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Is Sex Healthy?

Experts in sexology say sex is healthy, but is it that really true? And what if you do not have regular sex? Fear not, there are no rules for what a good and healthy sex life looks like. 

During my time as a surgeon and practicing gynecologist, I have also spent time in the area of sexual medicine. Recent and ongoing research shows that sex is healthy for body, soul and relationship.

Physical contact with other people in general can have beneficial effects on your health, both physically and mentally. It makes good sense, because if you are sad or stressed, a hug from someone you care about can give peace and security. For some, eating or sleeping can feel almost as important.

We think about a satisfying sexual life as a health supporting factor. It is important to remember that we hear talk about sexuality in the broadest sense. That is because sexual health can not be measured in frequency of erections, orgasms and intercourse. A valuable sexual experience can easily also be linked to touch, embrace, tenderness or just closeness with another human being.

The most important thing is that you are happy with your own sexual life, because, as with other aspects of life, it makes us happy if we get our needs, longings and dreams fulfilled.

If sexuality lives up to one’s wishes and needs, a number of beneficial effects happen in the body, our soul and relationship. Physical contact and sexual activity can release substances important for heart rate, blood pressure, security and general well-being. Research in this particular area is ongoing and there is no definitive conclusion as to all the positive effects sex can have on health.

People with certain medical conditions for example, diabetes, can often experience sexual difficulties. If their sexuality is approached constructively, they may experience better glucose tolerance. By simply gaining more courage in life, many become better at coping with their illness. 

Healthy sex can not be put on formula.

We are all different and there is no recipe for what a good sex life has to look like.  It is about the individual’s needs and desires being met. You cannot say that if you have sex twice a week, then your sex life is healthy. However, if you generally get your needs met, not only about sex, but also about sexual activity in general, sensual impressions and all the needs we humans can have in relation to contact with other people, then most will experience positive effects. These include self-confidence, better well-being and zest for life. For many, it will give a greater sense of meaning in life, less stress and anxiety, and make you better at facing challenges.

Is it unhealthy not to have sex for a period of time?

Going without having sex is not in itself unhealthy. Also, there are big differences how we experience what a long time is. Where for some it might be a week, for others it could be a year or more. Next, there is the factor of the most important thing about sexual health, meaning – are the individual’s sexual needs being met? 

Sexuality is a complex and refined human mechanism that is not just about our hardware, but also about software that is both psychological and social. No one dies from not having sex.  Many people choose for various reasons not to have sex or do not have the opportunity for a very long time, may be a lifetime. In addition, there are also asexual people who absolutely do not feel like having sex. 

What research says is that if you experience that your wishes or needs for sexual, sensual and intimate relationships are ignored for a long time, it could sooner or later negatively affect your well-being and therefore also lead to unhealthiness. The body often responds to dissatisfaction and frustration with tension, pain and stress.

Love and sex during times of Covid has had its own challenges for so many people.  With vaccines on the way, lets all look forward to better times. In the meantime, stay safe.

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