Let's Talk about sex Baby!
Uh huh, yes, I did say that.
For so long, sex has been a bit of a taboo subject. However, in my view I think it is an important aspect of our wellbeing. Often, sex is romanticised and overly sexualised by mainstream medias. However, love and connection are some of our basic human needs.
This article will explore this topic in relation to our wellbeing.
So, let’s get into it!
I will start by sharing a little bit about my experience, sex was something we openly talked about in my family. I know for most people they are not that candid with their parents, aunties and uncles, but for me it something I have really come to appreciate that we can talk about it. I mean it’s not always in detail, don’t get me wrong! But no subject was off limits in my family. Still to this day, I still believe my nan only had sex twice with her nightie on! She told me that herself haha.
I have always had a desire for sexual connection and exploration. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that, or exploring your sexuality. I see it an extension of us and space we get to be totally ourselves. Not only that, but we also get to really know ourselves once we get past the awkward fumbling and hangs up about what the other person is thinking. We start feeling and expressing.
One of the questions I began by asking myself about for 4 years ago after I suffered a bereavement was, does sex really help you feel better when you feel like s**t?
Well, technically sex can in fact alleviate low mood and help with depression. It releases chemicals from our brain and give us dose of those feel-good hormones Dopamine, Endorphins and Oxytocin. So, the answer is yes, it can help.
In that same year I reconnected with an ex of mine who wanted to ‘help’ me through it. He thought by trying to seduce me, it would help me forget and ‘feel’ better. Was he right?
He came over for dinner one night and said, ‘come over here, I will make you feel better’. I thought to myself, really?! It was really the farthest thing from my mind. In the years that followed, I had totally lost interest in sex and any type of intimacy after I suffered a second and third bereavement.
Why do we get so embarrassed about sex?
I think this has a lot to do with what we were taught growing up and how our parents approached sex. We inherit so much from these wonderful souls most of which is unconscious behaviour.
We mimic what we see without even knowing it. The world as we know it is rapidly changing, nothing is as it once was. Including how we view sexuality. 20 or 30 years ago being in a same sex relationship was frowned upon, thought of as wrong and shameful. Now we embrace difference and openly challenge prejudice.
It’s no longer thought of as an act only for marriage or between a man and a woman. It's
much more than that.
If your grandma told you, it wasn’t proper to talk about these things, there could be a chance it may be what you believe until this day! Because let face it, Grandma’s know everything :)
What type of things affect our libido?
For me, grief had affected every aspect of my wellbeing. Not only that, but I also started drinking more, eating more and not good stuff! Sleeping was disturbed, I began to have insomnia all these things have has huge part to play in lowering our sex drive.
Physical and Mental illness, prescription medication, alcohol and drugs use, lack of testosterone all these things can affect or libido.
You may not notice it straight away; it can slowly creep up on you so it important to check in with yourself regularly practise self-care. I would also advocate letting your partner know what’s going on for you, don’t try to hide or damn down the emotions you may be feeling and enlist their help. They might benefit after all!
What benefits does sex have on our wellbeing?
I’m sure you might have heard these terms before and it’s important to know how they affect you as we all have access to these hormones and chemicals that get released in the brain.
Dopamine is the reward/motivation chemical it is why we feel enjoyment and pleasure in things, not just sex. It can include things like food, listening to music, taking drugs and gambling.
Think of how you feel when you hear your favourite song, that rush you get that you want to get out your chair and start dancing wherever you are! You start smiling, you may even recall a memory or two of where you were when you last heard it.
Oxytocin is the love/contentment hormone. We produce Oxytocin when we hug, kiss, cuddle or even when we are engaged in sexual activity. It can increase your desire for more these things and really strengthen the bond between you and your partner. This can have a positive impact on your mood and leave you on cloud nine. That after sex glow/bubble we find ourselves in, especially if it was good J
Endorphins are chemicals produces by our nervous system, dubbed ‘the pain killer’ and help us to also deal with stress. ‘They inhibit the transmission of pain signals in the central nervous system by binding to opioid receptors (the body's natural morphine)’ therefore reducing pain and increasing pleasure which help our overall wellbeing. Like dopamine, it is normally released when doing activities like eating, exercise and sex.
Serotonin is the mood stabilizer. It is a key hormone that impact your entire body. It enables your brain cells and nervous system to be able to communicate with each other. It helps with sleeping, eating and digestion and all these things can have a massive impact of our mood.
Depression, Anxiety and high levels of stress can cause your Serotonin level to decrease, therefore people with these illnesses are often prescribed antidepressants to help stabilise their mood and serotonin levels.
If you think you may be suffering from depression or anxiety it is always advisable to speak to your doctor. One thing that had helped me was really looking at what I was eating, reducing alcohol and taking more exercise. In addition to trying more natural remedies like ‘rescue remedy’ and 5HTP. Always consult your doctor before trying and drastic changes in your routine.
Sex is a wonderful stress reliever; helps you relax and great exercise! In my view it is also one of the greatest forms of unfiltered self-expression. You get to be exactly who you are and create an experience you enjoy.
The body and the mind may not always consciously connect when we are in the act, sometimes it is just animal instinct. Other times, it might be love. Either way, do what works for you!
Desire, pleasure, creativity, lust, fun and laughter are bonuses and are equally important to be expressed for our confidence and our self-esteem. Go explore, satisfy your desires be in lust, but always be safe my friends.