend all day with them, having sex can help bring you closer together. Oxytocin helps to increase levels of trust, intimacy, and love. It is the hormone that influences our sense of connection with one another, and because of it, participating in sexual activity can decrease your sense of irritability and help you feel better about each other.
Now, let’s be clear: you do not need a partner to enjoy the benefits of sex.
Masturbation (solo sex) is normal and natural, and also has many of the same physical and mental health benefits. For some people, it’s even more beneficial than sex with a partner because you get to know what you like and what you don’t, and you don’t need to worry about anyone else’s feelings but your own.
Masturbation can also help boost your body image and self-esteem, increase your ability to achieve orgasms, help you understand your own body, improve sexual dysfunction, and can ultimately lead to enhanced sexual satisfaction between partners.
While it is normally great to improve your mental and physical health, we may especially need these boosts now. With the pandemic occurring, many of us are feeling anxious, stressed, and uncertain about what is going to happen next. Our fight or flight response is triggered which puts us in a state of hypervigilance, with most of our energy devoted to trying to decrease the threat to our lives. But when something is this big, there is only so much that we can do to decrease our risk.
We are also being bombarded with the media telling us what is happening, which keeps us in that fight or flight state. When you are in this state, your anxiety increases and your immune system weakens from all of the stress until you become exhausted, depleted, and depressed.
Engaging in sex can help relax you and boost your mental and physical health, improve your relationships, and increase your overall feelings of contentment.
It’s a great way to spend part of your day!
NWO’s source for all things relationships, mental health, wellness, lifestyle, and pandemic support. Kelly Magazine is a mental health outreach initiative created by Kelly Mental Health and supported by Kelly Mental Health Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the community in the area of mental health.
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