Connecting Sex and Stress

Too busy to get busy between the sheets? You may want to reconsider your position on that. Sexual intercourse has been shown numerous times to positively impact stress levels. Read on to see what science has to say.

* Happy hormones. Sex releases the hormone oxytocin in your brain. This hormone counteracts the effect of cortisol (which is linked to stress) in your brain. Oxytocin also helps lower blood pressure related to stress so it works double time.

* “Sexercise” away your stress. Sex is considered a form of exercise since it increases your heart rate, uses various muscles, and burns 5 calories for each minute of sexual activity. Numerous studies have shown that exercise of any sort releases endorphins, feel-good neurotransmitters, in your brain, which reduces stress levels. So this is a double whammy, you can cut your stress and increase your health.

* Relaxin’ with prolactin. After an orgasm, your brain releases prolactin, this leads to feelings of sleepiness and relaxation.

* Hump your way to health. Sex has been shown to decrease many health risks such as prostate cancer, breast cancer and heart disease to name a few. It can also decrease depression and pain and increase your immune system. Knowing all of the health benefits, how can you not feel less stressed when doing the deed?

So that settles it, sex is the answer to your stress! But wait, this presents a conundrum as stress can deliver a knock-out punch to your libido. How can you get it on if you can’t get it up? In both men and women, there are incredibly complex hormonal reactions at play in sexual arousal. FSH, LH, testosterone, and estrogen are all hormones that need to be in balance in order for arousal to occur. But when stress is present, the body shifts its focus to producing hormones such as cortisol, which helps the body address the stress. While all of these functions are involuntary, our minds do play a major role so there are deliberate things you can do to increase your libido.

* Try alternate relaxation techniques initially such as meditation, yoga or breathing exercises.

* Take care of yourself by eating properly, getting enough sleep and exercising.

* Certain supplements have been shown to increase libido. Try Vitamins B and E, zinc, arginine and citrulline.

* Talk to your partner about your difficulties. Sometimes just sharing the burden can help alleviate the stress.

* Seek professional help from your physician if needed. Your doctor can work with you on specific techniques to address any physiological causes and may prescribe medication as needed.

Don’t let stress get the best of your sex life, let sex get the best of your stress!

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