We often think of essential things we need to live such as food, shelter, and water, however physical intimacy is such an important aspect of our overall well-being. Many people would say intimacy is one of the most important aspects of a relationship. Intimacy is a natural part of life that has many physical and mental health benefits. Regular intimacy can reduce stress, enhance bonding, boost your mood, increase self-esteem, among other things. Here are some ways that intimacy can improve your mental health:
- Reduces Stress Physical intimacy can help lower cortisol, which is a stress hormone. Thus, intimacy can help decrease levels of stress in your body. Your body also releases oxytocin when you’re physically intimate, which counteracts levels of cortisol, helping you to feel less stressed.
- Boosts Self-Esteem Being intimate can boost your self-esteem and create a healthier body image. Intimate relationships help us feel needed and desired which makes us feel better about ourselves. Studies show that even masturbation is a great way to improve your self-esteem and body confidence.
- Enhances Intimacy Being intimate with a partner can help improve intimacy both physically and emotionally, creating a stronger bond between you. During physical intimacy your body releases oxytocin which promotes bonding between people. We all need a sense of belonging and to feel loved in our lives. This helps us feel connected, boosts are self-worth, and makes us feel happier and needed. Being intimate with a regular partner is a great way to achieve this.
- Makes You Happier When you engage in intimacy, your body releases endorphins which make you feel happy and improve your mood. Endorphins work similar to opioids which reduce pain and give a euphoric feeling. Studies show that having sex once a week can greatly improve your overall happiness and satisfaction.
- Better Sleep During physical intimacy, your body releases oxytocin and prolactin which can help you fall asleep. Feeling well-rested can help improve your mood, promote a healthier immune system, and give you more energy throughout your day. A lack of sleep has been linked to numerous mental health issues, so getting healthy, adequate sleep is essential for good mental health.
- Ease symptoms of Anxiety and Depression Those feel-good hormones that are released during physical intimacy can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Dopamine, endorphins, and oxytocin are all hormones that are released during physical intimacy that can improve your mood, reduce stress, and leave you feeling at peace and more satisfied.
- Exercise Your physical and mental health are directly connected. When your body feels good, your mind will feel good too. Physical intimacy can be a form of exercise that can improve both your physical and mental well-being. When we exercise our body releases endorphins which make us happier and it also decreases stress hormones. Regular sex can be a great way to get more physical activity in your daily life.
Physical intimacy (such as sex) can be a great way to boost your mood and improve your mental health. However, if you are having mental health concerns it could be beneficial to reach out to a professional. MyTherapist is an online counseling service that can match you with a licensed therapist to best suit your needs. They can provide guidance and strategies to support your mental health.