How often are we reminded about the ‘dangers’ of sex? It can start at school when messages about sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) and unplanned pregnancies are emphasised rather than the pleasures that can be experienced during sex. People are often fearful of returning to their usual sex lives after heart attacks or strokes. Many people with very serious or life threatening illnesses have told me their questions about sexual problems were swept aside as their medical needs were seen as more pressing by their specialists.
At the 22nd Congress of the World Association for Sexual Health in Singapore (July 2015) a whole symposium was dedicated to: ‘The Health Benefits of Sexual Expression’.
Dr Woet L. Gianotten of De Trappenberg, Centre for Physical Rehabilitation, Huizen, the Netherlands spoke of our need as health professionals to view the health benefits of sexuality rather than just dealing with the associated diseases and problems.
Dr Gianotten and his team analysed all available journal articles that examined the potential long-term benefits of sexual expression.
These are some of the aspects of sexuality or sexual experience that were found to be beneficial for physical health:
- increased longevity for men who have more frequent intercourse and for women with a greater past enjoyment of sexual intercourse.
- a decrease in cardiovascular ‘events’; an Israeli study found that women with ‘poor sex lives’ were more prone to have heart attacks
- a (5%) decrease in prostate cancer for men who had a history of more frequent ejaculations
- a decrease in vaginal atrophy (‘thinning and drying) for post menopausal women who continue to have intercourse
- a slowing down of cognitive decline
- contact with semen was found to be ‘mood enhancing’
- a study in Japan found that intimate kissing reduced the incidence of allergic skin conditions
- he release of the neurotransmitter ‘Oxytocin’ (during massage, touch, breast stimulation and sex) can increase one’s pain threshold, reduce anxiety levels as well as giving a feeling of closeness and trust with one’s partner.
- the endorphins (opiate related ‘happy hormones’ released during genital stimulation can also increase pain thresholds, hence reducing the experience of pain
- Orgasm has been found to relieve 50% of migraines (I’m already in pain, why not have sex – it may help!!)
- More frequent sex may help menstrual cycles for a particular woman
- more sex in pregnancy can result in a reduced incidence of premature AND delayed deliveries AND a better quality of the post partum relationship of the couple
Dr Gianotten’s conclusion was that ‘sexuality is more healthy than dangerous’!
We need to view sex and sexuality with these positive messages in mind. If you are concerned about your health and your sexual experience and are unsure about the best way to seek help, please feel free to contact me via Email, leave a message for me to return a call to you or by booking in for an appointment.