You may think mental health refers to, well, your mind and how it regulates your emotions. However, mental illness can actually affect the whole body. Therefore, keeping up on your mental well-being plays a crucial role in a vibrant and satisfying sex life.
Learning how to manage or eliminate real issues such as depression or anxiety can be the assist many people need to keep their sex life healthy, exciting and fulfilling.
Numbers don’t lie
About one in five American adults lives with some type of mental illness, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. There are differences between the sexes: The prevalence of any mental illness was higher among women (24.5 percent) than men (16.3 percent). In addition 49.7 percent of women with some sort of mental illness sought counseling or treatment options, compared to 36.8 percent of men.
Common symptoms of issues such as depression and anxiety include a lack of sexual desire, erectile dysfunction (ED) or premature ejaculation (PE).
Communication is key
The National Alliance on Mental Illness reported that mental health issues can be disruptive for partners seeking to engage in sexual activity, but open communication can help bring both partners closer together. Being able to communicate means that partners have the opportunity to gain a new level of intimacy that strengthens their physical bond.
As with any relationship, being able to communicate what you’re experiencing helps build trust, and can actually make sex even more enjoyable. How? Well, a study published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy found that couples who can talk about tough issues routinely experience higher levels of sexual satisfaction in their relationship than couples who don’t.
What to do
Sometimes change is good, especially when it comes to mental health. The Center For Wellbeing’s extensive research found that even just occasionally putting yourself into new places, situations and activities can be a consistent indicator of overall happiness. This action might be as small as taking a walk before work, planning a day trip with your partner or taking some alone time to recharge.
Staying physically active and seeking therapy or alternative wellness practices such as meditation can be beneficial, as well.
And when it comes to improving your mood, the big “O” is a useful tool. Whether you choose self-pleasure or to climax with a partner, orgasms can actually lower inflammation in the body and release feel-good chemicals such as oxytocin and dopamine, which lower stress and lead to overall feelings of well-being.
Let’s face it: Balancing mental health with the hectic schedules of our busy lives isn’t always an easy task, and stressors can affect our sex life in ways that are frustrating. By communicating with partners in our romantic relationships, we gain a new opportunity to increase the level of intimacy and overall happiness to be gained from sex.