4 Ways Sex Boosts Mental Health & Enhances Relationships

2020 has been the easiest year of my adult life…said no one ever. Realistically, I think we can all agree that this year has been filled with countless stressors. We’ve all felt the effects of issues like race relations, economic inequality and vast polarizing political differences (during a tremulous election year!), just to name a few. Oh, and let’s not forget one of the biggest health crises to hit American soil in decades, maybe ever. As everything around you seems to be unstable, it is so easy to let your mental and emotional health to suffer.

So, what can you do? Well, first it’s important to try to identify your stress level and try to pinpoint what specific factors are driving your stress. Never done this type of self-exploration? It’s all good because you have to start somewhere! The good news is that it tends to be far more intuitive for millennials to acknowledge the importance of taking care of themselves mentally and emotionally. People in that age group tend not to buy in to the longstanding stigma surrounding mental health.

As stress builds, you both need to find ways to individually outlet your frustrations, worries and fears. But let’s not forget about the things you can do together. Like having sex! Please don’t roll your eyes. I’m being for real. Sex has many benefits besides feeling really, really, really good. And some of them greatly enhance your relationship beyond the bedroom.

Young couple kissing in bed
@criene via Twenty20

Sex can help you feel even closer to your partner

It’s pretty safe to say that we all want to be in a good relationship. I don’t know a single person who wakes up in the morning like “Bro, I’m in a shitty relationship and I love it!”. If asked, I’m betting that everyone in a healthy relationship will tell you that it has its ups and downs, but the downs are always worth the ups. Experiencing real love and connecting so deeply with someone (pun very intended) can be absolutely mind-blowing.

On the physical side of things, this is because during orgasm, the all powerful hormone, oxytocin is released. Oxytocin, nick-named the “Love Hormone”, has a ton of benefits that last for a long time after sex. For example, it can help to make you feel both physically & emotionally closer to your partner. Additionally, the likelihood of either of you cheating goes way down with this level of intimacy. Remember, any chance to feel closer to your S/O is invaluable!

Young Woman In Bed With Arm over face
@tdyuvbanova via Twenty20

Sex can help you sleep like a boss

There is a bunch of evidence that the release of hormones triggered by either a male or female orgasm, can help your sleep. When you get off, both oxytocin and prolactin are released and combine to created a zen-like state. Who needs yoga anyway? You’ve probably noticed that after sex you feel more relaxed, calm and likely even tired. Speaking of being tired, anyone else need a nap?

Happy Young Woman Jumping For Joy
@kim.schaffer via Twenty20

Sex can help you just feel better about yourself

If you’re looking for a legit self-esteem booster, sex can help. Through various studies, many have come to believe that your self-esteem greatly benefits from having consistent sex. Now, that’s not to say that we have a quantity over quality situation. Rather the key is to find the balance between self-esteem and how often you have sex that works for your relationship.

If you and your partner are having sex at a lower than usual frequency, please hear me when I say that it’s totally common. There’s nothing wrong with it as long as both partners are being satisfied consistently enough to enhance, not hurt either of you personally. All aspects of sex, including frequency varies from person to person and couple to couple. So the important thing is to do what works for you and your partner. Just make sure you make it a priority to connect intimately at least from time to time. Because having no sex at all, and for long periods of time, can literally make you feel like crap about yourself.

Young Man Dealing With Depression
@Boris79 via Twenty20

Sex can reduce anxiety & depression

Depression is real and it blows.  Everyone experiences it a little differently, but in general, it makes you feel and think a bunch of shitty things. All the while, the rest of your life keeps moving along without you. Depression also has a tendency to reduce your sex drive (Wah wah waaahh). This is super unfortunate because having sex can actually help in the fight against depression. 

The truth is that both anxiety and depression tend to come and go for certain people, and any number list of triggers could be to blame. If you have ever personally suffered from depression, then you may already know what it feels like to lose part or all of your desire for sex. I’m gonna be honest, losing that part of your relationship really sucks for both of you and getting it back can be difficult AF.

No matter what’s going on in that head of yours, make sure to communicate about it with your partner. I know, I know, WAY easier said than done. Discussing feelings about sex when you’re on the verge or in the middle of depression can be difficult or uncomfortable, to say the least. But remember that you are not alone, and letting the other person in your relationship know what’s up can only help reduce sexual tension and keep it from boiling over into an unnecessary fight.

Jefferson Shillingford
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