Sex, just like winning the lottery, all-you-can-eat restaurants, and all night partying is said to be one of the greatest pleasures in life. Did you know that sex is not only pleasurable, but also beneficial to the health?
There is not denying that sex is a big part of people’s lives. Studies say that sex is not only a means for people to get pleasure, but also provides the body’s overall health with many benefits.
What is Sexual Health?
Sexual health is the capability of enjoying and embracing your sexuality throughout your life. Having sexual health does not entirely mean you are free from sexually transmitted diseases. When a person is said to be sexually healthy, he or she:
- Understands that sexuality as well as sex in general is a part of life.
- Understands and respects every person’s sexual rights.
- Has the ability to experience sexual satisfaction, intimacy and pleasure when needed.
- Can communicate about his or her sexual health with sexual partners, healthcare facilities, and other people.
- Makes an effort to prevent unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.
- Seeks medical treatment and care for sexual health related diseases when needed.
One must treat sexual health in a positive as well as respectful way. In order to attain and uphold a person’s sexual health, everyone’s sexual rights should be protected and fulfilled.
Benefits of Sex
Based on studies, sex is said to have many benefits to a person’s health. Some of these benefits are:
- Boosts your immune system. According to an expert in sexual health, Yvonne K. Fulbright, PhD, those who are sexually active experience fewer number of sick days. Those who have sex more often have increased levels of immunity that can protect against viruses, germs and others diseases.
- Lowers your blood pressure. Amai Wellness medical director and CEO, Joseph J. Pinzone, MD suggest that based on research, there is a link between sex and lower levels of blood pressure. Sexual intercourse helped lower the systolic levels in your blood pressure. However, this does not apply to masturbation.
- Increases your physical activity. Sexual intercourse helps you keep active. It can be considered as a form of exercise as it helps burn 5 calories per minute. You get to use different muscles, and it increases your heart rate. Sex is not a replacement for gym sessions; however, it can also help burn extra calories.
- Decreases risk for prostate cancer. Ejaculating at least 21 times in a month decreases your risk of getting prostate cancer based on the Journal of the American Medical Association.
- Increases control over the bladder for women. 33% of women are affected by urinary incontinence. This is the condition where urine leaks due to the lack of bladder control. Sexual intercourse and orgasms help exercise the women’s pelvic muscles. Orgasms, like doing Kegel exercises, can help tone and activate women’s pelvic muscles. Strong pelvic muscles can lessen or prevent the occurrence of urinary incontinence.
Sex also aids in better sleep as well as relieve stress.
Connection Between Mental and Sexual Health
The connection between mental health and sexual health is quite complex. Depending on a person’s situation, both can complement or be against each other. Some people turn their ugly realities into bodily fantasies by relying on sex.
Sadly, undervaluing sexual health not only causes physical problems such as unexpected pregnancies, but also has effects on one’s mental health. The connection between mental health and sexual health is quite complex. Some of the mental health risks involved are:
- Emotional pain. Most casual sex starts with just physical attraction. As a means to satisfy one’s libido, casual sex requires no connection between the partners. There are no feelings involved, which is why some people think it is more practical. However, the lack of connection in a sexual relationship can affect the way a person interacts with other people. It can make them wonder whether any of their relationships with other people are true or not. Casual sex, whether partners like it or not, form some sort of bond. Once this bond ends, emotional pain happens.
- Performance anxiety and guilt. Studies show that hookups usually lead to performance anxiety and the feeling of guilt. Some are pressured to perform better as they change their partners. This often leads to the feeling of discomfort. Some feel guilty because they often have intercourse with people they have met for the first time.
- Depression. Casual sex eventually leads to depression. Those who participated in a cross-sectional study felt self-esteem issues as well as issues with life satisfaction when they engage in casual sex regularly. They also experience depression as well as psychological distress.
People are emotional in nature. Some may seem fine when it comes to casual sex; however, the lack of emotions involved in it can take its toll on a person’s self esteem.
Mental health and sexual health are connected to each other in many ways. One has a big impact on the other. Casual sex may be common for sexually active people; however, it can have a negative impact on your mental health.
Sex may provide several health benefits, but people should be responsible when it comes to their sexual health. Sexual health involves becoming aware of your sexual needs, meeting those needs, and protecting your sexual well being.
Keeping your mental health and sexual health in check helps you achieve overall health. In addition, you can now make more informed choices when it comes to your perspective on sex.
Angela Hall – Angie is a health enthusiast who specialises in spreading STD education across the country. She enjoys what she does and loves to travel to different areas. She loves to write for websites and is a family girl at heart.