Sex And Stress: Sexual Activity Can Be A Stress Buster
There can be a symbiotic relationship between sex and stress and your immune system can be a friend or a foe in this relationship.
The good news about sex and stress and the immune system
When we’re stressed by situations or challenges, our adrenal glands to release cortisol into the blood stream. If we take a close look at cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, we can develop a more comprehensive understanding of the connection between stress and your body's defences.
In the initial stage, cortisol highlights a positive connection between stress and the immune system. A small dose of stress hormone leads to:
· A quick burst of energy,
· Heightened memory,
· Lower sensitivity to pain,
· Maintenance of homeostasis in the body, and
· Increased immunity.
Ideally, this release of a stress hormone might ramp up your sex life with new energy; once the perceived threat subsides, your relaxation response is invoked and your body returns to normal. But in the meantime, your body and mind might be more interested in sexual activity.
The bad news about stress and the immune system
If, however, the stress doesn’t subside, your body is subjected to excessive amounts of cortisol. Chronic stress means your body goes into survival mode, depleting your food and energy stores. These effects can impact your sexual interest and energy in a negative way. Other effects of higher, more prolonged exposure to cortisol include:
· Impaired cognitive function,
· Suppressed thyroid function,
· Blood sugar imbalances,
· Decreased bone density and muscle tone,
· Higher blood pressure,
· Lower inflammatory response,
· Increased fat deposited around the abdomen,
· Greater risk of heart attack and stroke, and/or
· Lowered immune function.
Adverse effects are closely linked to stress and immunity, and that in turn will link to
sex and stress.
In the beginning, damage occurs primarily at the cellular level; it expands to include broader immune function over time. Significantly, there is a strong correlation between your perception of control and the impact of stress on the immune system. For example, if you believe you that a particular stressor is beyond your control, it’s likely to result in global immune suppression. If it’s something you can readily control, the damage may be restricted to the cellular level.
In addition, the elderly and those who are already ill are affected more adversely than younger, healthier people.
Making the best of it
Fortunately, effective stress management and stress relief techniques can reduce the physical effects of stress and may even counteract the effects. That's another place where sex and stress can team up to help you-many would argue a really good orgasm is a really good stress buster, whether you achieve it through intercourse, sex toy play or masturbation. In addition, studies have found that laughter can repair some of the damage by restoring immune function. So use your sex life to relax and have fun. Your immune system will thank you.