Valentine’s Day is sure to bring up some fun and sweet gestures of all varieties (#rejectedcandyhearts, anyone?). We know chocolate can be good for you and that writing a sweet note could even help you lower your cholesterol. Also on the list? Sex.
Besides the obvious that people just like gettin’ busy*, we’re in favor of it for a multitude of reasons. Why? Because it’s good for you – good for your brain, body and overall health. Let’s take a look at the biochemical ways sex can have positive effects on a person.
5 Ways Getting Busy Can Help You Get Healthy this Valentine’s Day
1. Strengthen your relationships
During sex (as well as other intimate gestures, such as hugging or holding hands), the hormone oxytocin is created by the hypothalamus, and released by the pituitary glands. Oxytocin, nicknamed as “The Cuddle Hormone,” affects the way we bond and communicate. Studies have shown that in some cases, oxytocin may help to promote fidelity within monogamous human relationships, according to the Journal of Neuroscience.
2. Relieve aches and pains
Both arousal and orgasm trigger that oxytocin we mentioned above. As a result, this rush of oxytocin then initiates an endorphins and corticosteroids rush – both are strong pain killers. According a study published in the Bulletin of Experimental Biology and Medicine, subjects who were given a dose of oxytocin saw their pain thresholds balloon by more than 50% during the course of the experiment.
3. Improve your sleep
Your brain’s release of oxytocin can also improve your shuteye. According to a 2003 study in the journal Regulatory Peptides, oxytocin counters the effects of cortisol, which is the known as the stress hormone, to have a calming effect. As a more tranquil and loving person, who wouldn’t get more sleep?
4. Lose weight
Now that you’ve improved your sleep, the increase in snooze time could mean fewer pounds. Sleep regulates two hunger-related hormones: Ghrelin, a hormone that precedes and predicts mealtimes, induces hunger and is secreted when you’re about to eat. The other hunger-related hormone affected by sleep is leptin, which signals that the body has had enough to eat. If leptin is absent, the result can be uncontrolled and relentless eating. If you can manage your ghrelin and leptin, you can be more in control of how often and how much you eat.
5. Keep your heart healthy
This one is timely, because it is still American Heart Month. Gentlemen, listen up! Studies show have shown that sex reduces the risk of stroke and coronary heart disease in men. According to a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, men who had sex once a month or less were 45 percent more likely to contract a cardiovascular disease than those that had sex more frequently. Suggested evidence says that men with better overall health had higher libidos and therefore more sex overall, which reinforced their healthy cardiovascular systems.
These are just a few benefits we wanted to highlight, but we’re sure you probably have your own list of benefits…leave them in the comments! Happy Valentine’s Day!
*WellnessFX advocates the practice of safe sex to reduce risk of STDs and/or accidental pregnancy.
**Post updated 2/12/15**
The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.