“Do you know what the human body goes through when you have sex? Pupils dilate, arteries constrict, core temperature rises, heart races, blood pressure skyrockets, respiration becomes rapid and shallow, the brain fires bursts of electrical impulses from nowhere to nowhere, secretions spit out of every gland, and the muscles tense and spasm like you’re lifting three times your body weight. It’s violent. It’s ugly. And it’s messy. And if God hadn’t made it unbelievably fun, the human race would have died out eons ago.” -Dr. Allison Cameron, House M.D.
While sex isn’t a truly important necessity of living a good lifestyle, it has tons of great benefits that a lot of people aren’t aware of. But to know why sex is good for you, it’s nice to know how sex works.
Hopefully, you took sex education in school so you’re probably knowledgeable about who does what and what goes where. But what you’re thinking during sex and what your brain is actually doing are two entirely different things. In order to achieve an orgasm, both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems need to be stimulated, which is difficult considering the two act against each other, like a teeter-totter. When one is active, the other is at rest.
The sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous system are the two “actors” in your head. They control the response to stimuli and physical reactions of your body. The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for the “rest and digest” response. Your body spends most of the time in this phase. The PNS also activates various glands to secrete hormones that trigger sexual desire and arousal.
The sympathetic nervous system is the most underlying layer of your nervous system. It controls and regulates organ function, so it’s usually never noticed. During an orgasm is one of the few times you are consciously aware of your SNS and PNS at the same time.
It’s easy way to remember it is this: PNS = Point, SNS = Shoot.
Not only does sex feel good, but it has lots of other great health benefits
- Men who have sex regularly (2-3 times a week) can cut the risk of heart attack in half.
- Sex releases endorphins that also relieve pain, including headaches and (if your partner is bold) menstrual cramps.
- The hormones released after sex can also help relax the body and relieve stress, leading to a better night’s sleep.
- The increased blood flow and the release of the hormone Dehydroepiandrosterone helps repair tissues and can even give you younger looking skin.
- The increased levels of serotonin during sex also lead to increased levels of happiness. A relationship shown to have regular sex sessions was equal to the same levels of happiness of earning an extra $100,000.
- For pregnant women who are looking to induce labor, semen contains prostaglandin which ripens the cervix and helps induce labor.
- Not only does sex boost the intimacy between you are your partner, but it also raises self-esteem. 16% of women have sex because it makes them feel good about themselves.
What happens behind closed doors can make a big difference about having a healthy lifestyle. But always practice safe sex unless you’re looking to expand your family. Although birth control pills can prevent pregnancy, it doesn’t protect against STI’s like condoms do. So unless you know your partner is clean, better to be safe than sorry.