It’s February… and love is in the air.

With new research on sexual wellness making headlines, we thought now is no better time than ever to have a conversation about sex and health.  

Read below for 4 surprising health benefits that can result from getting jiggy with it. 

image by kristen kilpatrick

image by lauren riboldi

Reduces Stress

Sex releases hormones in your brain known as endorphins (the same ones released during exercise). Through this endorphin release, your brain gets the signal to decrease the hormones we often refer to as “stress hormones,” cortisol and epinephrine. When cortisol and epinephrine decrease, your blood pressure, anxiety, pulse, and brain all slow down and start to relax.

image by kristen kilpatrick

Improves Sleep

Another hormone that sex causes your brain to release is called prolactin. This hormone as it relates to sex is only released when one achieves orgasm, and the level actually increases the more orgasms you have. A surge of prolactin to the brain is what causes people to feel oh so sleepy, calm, and relaxed after sexual activity. This in turn may lead to a deeper and better sleep. Good sex and a great night’s sleep? Double the fun!

image by molly culver

Decreases Pain

When endorphins are released during sex, they activate the “reward center” of your brain and stimulate your opiate receptors. These are the same receptors that are stimulated by morphine and pain medication. This literally gives us the scientific definition to the phrase “sex is a drug” – meaning, your experience of pain decreases after orgasm. Next time you have bad cramps or a migraine, you might be able to skip the Advil and take sex instead! 

image by kristen kilpatrick

Improves Immunity 

Trade in your apple a day for some good ol’ fashioned hanky panky a few times a week. In a recent research study, people who had sex 1-2 times a week had an increased level of an immune antigen called IgA in their systems. This immune antibody is the first line of defense in the body for fighting colds and flu, and typically the more IgA in your saliva, the less often you become sick. Bye bye Doc’s office, hello more sexy time.

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