We’re all on a wild ride together. There’s no question about that. Every part of our life, from health, politics, cultural norms, climate, are in a state of crisis.
Depression and anxiety are skyrocketing. I don’t know about you, but it sometimes feels like life is spinning out of control.
When I sit down to write about sex, or speak to a group, or coach a client, this question, “why have sex?”, keeps bubbling up for me.
Even in the best of times, it’s important to answer this question for yourself, but these days of escalating urgency from the micro to the macro, why have sex?, is a question that is worth spending some time on.
Where does sex fit into this chaos and uncertainty?
Let’s look at some of the roles sex plays in our lives and why now more than ever we can turn to sex to help support our health and well-being.
Intimacy is my number one reason for keeping sex alive and fulfilling during stressful times. That applies to partner sex and solo sex. Intimacy with self is a prerequisite for intimacy with another.
Feeling intimate is a basic human need. Sexual intimacy is a uniquely potent experience. It requires us to open our bodies as well as our hearts. Being seen in our desire, and orgasmic energy is extremely intimate. We feel seen, accepted, and wanted. These experiences feed our hearts and souls, and all these feelings help to regulate us emotionally. When we’re being emotionally resourced by expressions of intimacy, we’re better able to meet the world’s demands with balance, calm and clarity.
Similarly, being sexually active and fulfilled impacts our self-esteem. Feeling loved up and satisfied brightens our day and how we relate to work, parenting, and the world. Everyone in our life benefits from our sexual satisfaction!
The Biology of Sex
From hormones to neurotransmitters, sex creates states of relaxation and closeness with a partner that can impact the relationship for days after sexual intimacy.
I was just speaking with a woman who said that the closeness she and her partner feel after sex is one her whys for having sex in the first place. She sees the difference it makes in her partner’s state of happiness and mood. This positively impacts how she views her partner, which in turn enhances his feelings of love and acceptance. And the wheels go around and round.
Orgasms don’t just feel good in the moment, they also help protect us from depression and anxiety. So partnered or solo, it is healthy to include orgasms in your mental fitness routine.
Sex as a Health and Wellness Practice
Those same hormones bolster our immune system, helping us to ward off illness.
Sex reduces stress. Chronic stress is fast becoming an epidemic in our crazy world. The damage of chronic stress touches every part of our human body and brain. Chronic stress can lead to high blood pressure. Sexual intimacy and orgasmic release resets our nervous system and returns us to a much-needed state of peace from which to tackle life again.
Sex is a pain reliever. Stepping out of the contraction of pain and turning our attention to pleasure may be the shift in brain chemistry that changes your experience of pain.
Sex helps us sleep better (although I recommend staying away from late night sex if you want some energy and presence to be part of your experience) having an orgasm at 7pm works just as well in giving you a deep sleep.
It’s an accepted fact that sex reduces heart attacks and strokes.
Having sex is on par with a brisk walk or light exercise, and it’s a lot more fun.
Find Your Whys
All this to say, find your why’s for keeping sex interesting and desirable and remember them!
Sex isn’t just for the stress-free, the turned on, the wild explorers, sex is for every human. Sexuality is an integral part of who we are born to be. Sex is a magical concoction of brain chemistry, hormones, and our nervous system mixed with vulnerability, love and intimacy that can soothe the worried mind.
Use sex as a way to enhance your life emotionally, physically, psychologically and spiritually. Put sex to use in ways that extend and enliven your quality of life.
Getting Back to Sex and Intimacy
Perhaps sex is not fulfilling or even happening right now in your relationship.
If it’s been a while, or you know sex could be better, coaching is a tool that will lead you and your partner back to honest communication and renewed exploration and growth.
Let’s get on the phone for 15 minutes and have a conversation about love, sex and desire in your life.
I work via Zoom with clients from around the world. There is nothing stopping you from getting the highest quality coaching available, from wherever you happen to live.
My female cousin was a primary contributor to my early sex education, when I needed it most. For instance she clarified that I couldn’t get pregnant by dancing with a boy, no matter how close we got. She also confirmed that I wasn’t the only person who touched themselves (down there), and most importantly, she showed me that ‘wellness massagers from Sears were used for things other than sore necks and shoulders. A few years later my boyfriend introduced me to the real deal. A vibrator made specifically for genital arousal. It was a cream colored, hard plastic, shapeless cylinder with a twisting on/off switch at the end.
This week a client told me she was doing a Marie Kondo on her closet. She was getting rid of what no longer gave her joy.
We went on to talk about her sex life with her partner and the nagging resistance she has to being touched.
Somewhere along the line she formed a belief system about touch. She couldn’t identify a particular incident that informed that belief system. There was no trauma or abuse. She just knew that when she was touched (even by her loving partner) her body would recoil and she’d shut down.
There’s no getting away from the fact that couples in long-term relationships impact each other profoundly, in small and large ways. If you’re a couple who live together there are moments throughout each day that bring you together to discuss something, to work on a task, to accomplish an errand, to share a story, or listen to one. Partners flow in and around each other with such symbiosis, that we can sometimes feel like we’re one mechanism with a shared mind.
Even in the midst of this unprecedented time, the holiday season is once again upon us. If you’re fortunate enough to have one or more loved ones around you, you’re probably giving and receiving a gift or two. I’d like to share a few thoughts I have on gifting.