Modern life brings its share of stress and anxiety. Fortunately, there is a pleasant and natural way to release this tension: intimacy. And we are talking about intimacy in the broad sense: the feeling of love, caresses, hugs, masturbation or sexual intercourse.
Beyond simple personal satisfaction, having sex has been linked to a host of health benefits, including stress reduction. In this article, we will explore in depth why and how (making) love can benefit our emotional and physical well-being.
The link between intimacy and stress
Physical intimacy, whether romantic or sexual activity with a partner, can play a vital role in reducing stress. When we are intimate, our body releases hormones such as oxytocin and endorphin. These chemicals are commonly referred to as "happiness hormones" because they are associated with feelings of well-being, relief and relaxation. Thus, the act of intimacy can act as a powerful natural antidote to accumulated stress.
The power of Oxytocin and the release of Endorphins
One of the key hormones released during intimacy is oxytocin, often dubbed the "attachment hormone." Not only does oxytocin strengthen the emotional bonds between partners, but it also plays a vital role in reducing stress. This hormone has the ability to decrease levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, resulting in an overall feeling of relaxation. And good news, oxytocin is cultivated in all acts of love, even the simplest (hug, caress) and is increased tenfold during intimate relationships.
Endorphins, often referred to as "natural morphine", are also released during intimacy. These neurotransmitters act as natural painkillers, easing pain and inducing feelings of happiness. When stress causes muscle and mental tension, the endorphins released during sexual activity can act as a natural relaxant, relieving built-up stress.
In the HO KALM podcast, Marie De Quidt, sexologist, clinical psychologist and professor of sexology, sheds light on the link between stress and sexuality, and gives her advice for a fulfilling and peaceful intimate life. Learn more.
A virtuous or vicious circle between stress and sexuality
Stress obviously impacts the body. On sexuality, too, the effects of stress are deleterious: hypo or hyperlibido (repressed or unloading), desire and libido disorders, premature ejaculation, performance anxiety, etc.
From the moment we take time for sexuality, we reverse the problem. The act of having sex allows among other things to boost the mental faculties and increase the production of white blood cells. It would also act as an antidepressant thanks to the increased production of hormones such as dopamine or testosterone (including women).
In sum, the benefits of physical intimacy go far beyond personal satisfaction and emotional connection. Sex is a natural and enjoyable way to reduce stress through the release of oxytocin and endorphins. These happiness hormones work in tandem to soothe the body and mind, creating feelings of relaxation and relief. So the next time stress hits you, remember that intimacy alone or with your partner can be beneficial for your emotional well-being.