Posted on March 07 2021
Mental Health's Affect on Your Sex Life
Not unlike the global economy, sexual appetites took a big hit last year.
Understandably, the media has heavily focused on the ways that COVID-19 has impacted the health of our families and communities over the past year. But even if you’re fortunate enough to have remained healthy and employed in 2020, there are many other ways that isolation and upheaval can negatively impact wellbeing.
The stress and chaos of the past year has taken a vast toll on mental health, and in turn, has caused many to experience a decline in mood and a noticeable loss of libidio. So despite being quarantined at home with lovers and partners, many found that all that extra free time together didn’t lead to the extra sex they had hoped for.
We’re all thankful that we’re on the path towards accessible vaccinations that will hopefully curb the spread of the virus and keep us physically healthy. But in the meantime, reconnecting to your sexual self can go a long way in enhancing your mental health. The catch-22 of course is that a dampened libidio can make it really tough to get into the sexual headspace you need to be in to reap the benefits.
If it’s been awhile since you enjoyed some sexual connection with yourself or a partner(s), you aren’t just missing out on that feeling of post-orgasmic bliss. While sex can be highly pleasurable without one, an orgasm has some physiological benefits that can strengthen your libido and your mental state at the same time:
Natural pleasure chemicals: During orgasm, your brain releases a surge of dopamine and oxytocin. These chemicals produce those feelings of pleasure, desire, motivation and connection that we associate with sex. In addition, a release of endorphins makes us less sensitive to pain which is why certain things that wouldn’t feel great in daily life feel so pleasurable during sex.
Chocolate cake for the brain: You know how listening to your favorite playlist, sipping a glass of wine, or digging into a delicious dessert can make you feel better? Well, the areas of the brain that are activated during sex are the same ones that light up when you’re enjoying other types of rewards. Of course, the effect isn’t permanent but it’s beneficial nonetheless.
Extra blood flow [but not where you think]: While sexual arousal increases blood flow to the genital area, it also diverts blood to the brain. Researchers believe this extra blood flow may help to keep our brains healthy over time, which of course is good for mental health.
The sexual nudge you need
If sexual activity is good for the mind and the body, how do you reap the benefits when it feels impossible to get into the mood? Remember that for so many people, these feelings are normal and in light of COVID-19, all the more common. If the pandemic has left you lacking desire, know that you aren’t alone and that it doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong with you or your relationships.
Sex is not a race to an orgasm and you don’t have to experience one in order to experience pleasure. So instead of focusing on the finish line, try to be kind to yourself and find ways to give your libido a gentle nudge. If you need a some inspiration, here are a few of our favorite ways to enjoy a little sexual self-care.
Guest Blog Post
Contributing Author: @immaculate.confessions