Many choose to pursue exercise programs, diets, or medications to improve their quality of life. Interestingly, there may be another approach. Keeping up one’s libido and engaging in the activities it promotes can help the body in a variety of ways. The following health benefits can be achieved through maintaining a functional libido and/or regularly taking part in safe, consensual sex.
Humming with Hormones
One’s libido is closely linked to feelings of self-worth, confidence, and enthusiasm. When someone has a particularly active libido it is almost recognizable from simply looking at them. This sensation may be partly related to the release of dopamine when one feels aroused. This feel-good hormone is part of the brains reward circuit, which causes one to feel successful, satisfied and less stressed. Additionally, this hormone promotes better cognitive function and increased bodily mobility. Arousal cues the brain to prime the reward centers by releasing dopamine. Keeping one’s libido healthy provides more opportunities for the brain to experience these confidence-boosting sensations.
Another helpful hormone closely tied to one’s libido is oxytocin. It is released during sexual activity, particularly during orgasm. Not only does this hormone aid momentary elation, but it also has long lasting benefits such as improved mood, lowered cortisol (the stress hormone), reduced blood pressure, and perhaps its most significant quality, increased sensations of connectivity and closeness to others. Some studies suggest that oxytocin may also help prevent hormone-mediated cancers. Because this beneficial bonding hormone is expelled so strongly during climax, it usually doesn’t require a great deal of motivation for one to pursue increasing their oxytocin levels.
Blood Flow and Better Health
Cardiovascular disease and related illnesses are a major concern in the United States. Although exercise and losing weight are some of the best avenues of preventing heart disease there is another exciting option. Studies have found that men who frequently have sex can experience a reduced risk of cardiovascular related mortality by 50%. For women, it was found that those who partook in more sexual activity, particularly those who experienced more orgasms, exhibited reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and related risk of mortality as well.
Blood flow, particularly relating to erectile dysfunction, can be used as an indicator for overall cardiovascular health. Factors that damage blood vessels within the heart can damage penile blood vessels as well. Increasing blood flow can do more than aid in erectile function. In both men and women, sexual activity and a properly functioning libido increases blood vessel dilation. With increased capacity to carry oxygen and nutrients, blood vessels can transport these elements with greater efficiency. As transport improves, so does organ health and functionality.
An active libido enables one to have sex with greater frequency and increased duration. Increased occurrence of arousal and sexual activity takes a surprising amount of energy. The seemingly simple process of arousal engages several calorie-burning processes. As anticipation grows, heart rate increases, the body gets excited, and things literally start heating up. Although arousal alone can burn a significant number of calories, the real calorie killer is sex itself. With this new knowledge, there may be some room to augment one’s workout routine.
Environmental and psychological stressors can cause hormones to fall out of balance. This can lead to a severely reduced libido, meaning that one isn’t interested in sex and missing out on the many benefits it provides. Additionally, low libido can increase the risk of developing serious conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and depression.
Removing stress inducers from one’s life can significantly aid in restoring libido. Psychological stress due to work, family, or other relationships can lead one to experience anxiety, fatigue, and a reduced libido. Stress may also lead one to gain weight, or have difficulty losing weight. Excess body fat can inhibit libido. Additionally, those who are overweight and/or stressed tend to experience sleep difficulties, causing more stress and further limiting sex drive. Finding an appropriate balance in one’s social life can help keep cortisol levels down and restore healthy bodily function.
Testosterone is a critical hormone regarding both male and female sex drive. A testosterone deficit can leave one feeling lethargic, unmotivated, and uninterested in sex. This hormone facilitates receptivity to sexual stimulation and improves pleasurable sensations. Proper testosterone levels can enable partners to have more satisfying and more easily initiated sex. Tests are available that can confirm testosterone deficiency. Furthermore, if one finds they are deficient, supplements are available that may be able to restore libido and improve experience. For men, an increased libido leads to increased levels of testosterone, which not only improves performance but aids in muscle development and growth.
Leveraging your Libido
Having a heightened libido can make you feel like you’re on top of the world and able to do anything. Conversely, a low or malfunctioning one can cause you to not only feel terrible but also contribute to severe health conditions. Because it comes with so many benefits, such as improved mood, better sexual performance, reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, and even burning calories, maintaining a healthy libido can help you lead a happier, more satisfying life.