Can sex really be good for your mental health?

Content warning: this article discusses self-harm and mental health difficulties

Sex and well-being are subjects we have written about several times at FrolicMe. We are passionate about promoting the benefits associated with sexual pleasure, from the lift to our general mood and spirit to the endorphins released. We particularly love the uptick in libido and the sense of relaxation and satisfaction that comes with, well… coming! But sex and mental health? Can orgasms really help boost our minds wellness?

From my own personal perspective, I can honestly say that orgasms literally save me from myself sometimes. Coming from someone who has struggled with my mental health in various ways throughout the years, from ferocious highs and lows, dark moods even self-harm. My mind is a constant battleground of destructive thoughts and feelings of worthlessness.

There is one area of my life where I feel I get a little respite from this constant bombardment, which is during orgasm. It is the one space where my mind has to completely surrender to my body and allow the physical space to merge with the spiritual mind. I absolutely love it.

I also seek orgasms purely for pleasure’s sake, but knowing that this escapism is an added positive side effect is something I’m not going to dismiss.

There is the afterglow of satisfaction and tranquillity as well as the instantaneous moment of zen and peace. When the endorphins and hormones flood through the bloodstream from the hypothalamus, cascading out to every cell, for that moment, it completely overtakes you. It’s a dream of a system when you really think about it. To bask in the joy of this moment is incredible.

So what about if you’re feeling so low that you don’t even have that flicker of arousal? How can you ignite a spark that simply does not exist? It might seem very counter-intuitive to almost have to force yourself to masturbate. Still, in a recent chat I had with Franki Cookney on her Bad Sex podcast, we likened it to going to the gym. You know it’s a battle to get your kit together, you know it’s a hassle to drag your ass from the house when it’s cold outside, you know you will basically tolerate it until it ends… but deep down, you also know that once it’s over, you will feel brilliant. And if not quite brilliant, you will at least feel like you’ve achieved something. It’s exactly the same with me and my orgasms.

When you’re down, tired, or feel disgusting or remote from yourself, sexually touching your body can feel like the very last thing that you want to do. In fact, it might not even cross your mind at all.

I am in a hugely privileged position to work within the pleasure industry, where I have instant access and constant reminders of the sensual and erotic world. I realise it is easier for me to tap into these things, but I urge you to start paying attention to when you might feel your mood dip.

Instead of reaching for your usual comforts like chocolate or wine, why not try an erotic story, or if you can’t be bothered to read, audiobooks are wonderful to lie back and indulge in. Breathe deep and let the voice carry sexy stories right into your ear while you drift into a sexier space where you might feel the flicker of arousal start to glow.

It’s taking those moments, recognising that flicker of arousal, and capturing the feeling, getting familiar with the signals you might usually miss. And when you begin to listen to your body and a tiny spark makes you wonder… pop on an erotic movie, one you know has aroused you before. Then, fast forward to the bit that gets you going… see if you can fan the tiny embers.

My mental health has made me feel unworthy of many things, but I’ve always felt I deserve orgasms and sex. It is a gift to yourself—imagine being able to conjure such magic in your own body. It’s like physical therapy to ease your mind.

Yes, this particular account is anecdotal and purely from my own experience, but in this recent study published in the National Library of Medicine, of the effects of sex and mental health during covid. It was found that those who were sexually active had significantly lower instances of anxiety and depression.

And there have been studies on brain activity during orgasm, which shows several exciting things. The reasoning and judgement part of the brain called the lateral orbitofrontal cortex, essentially deactivates when you come. This goes some way to explain why our inhibitions are reduced and our bravado increases—allowing us to let go and fall into the moment. Having this part less active is connected with decreased fear and anxiety. I undoubtedly experience this: my thoughts don’t fully form, my inner ‘chatter’ is silenced, and I feel completely free.

Science doesn’t lie people! The release of oxytocin and endorphins during sex, particularly orgasm, boosts your mood and health. And the more you come, the more you want to come—libido breeds libido! So if you have a partner, that will be fantastic for intimacy, too—another mood enhancer. Hormones released during orgasm have scientific evidence to back up their powerful response. They are even known to disrupt pain signals and alleviate discomfort. They have long been known to, if not cure, at least ease headaches.

All in all, I definitely recommend giving masturbation and solo sex for mental health a go. I used to host an annual 30 days of orgasms every April—I really ought to start that backup.

Yes, I do understand, the thought of seducing yourself when you are just feeling low is hard, but it is really worth at least bearing in mind. Plant that seed, and maybe one day when you’re lying in your bed, feeling despondent, you might remember this article and allow your fingers to creep down between your legs and take comfort in holding yourself. Who knows where it might lead?

As it turns out, I got a diagnosis of ADHD, which explains many of my mental health challenges. Knowing this has helped me to feel much better about my moods and behaviours, and knowing where they stem from makes all the difference.

So, do I still prescribe myself and administer orgasm therapy?

Why, hell yeah!

It costs a lot less than a gym membership… ok, ok. Disclaimer, orgasm is not a replacement for regular exercise! But imagine if you do both, there will be no stopping you!

Seriously, the evidence really does back up the fact that you have the power to lift your own mood. It’s almost as if you were wearing the Ruby Slippers all along. Sex is crucial to mental health, body wellness and happiness. 

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