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Why sex is good for you

Ever wonder why sex is good for you? Recent Canadian research reveals one of the missing links between sleeping with a partner and feeling great.

Sex with a partner feels good – and is good for you. Anyone who has, well, been in a relationship and had regular sex can vouch for that. But it’s also backed by science. ‘There is a lot of research showing that in a lot of different countries, actually all over the world, when people have sex more often, they also feel better – they’re happier, they’re more satisfied with their lives,’ researcher Anik Debrot told Love Matters at the 2016 International Association for Relationship Research (IARR) conference.

Sex and affection

So everyone knows regular relationship sex is good for you. But why? Researchers aren’t all together sure. Debrot had a hunch that it might not just be to do with raging lust and ecstatic orgasms, but something sweeter: affection – when you and your partner show you’re fond of each other. Of course a hunch is one thing, and proof is another, so along with a team of colleagues, she set out to investigate the link between more sex, feeling good, and affection.

In the research, she tracked down couples in committed relationships and asked them about two kinds of affection. The first was affectionately touching a partner. The second was anything that a person felt was a sign of affection, and could include both words and actions. Then, in three studies, she looked at how often the participants had sex, how affectionate they were, and what that meant to their happiness.

More satisfying relationship

Affectionate touch is clearly a good thing, the research showed. In two studies, people who had sex more often experienced more positive emotions like joy or contentment and were more satisfied with their lives. In part, this was because they were giving and receiving more physical affection in their relationship.

But we’re not just talking about a short-term, post-sex boost to your mood or outlook. The increase in good feelings after sex builds up over time, leading to more satisfying relationships, the third study found. It used daily diaries to show that when people have sex the boost of positive emotions that follows is brought about by sharing affection with their 

‘Sex is a way to promote the experience of affection with a partner and this is what is driving the positive effect of sex on well-being,’ Debrot says.

Of course, affection is only one of the things that links sex to well-being. Other factors that could play a role include the hormones released when things get physical with a partner. For example, studies have shown that affectionate touch can bring down levels of the stress hormone cortisol and boost oxytocin, which increases intimacy.

Caresses and fondness

What about affectionate touch outside of sex? In another study, Debrot found that physically showing you’re fond of your partner is pretty much always good for you. ‘It’s not only that you feel good in the moment, but that it accumulates to make you feel better over time,’ she explained.

So what’s the take-home message from Debrot’s research? Get affectionate! ‘It can be verbal, but there are also non-verbal ways like caresses, having sex, or even showing concern – or other ways like helping,’ she said. ‘But it’s mostly about transmitting these feelings of fondness for each other.’

 

Questions about sex? Here’s the place to ask them: let’s talk!

 

References: Presentation at the IARR conference 2016: More than Just Sex: Affection Mediates the Association between Sexual Activity and Well-Being, and interview with Anik Debrot.

Tell us what you think

Recent Comments (30)

    1. You are most welcome, Evans!
      You are most welcome, Evans!

  1. Hello is there a problem 2 do
    Hello is there a problem 2 do sex everyday?

    1. There is nothing wrong with
      There is nothing wrong with that Kosgei.

  2. is it bad to be in a
    is it bad to be in a relationship again esp when u av been widowed for almost three years?

    1. There is nothing wrong with
      There is nothing wrong with that Debie.

  3. Good, keep up educating
    Good, keep up educating people.

  4. Shy girlfriend doesnt like…
    Shy girlfriend doesnt like what should I do?

    1. Hi Tommie, what doesn’t your…

      Hi Tommie, what doesn’t your shy girlfriend like? It is normal for one or even both both partners to be shy particularly in the early stages of a relationship. However will time partners become comfortable with each other. It helps to be patient with each other as you grow together in you relationship. All the best. Have a look at the following article for tips that can useful for you and your partner;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/love-relationships/meeting-someone/too-shy-to-date

  5. I have chosen to abstain for…
    I have chosen to abstain for now bcz my relationship failed.

  6. I feel pain in my vagina…
    I feel pain in my vagina every time I have sex. Does this mean I have an infection?

    1. Hey Wamo, pain during or…

      Hey Wamo, pain during or after sex is caused by a number of reasons including the the presence of an infection. Other reasons maybe the position during sex, the penis size or when partners have dry sex. This is when penetration happens before the vagina is well lubricated. Another reason could be past experience, when one has experience pain in the past they are likely to expect pain which makes them no to relax during sex leading to pain. It is important to get to know what could be leading to the pain as a first step toward addressing the pain. Have a look at the following article for tips to address this;-  https://lovemattersafrica.com/making-love/sex-problems-how-to-overcome-them/when-sex-hurts

  7. Some girls are too watery…
    Some girls are too watery you don’t enjoy sex what to do?

  8. When is the right time to…
    When is the right time to have sex with a new guy? We’ve been dating for just 1 month and the guy is already talking about having sex!

    1. Hey, the decision to have…

      Hey, the decision to have sex is your personal decision and you should only have sex if you feel ready. Think about whether you are ready to have sex with him, think about whether he is the right person and whether it is the right time. If for instance you don’t feel it is the right time, let him know how you feel and he does care about you he will wait until you are ready. Check out the following article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/making-love/how-soon-is-too-soon

  9. I had for first and I…
    I had for first and I ejaculate soo fast why?

    1. Hello Kennedy, what you…

      Hello Kennedy, what you experienced is known as Premature Ejaculation, which is caused by a number of reasons including fear, anxiety or even stress. Anxiety that one will not perform can make them ejaculate much earlier or stress. In other cases, particularly in young men it could be the result of sexual inexperience, and as one gets older they also gain more experience in controlling ejaculation. There are a few things you can do to overcome this;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/making-love/sex-problems-how-to-overcome-them/how-to-overcome-premature-ejaculation 

    1. Thank you Suzie , keep…

      Thank you Suzie , keep reading our articles. 

  10. If you are just dating but…
    If you are just dating but not yet married is sex still good for you??? #askingforafriend

    1. Hey Bettie, this is a…

      Hey Bettie, this is a decision that partners should make together. Some may choose to have premarital sex while other may choose not to have premarital sex. Usually the reasons may include personal principle or religious beliefs. One should only have sex when they feel ready to have sex whether this is before or after marriage. 

  11. My husband always wants to…
    My husband always wants to have sex every and most of the times I am tied because of work and other things. What can I do?

  12. I like this love matters.
    I like this love matters.

  13. I agree if there is no sex…
    I agree if there is no sex in a rlationship people will be frustrated to breaking up. If there is no sex they should agree together.

    1. Thank you Oddoh, intimacy in…

      Thank you Oddoh, intimacy in a relationship is important toward making the relationship strong. 

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