Can sex help anxiety and depression?

This World Mental Health Day, we’ve decided to take a look at one of the burning questions many people have about sex and mental health.

Sex makes us feel good, and anxiety and depression make us feel bad, so in these simple terms, it’s easy to see why people might think that the former could help ease the latter.

In fact, orgasms, similar to exercise, release feel-good hormones called endorphins so they can boost your mood.

On top of that, studies have shown that orgasms can help you get a better night’s sleep and reduce stress. Since many people with anxiety and/or depression report trouble sleeping, this could, erm, come as a welcome relief.

As the experts as sex toy brand Femme Fun previously told us: ‘You may notice you feel like you want to go straight to sleep after a mind-blowing climax, this is due to prolactin, known to induce the sleepy or drowsy feeling that you experience after sex or masturbation.’

They added: ‘You may be familiar with the post-wank high that can sometimes feel like a wave of happiness that comes over you, this is the flood endorphins working their way around your body.’ 

That’s right, you don’t have to get another person involved to feel the soothing benefit of orgasms – masturbation can be a good way to practise self-care.

Mia Sabat, Sex Therapist at Emjoy, said: ‘More and more studies and research are concluding that masturbation and sexual stimulation benefit your overall health: it reduces stress, improves the immune system, helps to exercise the pelvic floor, and helps to improve sleep.

‘Other great reasons are because it is enjoyable, because you want to do it and because you like to discover yourself.’

However it’s important that sex and masturbation don’t become crutches for dealing with negative emotions.

You shouldn’t rely on sex as some sort of magic wand you can wave to get rid of your mental health problems, and you should still seek help if you think you’re experiencing depression and/or anxiety for the first time or your symptoms are getting worse.

There are plenty of ways to find a therapist to suit your needs, and in some cases you may be prescribed medication to help.

While sex shouldn’t be seen as a substitute for professional help, orgasms might be able to give you a boost here and there.

Need support for your mental health?

You can contact mental health charity Mind on 0300 123 3393 or text them on 86463.

Mind can also be reached by email at [email protected]

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