How does sex affect your physical, mental, and emotional health? Sexuality and sex are a part of every human’s life, and whether they like to talk about it or not, they have an essential role to play. When we talk about sex, it is only from the viewpoint of reproduction, childbearing, childbirth, etc. However, the concept goes beyond these essential functions and physiological processes. Sex can be about pleasure and intimacy. It is also about identifying different sexual interests as a crucial part of your life.
Sexual health or sexual drive, also known as libido, is a non-clinical term that means an interest or enthusiasm in performing sexual activity. A viable presence (or absence) of this factor can present the state of your physical and mental health and function remarkably!
There is an imminent idea that women and men are quite different when it comes to temperament and behavioral responses. These differences extend further away from the physical differences which we see familiarly. As a matter of fact, neurobiologists have discovered some remarkable distinctions between female and male brains. This includes function, volume, and structure.
Understanding Sex Hormones and Your Health
Hormones are essential substances that the endocrine glands produce and release into the blood. These substances help control several bodily functions, such as sleep, growth, and appetite. Sex hormones, such as testosterone and estrogen, have a significant position in reproduction and sexual development. Contrastingly, they can influence different parts of the brain and the cellular, epigenetic, and behavioral levels.
Many of us consider hormones as the gender-specific molecules that our teachers talked about in middle and high school classes-the chemical messengers that come up during puberty to normal reproductive development. Their levels transform throughout the life of an individual. Factors that can influence the levels of hormones include:
Types of Sex Hormones in Women
Talking about women, there are three main hormones produced by the ovaries and adrenal glands. These include progesterone, estrogen, and smaller quantities of testosterone. The details of these hormones are as follows:
We all know this hormone because it is probably the most talked about in studies and publications. Although estrogen’s significant production occurs in the ovaries, the adrenal glands and fat cells also form limited amounts in the body. Estrogen plays an essential function in sexual and reproductive development, which initiates when one reaches puberty.
The adrenal glands, ovaries, and placenta produce progesterone at sufficient levels. Progesterone levels increase during the ovulation phase of the menstrual cycle; it spikes during pregnancy.
Progesterone helps with the stabilization of the menstrual cycle and supports the body for pregnancy. If progesterone levels are low due to physiological reasons, it can cause difficulties in conception, irregular periods, and an additional risk of complications during pregnancy.
Testosterone is a vital sex hormone in males being responsible for reproductive functions and health. It affects menstruation, fertility, sexual health, RBC production, and the development of bone and tissue mass in women.
Types of Sex Hormones in Men
The male reproductive system relies on the mechanism of several chemical materials or hormones developed by body glands. These hormones enter the systemic circulation to perform reproductive and sexual functions. Others are tropic hormones because they cause other hormones to be produced.
Contrary to women, men do not go through cyclic hormonal changes throughout the month. Instead, their hormone levels stay constant through reproductive times. Let’s talk about the three hormones which perform essential functions in men.
Formed in the testes, testosterone is present in the body in comparatively smaller concentrations in a mature, healthy male. This hormone is responsible for the production and maintenance of secondary sexual characteristics in males.
For instance, due to testosterone, men have an enhanced muscle structure, thickened larynx, increased body and facial hair, more resonant voice, and genital organ development. It is also responsible for the sexual health and functions with follicle-stimulating hormone to start the production of sperm.
This hormone is present in the testes cells that assess the role and maturation of sperm. If the levels of sperm are high, causing a depletion of nutrients for the developing cells, the release of inhibin occurs. The inhibin goes through the blood circulation, reaching the brain, limiting the gonadotropin-releasing hormone’s stimulation.
Estrogen is a vital sex hormone in females; it is responsible for reproductive functions. It affects energy levels, muscles, breast tissue, sperm, erections, and body fat in men.
Role of Hormones in Sex and Arousal
Progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone all influence sexual health and arousal. If the estrogen level in the body is high, it promotes vaginal lubrication and enhances sexual desire. A sufficient increase in progesterone can, on the other hand, can reduce sexual desire.
There are several explanations present regarding the effect of testosterone levels on female sex drive and arousal. Lower levels of this hormone may result in decreased sexual activity in some women. Nonetheless, even if it is introduced artificially through therapy, testosterone does not affect women’s low sex drive.
According to a systematic research study from 2016, testosterone therapy can improve estrogen effects. But it only works if the physician introduces the hormone on a higher level than average.
How does sex improve your health?
According to different scientific studies and researches, sex can be useful for overall physiological and mental health. Most of them mention it as an effective cardiovascular exercise for younger women and men. Although sex is not a physical activity on its own, it does work as a light exercise.
Some of the significant benefits include:
- Controlled blood pressure
- Breakdown of calories
- Increased heart health
- Muscle control and coordination
- Decreased rate of heart disease, hypertension, and stroke
- Increased libido
People with active sex life tend to exercise more frequently and have a better dietary routine than those who often do not have sex. There are some other health aspects linked with this aspect, which we will now discuss individually.
