When we think of all the healthy things we’re ‘supposed’ to do to keep on top of our physical, mental, and emotional selves, it can be a little overwhelming. Eat more vegetables. Wear sunscreen. Moisturise. Exercise. Floss. Practice gratitude. Don’t text while driving (yep, definitely don’t do that). Sleep more, laugh more, care less… the list is never-ending.
However, the one thing we could be doing more of that is hardly a chore is – in fact – gettin’ on top. Nomimsayin’…?
That’s right, I’m talking about sex. And specifically, orgasms. We’ve always known that a good rustle in the hay or romp between the sheets – with a partner or not – does wonders for mood boosting and de-stressing, but further digging around shows that there is quite possibly a link between orgasms and the management of menopausal symptoms.
With interests piqued, let’s have a deeper look at four very good reasons why the big O is good for your hormonal health.
I’LL HAVE WHAT SHE’S HAVING, THANKS…
So, menopause is the time we’re told where a woman’s sexual appetite dries up alongside her ovaries like tiny little raisins left at the bottom of the packet, right? Wrong. Well, sort of wrong. Sexual appetite is directly linked to hormones oestrogen and testosterone, and a 2009 study by the University of Michigan demonstrated that orgasms actually increase oestrogen levels, which in turn positively affect sexual appetite and a litany of other menopausal symptoms. In other words, the old ‘use it or lose it’ principle is established as fact.
Regular sexual stimulation causes blood to rush into the genital tissue, keeping it supple and refreshed, fights vaginal atrophy, and promotes overall vaginal health. During perimenopause, there is an acceleration of loss of vaginal health and sexual drive. Orgasms curb this. By increasing the oestrogen, even by a little, it counteracts many of the symptoms including sexual desire. For best results, have an orgasm once a week.
Yep, on it. Doctor’s orders.
MORE SEX, LESS STRESS
Oxytocin is the hormone and neurotransmitter otherwise known as the ‘love drug’ – it’s the one that floods our bodies when we hug, breastfeed, eat chocolate and, most importantly, orgasm. It’s associated with empathy and trust, the building blocks of all good relationships. Basically, it makes us really happy. Oxytocin also is directly connected to reducing cortisol levels, the main stress hormone chronically elevated in many women, especially those in the workforce – sound like anyone you know?
In addition to reducing cortisol levels, orgasms are good for your physical heart, as well as your emotional heart. High cortisol levels are related to high blood pressure which can lead to heart attacks; oxytocin release through sexual activity and orgasms can lower blood pressure levels, therefore prevent heart issues. Winning!
To top it all off, oxytocin can work in support of maintaining healthy bone density, which is on a steady decline during perimenopause. An orgasm a day to keep the osteoporosis away sounds a hell of a lot better than an apple…
SEX RELIEVES PAIN
Orgasms offer powerful pain relief. Some studies suggest that a good orgasm can more than double a woman’s tolerance for pain. Plus, it’s an analgesic not an anaesthetic, meaning it suppresses pain without affecting sensitivity to touch — a critical ingredient when sex is on the menu. A climax releases endorphins, those lovely natural pain-relievers that can blunt all kinds of pain from menstrual cramps, arthritis, back pain, and migraines. There’s even evidence that orgasms can stave off hot flashes, if you’re prone to high-frequency heatwaves.
On the downside, pain relief is short-lived – 10 minutes at best. Which is the perfect excuse to lure your mate back for another round.
ORGASMS HELP YOU SLEEP BETTER
For many women in perimenopause, lack of sleep and sex drive is a serious concern. There are two things that your bedroom is designed for: having sex and sleeping. It turns out that these two actions go hand in hand. More sex helps you sleep, and more sleep boosts your sex drive. In addition to increasing trust, attachment and bonding, the post-O hormone oxytocin triggers a cascade of bodily events, including the release of endorphins and the hormone prolactin, which often has a sedative effect. Sex boosts eostrogen levels, enhancing the REM sleep stage and giving you deeper slumber. Therefore, it’s no surprise that most of us have enjoyed a fabulous night of sleep following some really great sex.
So, while the occasional afternoon delight won’t stop Mother Nature’s body clock or be the chalice in the fountain of everlasting youth, it can keep us a little more balanced physically, emotionally, mentally, and hormonally in a completely holistic way.
Best. Hormone. Treatment. Ever.