It’s Stress Awareness Month, and one of the most enjoyable, natural ways to reduce stress is with sex. So we’ve pulled up some expert opinions on the subject to help us develop some guidelines on how to access the stress-relieving properties of sexual activity.
But we’re also aware that when you’re stressed out, you may not be particularly in the mood for partner sex or self-love. And stress itself can cause or worsen problems like erectile dysfunction and low libido. So fear not: if you don’t have a partner right now, if you don’t really get on with masturbation, or if you have sexual issues that are limiting your sex life, we’ve got some options for you too.
How to reduce stress with oxytocin
When you have sex with a partner, your body releases oxytocin, a hormone that ‘promotes relaxation and a sense of trust and connection’, according to sex therapist Vanessa Marin. Oxytocin also reduces cortisol, the main stress hormone in the body. The type of sex you have doesn’t really matter (eg it doesn’t have to be penis-in-vagina) and you don’t need to have an orgasm to reap this benefit either – it’s really all about the physical closeness and shared pleasure. This is great for people who have problems with erectile dysfunction, anorgasmia or find penetrative sex painful – and we recommend our PULSE DUO for a close sexual experience for couples that doesn’t require penetration or erection.
However, if you don’t have a sexual partner right now, you can get a similar oxytocin release from a long, platonic hug – apparently 20 seconds of close hugging will stimulate oxytocin in the body. And some studies suggest stroking a pet can also have this effect.
How to reduce stress with orgasms
One scientific study has shown that during orgasm, the parts of the brain responsible for fear and anxiety shut down. In fact, scientists from the study theorised that letting go of fear and anxiety may be necessary for orgasm to happen (which would explain why it’s more difficult to reach when under stress).
Oxytocin and other feel-good chemicals are also released during orgasm. A study of male orgasm showed that men’s brains release ‘a cocktail of brain chemicals, including norepinephrine, serotonin, oxytocin, vasopressin, nitric oxide (NO), and the hormone prolactin’ during ejaculation. Some of these hormones are associated with feeling sleepy and relaxed, others with stress-relief and bonding with a partner.
For couples, we recommend trying our ATOM PLUS, which provides firmer, longer-lasting erections and intense clitoral stimulation and is leading to some mind-blowing orgasms (even some simultaneous ones) among couples who reviewed.
But if you’re not physically fit or mobile enough for that level of energetic shagging, or if you don’t have a partner to do this ‘workout’ with, you could also consider just having a lot of orgasms. The heart rate during orgasm is approximately the same as when you’re climbing a flight of stairs. The average male orgasm apparently lasts 10-30 seconds, while the average female orgasm lasts 13-51 seconds. Which means a male needs about 15 orgasms to hit that stress reduction target, and a female, just 10.
We’re not sure whether these would all have to occur within the same day, to be honest, or whether you could spread them out over a week. And while our PULSE has been described as a product that could get an orgasm out of a stone, we’re not sure it can reliably do it 15 times in a row. Why not give it a go, though? Everyone needs a project.
Alternatively (and perhaps more realistically) you could try rewarding yourself for five minutes of aerobic exercise with a nice wank afterwards…
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