You eat right. You exercise. You meditate. You read interesting books.
But if you’re neglecting your sexuality, you’re not as healthy as you could be. Plus you’re missing out on plenty of fun–and perhaps even a little taste of heaven.
Yes, sex can be good for you–even if it’s alone. Here’s why:
It helps you relax. With sex, important hormones and neurotransmitters rise and fall, especially dopamine and oxytocin. There’s research showing sexual intercourse can lower blood pressure for women. And having an orgasm could even improve your sleep, thanks to the hormone prolactin.
It sparks your libido. Sex is a use-it-or-lose-it proposition. Having sex increases vaginal lubrication, blood flow and the elasticity of your vagina, all of which adds up to craving more of the same. On the other hand, women who don’t have sex can lose their vaginal patency.
It perks up your immune system. Yup. A study from Wilkes University in Pennsylvania said college students who had sex once or twice a week had higher antibodies than their peers. Okay, maybe you’re past your college years, but it’s worth a try, right?
It could improve bladder control. Kegel exercises give your pelvic floor muscles a workout, but so do orgasms. I recommend both.
It’s great exercise. Not only will you burn calories (calculate how many), but sex also raises your heart rate, and it keeps your estrogen and testosterone levels balanced, all of which helps to ward off heart attacks and osteoporosis.
So here’s the question: What if you haven’t had sex for weeks, month or even years? Is it too late to reap the benefits?
No. It’s not too late, even at our age.
Recently I wrote about a patient I’ll call “Sue,” who was in a new relationship after nearly 20 years of celibacy.
“My body had definitely changed since 1997,” wrote Sue. “I would encourage anyone facing any type of sexual challenge… don’t give in to the shame that would try and make you hide from your issue. Sexual intimacy is so precious and valuable to a marriage that it’s worth the discomfort (physical and emotional) it takes to press through.”
If, like Sue, you’re ready to “wake up” sexually, start by finding a supportive, experienced menopause specialist who can help you get on the right path. You’ll find that hormones (systemic or localized), moisturizers, vaginal dilators, and personal vibrators are all helpful on this journey.
To make it easier to get your hands on helpful products to revive your sexuality, we've sought out high-quality, effective products for our shop. It’s a confidential, reliable way for you to experiment (and have fun) while improving your overall health.
What could be better?
Dr. Barb DePree, M.D., has been a gynecologist and women’s health provider for almost 30 years and a menopause care specialist for the past ten. Read more about and from her here.