In honor of World Sexual Health Month, I want to talk to you about pleasure. Pleasure is vital to living a healthy life, but it is often left out of the conversation when discussing sexual health. Usually, the focus is on reproduction, pregnancy prevention, and STI prevention. While those are essential parts of sexual health, there are also many health benefits associated with seeking sexual pleasure that we need to talk about more often.
Our brains' neurochemicals released during sex and orgasm can be a pain reliever, help you sleep better, reduce stress, strengthen your pelvic floor, help regulate your period, and boost your immune system. Seeking pleasure can do all of these fantastic things for your body and more.
So what are some of the health benefits of pleasure?
If you've read any of the women's magazines over the last 30 years or so, you've probably heard that orgasms are incredible for headaches, menstrual cramps, and general aches and pains. That's because the endorphins released during climaxes produce analgesia.
Analgesia suppresses pain without reducing sensitivity to touch. This means your orgasms provide you with temporary pain relief while allowing you to experience pleasure still, unlike its cousin anesthetic, which numbs pain and sensitivity. That analgesic rush through your body post-orgasm is one of the reasons I always suggest having at least one orgasm before anal sex/play.
Sleep is a foundation building block of good health, yet millions of adults suffer from sleep deprivation. Long-term sleep deprivation can affect your mood and increase your risk of developing severe medical issues. A lack of sleep can also affect your sex life. When you aren't getting enough sleep, your body begins to produce more stress hormones, like cortisol. This shift in hormone levels can negatively impact your sex life, causing a decreased sex drive and erectile dysfunction. So, how can pleasure help you get more Zzzzs?
During orgasm, the body releases our feel-good hormone friends dopamine and oxytocin. Both of these hormones promote feelings of peacefulness and give you the warms and fuzzies. Orgasms also relieve physical and emotional tension, which leaves you calm, relaxed, and able to fall asleep quicker.
During any kind of sexual activity, our brains release dopamine. Dopamine is the neurochemical that gives you that warm, fuzzy, euphoric feeling during sex. Hence its nickname, the bliss hormone. Once we reach climax, our brains flood our bodies with oxytocin and endorphins.
Endorphins are the feel-good hormone, while oxytocin makes us want to cuddle up post-coitus. More importantly, oxytocin lowers the level of cortisol (the stress hormone) in our bodies. One orgasm gives you three stress-busting feel-good chemicals. That sounds like an excellent deal to me!
The pelvic floor is the base of the group of muscles that make up your core. Located in the pelvis, these muscles stretch from your pubic bone to your tail-bone like a hammock. A strong pelvic floor can give you stronger orgasms that last longer. It can also improve your bladder function and control and help with erectile dysfunction.
Doing your Kegels regularly can help keep your pelvic floor healthy, but did you know that the same muscles engaged during kegel exercises are engaged during sex? Every time you have sex, your kegel muscles get a mini-workout, especially once you orgasm. The more you work these muscles, the stronger your pelvic floor gets, the more pleasure you will experience.
Masturbation and prostate massage can be sources of great pleasure for folks with penises. These activities can also help with prostatitis (swelling and inflammation of the prostate) and decrease prostate cancer chances. The prostate is the walnut-sized gland just below the bladder in front of the rectum. Its primary function is to produce the base fluid that, along with sperm, becomes semen.
Researchers have found that frequent ejaculation, whether it comes from solo, partnered sex, or nocturnal emissions, could have a protecting effect on the prostate. While they don't quite understand why frequent ejaculation could protect against prostate cancer, one thought is that ejaculation rids the prostate of cancer-causing materials, infection, and matter that can cause inflammation. The stimulation of the prostate via massage can also help reduce inflammation. The inflammation caused by prostatitis can cause pain in your groin and pelvis and make it painful to pee due to swelling. A prostate massage can help reduce swelling and pressure by releasing the fluids produced by the prostate. Regular prostate play can help you get ahead of the game by flushing out these fluids more often.
Check out this Anal Massage Kit if you want to explore your prostate, learn more about, and discover more ways to experience healthy pleasure.
I know this sounds like some kind of crafty magic, but I promise you there's some scientific thought behind the notion that orgasms can help regulate and even shorten your period.
Researchers at Columbia and Stanford found that folks who have periods tend to have regular cycles if they have sex at least once a week. The reason for this could be that the hormones released during climax affect the hormones that help regulate your period. Researchers have found that orgasming during your period can shorten your cycle when it comes to your period's length. The theory is that when your uterus contracts during climax and those contractions help the uterine lining shed faster.
Don't get tooooo excited about this one. While having lots of sex won't protect you from COVID-19 (Darn it!), studies suggest that lower stress levels, better sleep patterns, and physical activity are all benefits that help support a healthy immune system. So, a fuck a day might keep the doctor away.
The bottom line is that orgasms are good for you. Being sensual is good for you. Exploring your body is good for you. Pleasure is good for you!!! It doesn't matter if you experience sexual joy with a partner or during solo sessions. An orgasm is an orgasm. It doesn't matter how you get there. Either way, you go, you get the health benefits alongside the pleasure.