Integrative Nutrition Blog

7 Health Benefits of Sex and Intimacy

April 27, 2015

You know about the importance of eating healthily and exercising – but what about the health benefits of sex?

Integrative Nutrition founder Joshua Rosenthal pioneered the concept of primary food, which includes all the things in your life that feed you that don’t come on your plate – nurturing relationships, exercise, spirituality, and a satisfying career. No matter how many vegetables you eat and how much water you drink, if primary food is out of balance, you will not feel healthy and satisfied.

“We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. 12 hugs a day for growth.”  Virginia Satir

Emotional imbalance and lack of intimacy impact our health on a much deeper level than we realize. Physical touch is needed for whole health. For example, if someone who struggles with overeating comes home after work tired, alone and stressed, what are they likely to do? Binge. 

But if they come home to a warm, loving partner who hugs them, appreciates them, and desires them, they’re much less likely to binge. From hugs and kisses to sex, intimacy of all types is key to physical health. 

Sex is taboo in most cultures, but the truth is that it’s a lovely source of health, happiness, and vitality. Besides, none of us would be here without it. Let’s talk a little bit about the benefits of intimacy:

  1. Deeper connection with your partner: Frequent affection improves your connection with your partner and makes you feel fulfilled. When you’re intimate, chemicals like oxytocin are released that make you feel closer to your significant other.
  2. Boosts mood and sense of well-being: Sex is a form of exercise, and causes the body to release feel-good hormones such as serotonin, making you feel happy and energetic.
  3. Reduces stress: Any form of physical activity, sex included, reduces stress by burning through the stress hormone cortisol, which causes unwanted belly fat and anxiety. Physical intimacy gets your heart rate up and utilizes all the large muscle groups.
  4. Improves immunity: Sex flushes the lymphatic system and in turn strengthens the immune system. When you engage in this type of physical activity and release, circulation is improved and the lymph system is drained. This means less bloating, reduced brain fog, and a resilient immune system.
  5. Reduces overeating and/or under-eating: A loving partnership can reduce the need to overeat, or the tendency to undereat – whichever way you lean when you’re not taking care of yourself. Nourishment through love and intimacy balances the body so that you crave the food and drink your body physically needs – not more or less.
  6. Encourages growth of brain cells: Studies have shown that sex leads to growth of new brain cells, improving your confidence and ability to voice your needs, from the bedroom to the boardroom.
  7. Improves sleep: Sex – especially climax – has a big impact on the nervous system, calming it and re-centering it. This means your mental chatter and physical tension will dissipate so that you can sleep deeply.

So, how are you doing in the area of relationships and intimacy? Could you use some more affection in your life? How would it impact your health and change your life? What would happen if things stayed the same as they are now in this area?

Join the conversation below – we can’t wait to hear from you. 

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