Let’s talk about sex. How sex acts as a natural antidepressant for anxiety and depression

Sex may be pervasive in our popular culture, but conversations about it are still associated with stigma and shame in Indian households. As a result, most individuals struggling with sexual health issues or trying to find information about sex often resort to unverified online sources or follow unscientific advice from their friends. To address the widespread misinformation about sex, News18.com is running this weekly sex column titled ‘Let’s Talk Sex’. We hope to spark conversations about sex and address sexual health issues with scientific insight and nuance through this column.

Anxiety and depression are becoming increasingly common, and people are always looking for natural ways to improve their mood. Well, here’s one thing you probably haven’t thought about: sex. Yes, that’s right – sex acts as a natural antidepressant and can help reduce symptoms of both anxiety and depression. Hormones released during sex, especially orgasm, act as natural mood boosters. Your body is filled with dopamine, the “feel-good” hormone, as well as oxytocin, the “love hormone,” both of which act as natural stress relievers.

The link between sex and less stress and anxiety

When you’re intimate with your partner, your brain releases chemicals that act as natural antidepressants and anxiety relievers. These chemicals are dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins (DOSE) which act as natural mood boosters.

• Dopamine, known as the “feel-good” hormone, floods your brain during sexual activity, giving you a feeling of pleasure and enjoyment. It triggers feelings of happiness and satisfaction, boosts your mood and acts as a natural antidepressant.

• Oxytocin, the “love hormone,” is also released, promoting feelings of affection, attachment, and closeness to your partner. This hormone has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.

• Serotonin, the “happiness hormone” and natural mood stabilizer. By balancing your hormones and neurotransmitters, sex can also reduce the stress hormone cortisol, and reduce symptoms of anxiety or depression.

• Endorphins, your body’s natural pain reliever and mood lifter, are also released during sex. Like morphine, endorphins interact with receptors in your brain to reduce pain and promote positive feelings.

In short, sex creates a bunch of chemical reactions in the brain that work together to help boost your mood and mental well-being. Although sex can’t cure anxiety or depression, it can definitely help reduce the symptoms and make you feel good because of this natural antidepressant effect. So, if you’re feeling depressed or anxious, consider spending some quality time between the sheets with your partner.

Regular sex can improve your mood and reduce depression

Regular sexual activity has some surprising mental health benefits. Studies show that sex can act as a natural antidepressant by releasing feel-good hormones that improve your mood and reduce symptoms of depression.

• Improves self-esteem: Having sex regularly makes you feel desired and confident in yourself and your abilities. This increase in self-esteem and confidence can help deal with negative thoughts and the bad mood associated with depression.

• Better sleep: Release of hormones during and after sex, especially oxytocin, promotes relaxation and sleep. Better sleep quality and adequate amounts of sleep are essential for mood regulation and treating depression. Sex can be a natural sleep aid that helps you fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply.

Sex as exercise provides mental and physical health benefits

Sex provides good exercise for your heart and muscles. It can lower your blood pressure and heart rate, improving your heart health and stamina. The physical exertion of sex burns calories, which can help in weight loss and toning.

The intimacy and closeness increased by sex can strengthen your emotional and psychological bond with your partner. Hugging, kissing, and physical touch release oxytocin, which promotes feelings of affection and closeness. Having a strong, intimate connection with your partner can help reduce anxiety, reduce symptoms of depression, and bring more happiness and satisfaction to the relationship. Regular sex, especially with a committed partner, has important benefits for both physical and mental health. It can definitely help as a natural mood booster and stress reliever, as well as strengthen your bond with your partner.

Tips for Using Sex to Improve Your Mood and Mental Health

Here are some tips for enhancing your mental health through intimacy:

• Pay attention to foreplay: Do not rush into intercourse. Engage in prolonged foreplay such as kissing, caressing and oral sex. It helps release oxytocin, the “love hormone,” which reduces stress and increases happiness.

• Try new positions: Experiment with different positions and techniques. Novelty activates the reward center in your brain, filling it with feel-good chemicals like dopamine. This stimulation also serves to distract from worries and negative thoughts.

• Be present: Make eye contact, focus on your senses, and connect emotionally with your partner. Being fully present in that moment has anti-depressant effects. It helps calm your mind and increases feelings of intimacy.

• Cuddling afterward: Cuddling, touching, and pillow talk after sex has long-lasting mood-boosting benefits. Skin-to-skin contact specifically triggers the release of oxytocin, which promotes feelings of calmness and contentment.

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