Surprising Benefits of Orgasm

Surprising Benefits of Orgasm

Surprising Benefits of Orgasm

Physical intimacy is a vital part of relationships. When sex falls by the wayside, couples may feel less connected to each other and issues like communication and stress can flare up into conflict.

But while sexual intimacy is important to keep partners bonded and happy, the benefits of sexual pleasure don’t end there. Regular orgasms come with a number of benefits for both mental and physical health.

“Orgasm is the peak of sexual arousal and causes intense feelings of pleasure,” says Monique De Four Jones, MD, the associate chief of labor and delivery at Katz Women’s Hospital at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Hempstead.

Here are five ways that orgasms lead to better health.

Physical intimacy is a vital part of relationships. When sex falls by the wayside, couples may feel less connected to each other and issues like communication and stress can flare up into conflict.

But while sexual intimacy is important to keep partners bonded and happy, the benefits of sexual pleasure don’t end there. Regular orgasms come with a number of benefits for both mental and physical health.

“Orgasm is the peak of sexual arousal and causes intense feelings of pleasure,” says Monique De Four Jones, MD, the associate chief of labor and delivery at Katz Women’s Hospital at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Hempstead.

Here are five ways that orgasms lead to better health.

1. Puts You in a Better Mood
During an orgasm, the body releases dopamine, which is known as the “happy” or “feel-good” hormone. It’s triggered by anything that gives someone pleasure, including orgasm.

“Dopamine acts on areas of the brain to give you feelings of pleasure, satisfaction, and motivation,” says Dr. De Four Jones. “It also activates the rewards pathway in the brain leading to desiring these activities more.”

Dopamine and other mood-boosting hormones released during sex, including serotonin, vasopressin, and oxytocin (the “love” hormone) may also help lower levels of cortisol, the body’s main stress hormone.[1]
While cortisol is important for a lot of bodily functions, too much of it in our bodies over time due to chronic stress can have negative effects, including increased blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, and disrupted sleep.

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2. Improves Your Sleep
Because orgasm can boost mood and help reduce stress, it’s believed to help promote better sleep, De Four Jones says. A small survey published in May 2023 in the journal Sleep found 75 percent of participants reported a better night’s sleep after they had sex or an orgasm close to bedtime.[3]
In another study, 250 participants completed a diary questionnaire for 14 consecutive days about their perceptions of how sex and orgasm impacted their sleep. The results showed that partnered sex with orgasm was associated with significant improvements in sleep latency (the amount of time it takes to fall asleep) and sleep quality.

3. Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor
While research is limited, some studies suggest orgasms may strengthen the pelvic floor, particularly in those who have recently given birth. Pelvic floor strength is important because it can prevent urinary and fecal incontinence and improve sexual function.[5]
One study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine in May 2022 observed 55 women who had given birth to one child and undergone uncomplicated vaginal deliveries. About half were advised to do daily Kegel exercises (a known method to strengthen the pelvic floor) while the other half were instructed to initiate orgasms through self or partnered stimulation along with daily Kegel exercises. Researchers assessed the participants monthly for six months and found that sexual function and the ability to relax the pelvic floor were significantly higher in the orgasm group.[6]
“I’m unsure if there is enough data to strongly support orgasm strengthening the pelvic floor,” De Four Jones says. “But I am sure it does not hurt it.”

4. Boosts Heart Health
The many health benefits of sexual pleasure, including reduced stress and improved sleep, can also contribute to positive effects for the heart, De Four Jones says.

Scientific research backs this up, and some studies suggest orgasm and sexual activity have lasting benefits for heart patients.

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In an observational study published in March 2022 in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, researchers interviewed 495 heart attack survivors age 65 and older about their sexual activity during their recovery. They found that getting back to a normal or increased level of sexual activity during the first six months was associated with a 35 percent lower risk of death over the next two decades.[7]
5. Relieves Pain
The same hormones released during orgasm that play a role in improved mood and sleep may also reduce pain, De Four Jones says.

“It’s believed that the large amounts of endorphins released during an orgasm can impact how the body reacts to pain,” she explains.

While there’s limited research in this area, there’s some scientific evidence to support orgasm as a form of pain relief. In an observational study of 304 people with migraine and 96 people with cluster headaches, 60 percent of migraine sufferers reported pain relief with sexual activity during an attack. Among the individuals with cluster headaches, 37 percent reported improvement.