5 Mental Health Benefits to having Sex

5 Mental Health Benefits to having Sex

How does sex affect your mental health? Research has shown that 1 in 4 of us will suffer from a mental health condition at some point in our lives and it can have a positive or negative effect on our sex-life. While some people lose their mojo in times of stress, others may use sex as a way to destress and feel good. For decades, we’ve known that having sex produces many feel-good hormones that are responsible for improving mood, lowering stress and decreasing anxiety but do you know the science behind them?

Here are 5 scientifically-proven mental health benefits to having sex (not that you need a reason).


Mental Health & Sex Benefit: Increases self-esteem

In a 2014 study published by Social Psychological and Personality Science, researchers examined the effects of casual sex on students emotional wellbeing over a three-to-nine month timeframe. The results found that students who enjoyed casual sex had higher levels of emotional wellbeing and self-esteem when having more of it (although - this only works if casual sex is your thing!).

If your mental health benefits from having casual sex, then remember to always wear a condom to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy. 

Our condom of choice: Passion - for an experience like no other. 

Mental Health & Sex Benefit: Increases emotional bonding with your partner

Want to feel more connected with your partner? Research has found that having sex increases the feel-good chemical, Oxytocin, effectively known as one of the ‘love hormones’. Oxytocin is responsible for improving trust,  increasing eye-gaze with your partner, as well as bonding, warmth and security. In one study that examined sexually active couples, researchers found those who were sexually active for over six months had higher baseline levels of Oxytocin. Therefore, one benefit to having regular sex with your partner could increase connection and closeness.

Our condom of choice: Feel - for an intense closeness that you wouldn't expect from a condom. 

Mental Health & Sex Benefit: Sex and intimacy can reduce stress

Feeling stressed? We might just have the thing to help. Research from a 2003 study examined the relationship between positive social and physical contact with reactivity to stress amongst cohabiting couples. The researchers found those who had close contact with their partner and held their hand for 10 minutes followed by a 20 second hug, displayed lower stress response levels to a stress-inducing task of public speaking. In a further 2006 study, researchers found that those who had penile-vaginal intercourse before taking part in public speaking had lower stress responses to the task at hand. The researchers suggest that the reason why penile-vaginal intercourse reduces stress reactivity is that during orgasm the hormone oxytocin is released. As well as increasing connection with your partner, Oxytocin is also responsible for inhibiting fear responses in the amygdala (a part of the brain responsible for behaviour and emotions).

Our condom of choice: Infinity - to extend pleasure time.

Mental Health & Sex Benefit: Can decrease depression

Another mental health benefit to having regular sex is that it releases three of the main feel-good neurotransmitters (a chemical messenger that carries, boosts and balances signals between neuron cells); Oxytocin, Endorphins and Dopamine. Dopamine is released during sexual arousal and is responsible for seeking out pleasure and rewards as well as motivation. Often, people who feel depressed can lack motivation and find it more difficult to experience pleasure. Research has shown dopamine deficiency can be linked to depressive-like symptoms. and many antidepressants, such as Prozac, target dopamine neurotransmitters (as well as serotonin) to increase the effects. This means that having sex with your partner could increase the feel-good hormone Dopamine which could temporarily help you to feel less depressed. 

Our condom of choice: Intensity - for enhancing pleasure for both parties. 

Mental Health & Sex Benefit: BDSM increases communication and wellbeing 

That’s right, you heard correct. Researchers from Tilburg University in the Netherlands have found those who practice BDSM (bondage, discipline, dominance and submission, sadomasochism) found it easier communicating to their partner about their sexual desires compared to those that don’t. They also found that female participants had more confidence in their relationships, a lower need for approval and had higher levels of psychological well-being.  

Our condom of choice: Taste - for when you want to tease...
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