The Huffington Post By Renee Jacques Posted: 11/05/2013
Clearly, we don’t need to convince you to have sex. It’s hard-wired into our brains to propagate the species. And anyway, it feels pretty awesome. But here’s more good news: Having an orgasm could help improve your health.
One of the main reasons orgasm feels so good is because your brain releases the pleasure hormone oxytocin when you climax. Oxytocin is also called the “love hormone” because of its important role in facilitating social bonding between humans. Most of the following points revolve around the release of oxytocin. Read on to discover eleven ways achieving an orgasm can make your life so much better…
1. Orgasms relieve stress.
In sexologist Beverly Whipple’s book, “The Orgasms Answer Guide,” she cites a study done by Carol Rinkleib Ellison in 2000, in which Ellison interviewed 2,632 women between the ages of 23 and 90 and found that 39 percent of those who masturbate reported that they do it in order to relax. Whipple says this is all because of oxytocin. When someone orgasms, she explains in her book, “the hormone oxytocin is released from nerve cells in the hypothalamus (a region of the brain) into the bloodstream.”
“Orgasm relives tension as oxytocin stimulates feelings of warmth and relaxation,” Ellison herself wrote in an informational report compiled by Planned Parenthood.
Additionally, research gathered in a study by scientists at Groningen University in the Netherlands found that when women experience an orgasm, the amygdala, the part of the brain associated with fear and anxiety, shows little to no activity.
2. An orgasm could make your significant other less likely to cheat.
Researchers in Germany decided to conduct an experiment in 2012 testing the power of oxytocin. They believed that high doses of the “love hormone” would cause men to consider going outside of their relationships, so they gave oxycotin to a group of (heterosexual) men and introduced them to a very attractive woman. The subjects were asked to determine when the attractive woman was at an “ideal distance” or an “uncomfortable distance.”
Those who took oxycotin and were in monogamous relationships ended up distancing themselves about four to six inches farther than those who took oxytocin and were single. The researchers hypothesized that instead of oxytocin causing coupled men to cheat, it instead compelled them to hold on tighter to the bond they have already formed with their girlfriends.
3. The female orgasm could make men focus better.
There is so much power in the orgasm that an organization in San Francisco, called One Taste, is devoted to the practice of “orgasmic meditation,” in which two partners focus on achieving the female orgasm. Recently, actress and former Playmate, Karen Lorre, revealed to HuffPost Live that she has 11 orgasms a day due to One Taste’s new meditation practices. Even men have claimed that they receive health benefits by just pleasuring a woman. In a New York Times article on One Taste, a man confessed that “fixing his attention on a tiny spot of a woman’s body improves his concentration at work.”
4. Orgasms could help with insomnia.
Would you rather take a sleeping pill or have a mind-blowing orgasm to help you catch some Zzs? We think we know the answer. In her book, Whipple cites another study done by Ellison in which she reported that 32 percent of 1,866 U.S. women said they masturbate in order to facilitate falling asleep.
Why? No one knows for sure, though some researchers and sex therapists theorize that the release of other neurochemicals, like endorphins, can have a sedative effect, reported Self.
5. A man’s orgasm could (maybe) make a woman less depressed.
A controversial study of college students in relationships at the State University of New York in Albany showed that women who had sex without condoms had fewer signs of depression than women who used condoms or refrained from sex, even when researchers controlled for relationship status and other personal factors.
What does this mean? Semen, resulting from the male orgasm, could be an effective antidepressant for women. That said, unprotected sex is NOT something we’d recommend — after all, an STD or unplanned pregnancy can surely also contribute to depression, along with other medical and social risks.
The lead psychologist of the study, Gordon Gallup, told New Scientist that he believes the reason semen has the potential to lift a woman’s mood is because of the several mood-altering hormones found in it. Gallup said that most of these hormones were found in the women’s blood shortly after ejaculation.
6. Orgasms help alleviate pain.
“There is some evidence that orgasms can relieve all kinds of pain — including pain from arthritis, pain after surgery and even pain during childbirth,” Lisa Stern, a nurse practitioner who works with Planned Parenthood, told Woman’s Day. That’s thanks to pain-relieving oxytocin and endorphins, reported MSNBC contributor Brian Alexander. Alexander cited research from Beverly Whipple, who found that women’s pain tolerance and pain detection increased by 74.6 percent and 106.7 percent respectively, when those women masturbated to orgasm.
7. They could help men get over their colds faster.
A study at a German university studied 11 men who were asked to masturbate until completion. Blood was drawn continuously throughout the process, and it was discovered that sexual arousal and orgasm increased the number of “killer” cells called leukocytes. This means that when men are sick, an orgasm could initiate components of their immune system that could help them get over that bug sooner.
8. Steady orgasms could help you live longer.
In 1997, a group of researchers in Wales decided to look into the relationship between orgasms and mortality. They studied the sexual frequency of 918 men between the ages of 45 and 59. They evaluated those who died from coronary heart disease and discovered that those who had two or more orgasms a week died at a rate half of those who had orgasms less than once a month. The researchers concluded that “sexual activity seems to have a protective effect on men’s health.”
While women’s orgasms have not been studied as extensively, Howard S. Friedman, PhD, and author of “The Longevity Project: Surprising Discoveries for Health and Long Life,” decided to look into research conducted on couples. He cited a marital satisfaction study conducted by Stanford psychologist Lewis Terman in 1941, looking at the sex lives of 1,500 Californian couples. Terman recorded the frequency of orgasms these women had. Twenty years later, Friedman and his colleagues studied the death certificates of each of the women in Terman’s study. What they discovered was that the women who reported a frequency of orgasm during intercourse tended to live longer than those who reported being less sexually fulfilled.
9. Orgasms will also stimulate your brain.
Orgasms sure get your blood flowing, and that doesn’t exclude blood flow to your brain. In August, Rutgers researchers Barry Komisaruk and Nan Wise, asked female subjects to masturbate while lying in a MRI machine that measured blood flow to the brain. When the females orgasmed, it increased blood flow to all parts of the brain while allowing nutrients and oxygenation to travel to their noggins as well.
10. Orgasms could keep you looking young.
Forget Botox, just have an orgasm. Dr. David Weeks, a British consultant clinical psychologist and former head of old age psychology at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital, spent 10 years quizzing thousands of men and women of differing ages about their sex lives. He discovered that those between the ages of 40 and 50 who reported having sex 50 percent more than other respondents looked younger. While this study does not explicitly state the specifics as to why orgasms could make you look younger, Weeks says this could be because intercourse releases the human growth hormone, which makes skin look more elastic.
11. They just get better as you age.
There’s no reason to stop having sex when you get older. In fact, you are more likely to enjoy it even more as you enter old age. A study in The American Journal of Medicine found that sexual satisfaction in women increases with age. Researchers from the University of California studied 806 women living in a planned community home. The study measured the sexual activity of these women who had a median age of 67 and were all postmenopausal. The findings reported that sexually satisfaction actually increased with age, with approximately half of the women over 80 years old reporting sexual satisfaction almost always or always. So, never stop having orgasms!