No longer the taboo word it once was, sex is a normal and healthy part of our relationships as humans. Similarly, sexual wellness is the blend of our physical state, mental state, and social well-being in connection with our sexuality. Communicating about sex amongst ourselves and with professionals has allowed us to understand what sexual wellness is and how our relationship with ourselves can influence it.
Each of us has different preferences when it comes to sexuality, sexual pleasure, and how often we want to engage in sex. Often times these don’t perfectly align with our partner’s. An example of this is one partner wanting sex more than the other. We all encounter advances when we just aren’t “in the mood”, and they aren’t always easy to explain. We might chalk it up to being tired, but sometimes it’s because of how we feel about ourselves. Do you ever notice that your confidence fluctuates and sometimes you feel sexier than other times?
The Impact of Self-Image
Feeling positive about the way we look or feel can boost our confidence and help us feel more attractive. Often times this will increase our desire to have sex. Look good, feel good, right? This may seem obvious, but it goes deeper than that.
Sex is a lot like working out, and not just because of physical exertion. Both activities release endorphins, hormones released in our brains that reduce pain and boost pleasure. Endorphins also boost energy and imrpove our overall mood. As I am sure many of you can relate, it is not always easy to motivate yourself to work out. Some of us experience an entire mental battle within ourselves to maintain a workout routine, but most people feel better after they do it. That’s because of the endorphins we release during the workout. With sex we might feel the same way. Our partner may begin to initiate intimacy, but we just aren’t in the same headspace. Using self-talk to get started can help, and once our endorphins are released, we find ourselves enjoying it more.
The Impact of Endorphins
While we should always listen to our bodies and never feel coerced into having sex with anyone, even trusted partners, there are benefits to giving ourselves an extra push here and there. We can all agree that neither working out nor having sex are the most appealing activities after a long day, but we might feel a lot better once we start. Not only do these things improve our mood in the moment, they also improve our mental health overall.
There is lots of research showing how working out improves our mental health. This includes sex, which also brings us closer to our partner and creates intimacy within a relationship. Having a stable relationship with positive communication can make a huge difference in how we feel about ourselves. Endorphins make us happier, which leads to feeling better about ourselves, which leads to being more likely to participate in activities that release endorphins. It all comes full circle.
Other Ways to Boost Endorphins
If you find yourself struggling with any of the above factors, consider working through it with one of our providers. If you’re looking for more independent ways to explore, there are plenty of other options to boost endorphins.
Relaxing and focusing our mind triggers the release of endorphins. If you’re not sure where to start, YouTube creators, like Goodful, have created a vast library of guided meditations available at no cost. Meditation is a unique practice as it can be very customized to the individuals needs or preferences.
Hot bath or shower
When our skin feels warm water, endorphins are released. This is why many people find hot baths or showers to be relaxing and soothing, especially before bed.
Go for a walk
Any form of exercise, including walking, releases endorphins. When you add a scenic environment or nature hike to the mix, it only gets better.
Laugh with a friend
Laughter alone release endorphins, so even in a COVID-19 world where we can’t spend time with friends as freely as we used to, turning on a comedy will have similar benefits.
Get some fresh air
Perhaps the easiest activity on this list, simply stepping outside to breathe some fresh air will help release endorphins.
I challenge you to strengthen your relationship, improve your sexual wellness, and help your mental health today. Go get those endorphins going!
Another resource is our self-guided relationships course. To view all of our courses, visit selfhelp.strengthenu.com.