Advertisement

Make Love, Calm Down

Got stress? Sex might be just what the doctor ordered.

Do your palms sweat, knees shake and lips quiver at the thought of giving a presentation? 

The key to keeping your jitters at bay may lie between the sheets. According to a study, having sex before a stressful event, such as giving a speech or going on an interview, can greatly reduce anxiety. And the calming effect can last up to a week. Of course, while sex is good for stress, an easier way to ensure a smooth performance is to simply know your stuff. 

Wondering exactly how researchers measured the effect of sex on stress? A small group of people wrote down their daily sexual activities for two weeks. The same group then underwent several stress tests that checked their blood pressure both before and while giving a presentation. Afterward, researchers compared the impact of different sexual activities on blood pressure. In this study, people who had intercourse were less stressed and their blood pressure returned to normal faster than those who engaged in other forms of sexual activity. But those who abstained had the highest blood pressure response to stress. 

How are sex and stress linked? This small study, like several others, points to a hormone called oxytocin as one possibility. Oxytocin seems to play a role when two people bond. It's released when couples have intercourse and it's known to reduce the sweaty, shaky signs of stress. However, to say that the physiology of sex is complicated is a marvelous understatement. Researchers are still trying to identify the various ways that it affects human behavior. 

Of course, no stress reduction strategy is worth pursuing if it puts your health at risk. The RealAge benefits to having an active, fulfilling sex life only apply when it's safe, monogamous sex

Medically reviewed in January 2020. Updated in March 2021. 

More On

One Sure Fire Way to Have Better Sex Tonight

article

One Sure Fire Way to Have Better Sex Tonight
You probably know that menopause can cause sleep problems, and that lack of sleep is associated with other health problems like heart disease, weight ...
6 Expert-Approved Tips for Amazing Sex

slideshow

6 Expert-Approved Tips for Amazing Sex
Spice up your time together with these approaches.
The Hormone That Keeps Men from Cheating

article

The Hormone That Keeps Men from Cheating
Hugs don't just give you a warm-fuzzy feeling. They also may be part of the reason why men stay in monogamous relationships. According to research, th...
How to Feel Irresistibly Sexy by Tonight

article

How to Feel Irresistibly Sexy by Tonight
Everyone has the occasional dry spell. That’s okay. You already have all the tools necessary to exude sexiness. Whether you need a little confidence b...
Literary Libido Boosters

article

Literary Libido Boosters
There’s a reason why the erotic novel 50 Shades of Grey (Vintage) is the number one book on Amazon, and it’s not because it gives women over 40 an ama...