Let's Talk About Sex
Mental Health Awareness,  Research,  Sexuality

Let’s Talk About Sex!

“Bro – they need to get laid!”

This offensive, rude, unnecessary but also helpful comment puts the benefits of sex into perspective. We often skirt around the importance of sex in relationships, its impact on our mental health and physical health. But it’s time we stop – get back to basics and understand that sex has tremendous mental health benefits. Apart from the endorphins released and calories burnt, sex helps with a lot of other psychological concerns.

I’m going to take you through with the aid of research backed benefits.

Let’s begin with the climax, the orgasm – they say it makes you smarter! Research suggests that the sexual climax, in females, activates every part of the brain, the increase blood flow sends a surge of nutrients and oxygen to the brain cells. The brain stimulation received because of sex has higher efficacy when compared to brain stimulating activities like Sudoku, crosswords, or playing games. Research suggests that these games have marginal efficacy, and each engage only a handful of brain regions at best.

 But brain stimulation is only beginning – it also helps with better sleep!

 Prolactin, a hormone released after an orgasm, leads to drowsiness and a feeling of relaxation. This improves the overall quality of sleep and sleep is one of the basic pillars of good mental health. It is important to note that research suggests that the magnitude of prolactin increase following intercourse is 400% greater than that following masturbation.

 Along with the hormone prolactin, there are other chemicals that are released such as dopamine, oxytocin and endorphins. These chemicals are known to boost one’s mood, increase compassion, reduce feelings of anxiousness and sadness. In addition, cortisol, the primary stress hormone, is lowered with sex. The change in chemical balance aids, at a biological level, with clarity of thought. This then has a trickle-down effect with better making decision making ability and rational thinking. It aids in putting a stop with the negative spiral.

If in a relationship, sex is known to increase the intimacy between partners – this includes physical, emotional and verbal intimacy. All of which creates a sense of closeness and companionship – it often helps reduce the feelings of loneliness. In fact, research suggests that couples that engage in BDSM are better communicators than couples who don’t. This is a reflection of a high level of trust that partners need to have for each other when engaging in BDSM.

Sex is a mindful act!

Sex, can serve as the most effective disengaging strategy, to truly enjoy sex is to be 100% mindful in the process. It stimulates all 5 senses, thus it enables you to disengage from the outside world for a while. This form of disengagement with all its added benefits allows us to return to the situation with fresh eyes.

 Disclaimer: While sex has tremendous physical and psychological benefits it is an extremely intimate act, thus take your time and find a partner that you are comfortable with before reaping all these benefits!

Priyanka Varma
Priyanka believes emotional and mental health care are at the very core of us experiencing happiness in our life. Her qualifications include a Masters in Clinical Psychology and in Counselling and Psychotherapy. Priyanka enjoys working with young adults and understanding life as it changes with intrusions like the internet and the pandemic. Above everything else her true love is homemade chocolate cake.

Priyanka Varma, Psychologist

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