How does sex affect your physical health?
Having sex regularly has benefits for the following:
Effective Immune System
Sex increases immunity, which is evident from multiple studies and experiments. In an experiment of immunity conducted on people in close relationships, couples who had frequent sex (one to two times a week) had increased immunoglobulin A (IgA) levels. Couples that performed sex less frequently (less than one time weekly) had considerably less IgA.
Immunoglobulin A is a prompt antibody that plays a substantive function in the prevention of illnesses. It is the first defense line against many viral and bacterial infections, including the human papillomavirus (HPV).
During sexual intercourse, your body releases oxytocin, also known as the intimacy or love hormone. Orgasms also release endorphins, and a combination of these biological components can have a sedation effect.
Better sleep can eventually lead to:
- a strengthened immune system
- a well-rested routine
- an additional amount of energy to perform routine tasks
Among women, incontinence of the pelvic floor is common. About 30% of women go through this issue due to inconsistent reasons. A strong structure and physiological function are essential for avoiding this challenge, which a regular sex routine provides.
Having good sex involves working out the muscles of the pelvic floor. When you have an orgasm, it results in those muscles’ contractions, which results in strength and additional support.
Control of Blood Pressure
According to multiple cardiovascular studies, people with a good sex life have lower blood pressure values. One of the significant researches indicated that sexual intercourse specifically decreased hypertension in heart patients.
If you have a good sex life, it will ultimately have a positive outcome on your heart. Although the process increases the heart rate significantly, sex keeps the levels of progesterone and estrogen equal.
Prevention of Prostate Cancer
If your sex life is excellent, you are less likely to suffer from prostate cancer. According to a study, men who frequently ejaculated (approximately 21 times during a month) were not exposed to the toxins produced in prostate cancer.
How does sex affect your mental health?
A consistent sexual routine with a partner or masturbation influences some essential emotional and psychological functions. If you are sexually active, you may feel relaxed, calm, and free from the usual anxiety or stress.
People often think of sex as a physical act, but a lot of it happens from the control of your nervous system. It is necessary to realize that, for all genders, our feelings and emotions play a critical function in getting things going and keeping up the arousal levels.
According to multiple psychological studies, increased sexual activity may relate to:
- improved satisfaction from psychological health
- improved trust levels and overall love in relationships
- enhanced capability to identify, perceive, and express emotions
- less use of your undeveloped psychological defense processes and interconnections
There is an imminent idea that women and men are quite different when it comes to temperament and behavioral responses. These differences extend further away from the physical differences which we see commonly. As a matter of fact, neurobiologists have discovered some remarkable distinctions between female and male brains. This includes function, volume, and structure.
Here is how an improved sexual appetite indicates how mentally stable and sane you can be:
Boost in Confidence Levels
If you have sex regularly, whether alone or with a partner, sex will make you look younger and improve your health. This is mainly because of the estrogen released during sexual activity.
One study reported an association between consistent sexual activity and higher confidence levels in younger people. As a result, people are more comfortable expressing their identity and feelings. Sex helps to make useful connections, which can be helpful for psychological rehabilitation.
As mentioned before, sex may result in making meaningful connections. If you have a partner already, it can help you connect better with them. Oxytocin can develop relationships in unique ways. You will note that having mutual and consistent sexual activities help with bonding and finding happiness in each other.
Support for Cognitive Functions
Having sex provides an improvement in multiple cognitive and motor functions. There is evidence present that increased arousal levels make you smart and help with understanding different concepts.
According to the statistics, just by thinking about previous sexual experience, you can improve your analytical and judgment skills. Another research presented that sexually active people have better memory as compared to conventional people. For instance, if you get involved with popular brain stimulation activities (crosswords or Sudoku) after having sex, the brain regions can engage effectively.
People struggle with mental illnesses and have better physical health; it can decrease their chances of feeling unworthy. Sex can also help with issues such as depression, substance use, and even dementia.
In Conclusion: How Does Sex Affect Your Health.
Sex is an integral element of life, and it can result in overall wellbeing for people of all ages. For couples, orgasms can have an essential role in bonding. As stated, physical and emotional advantages such as the decreased risk of high blood pressure, enhanced self-confidence, and better cognitive functions can be optimum.
Sex cannot be a substitute for physical activity in any form, but having an engagement with another human intimately can lead to stronger connections and interactions. It is an effective method of improving your quality of life.
However, if sex is an essential element of your life, communication is critical to convey feelings and experience satisfaction out of a relationship or need. You can find contentment and happiness when you have sex with your partner only through a mutual psychological condition.
Sex is a fundamental right, and it provides physical and mental benefits. If something can improve your mood, decrease and help with stress levels, and increase energy and metabolic factors, you should perform it regularly. You will see the difference eventually!