Sex and Mental Health

August 28, 2020 3 min read

The Condom People - Sex and Mental Health

Sex and Mental Health

Sex plays a significant role in the lives of many people. However, the intimacy and pleasure it brings is often something we take for granted. Whether it’s as part of a committed relationship or on a more casual basis, sex can also impact our lives in many different ways. One that’s often overlooked is its relationship with our wellbeing. With that in mind, we explore how sex and mental health are linked.

Is sex good for mental health?

We know that sex can affect our bodies in many ways, which is why things like condoms are important. Most of us understand the role between our sex lives and our physical wellbeing, but what about our mental health?

There are several ways that sex can positively impact areas of our mental health, and several studies have examined these links. Here are just some of the ways we can benefit from having sex:

  • Relationships. Sex can help you and your partner feel more connected. What’s more, those who fulfil one another’s sexual desires often report increased relationship satisfaction.
  • Stress and anxiety. Having sex releases a wave of hormones and endorphins into the body, which can help you feel less stressed and more relaxed. What’s more, a study published in Biological Psychology showed that sex can prevent increased blood pressure during stressful times.
  • Better sleep. When you have sex, two of the hormones released are oxytocin and prolactin. These two, in particular, can help make you feel content, connected, and relaxed, helping you sleep. And, as we all know, a good night’s sleep is essential for our wellbeing.

All of these factors show how closely sex and mental health are linked. But is it all positive?

Can sex be bad for mental health?

There can be some unhelpful behaviours and feelings linked with sex and mental health, although the extent is not exactly clear.

Some people conflate the amount of sex they’re having with their self-worth, using it as a method of validation. Similarly, others use sex as a means of filling a void in their lives. There are even studies to suggest that a lack of sexis linked with depression.

What’s important is that both partners are sex-positive, being able to openly discuss sex and make informed choices. Whether it’s finding the right type of condom or trying new sex positions, honesty and openness are vital for your physical and mental wellbeing. 

Can mental health impact your sex life?

Sex is very much a matter of mind. Despite being an act most of us associate with physicality, there is a huge mental component to it. As such, conditions such as depression and anxiety can make it difficult for some people to relax enough to enjoy intimacy. Often, this can exacerbate matters.

What’s more, low self-esteem can also make the thought of sex seem unappealing and stressful. For those taking medication for mental health issues, this can also negatively impact things like your sex drive.

Although mental health can impact your sex life, what’s important is feeling better and taking care of your mental wellbeing. Don’t feel forced or pressured into sex, and instead work on feeling comfortable and sexy in your own skin.  

Sex and mental health - final thoughts

Clearly, sex and mental health are closely linked, even if we don’t often give it much thought. In many cases, there are plenty of positive benefits that come from a healthy sex life. However, in some instances, it can be mentally taxing. What’s more, those already suffering with their mental health can find sex a difficult issue.

Ultimately, it’s important that you respect both the physical and mental health of you and your partner. Educating yourself and having conversations about what sex means to you can go a long way in helping.

Article Author: Matt Crabtree

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