So you know having an orgasm is great—nay, blissful. No matter what type of orgasm you prefer (there are multiple, FYI), there’s no denying that they feel good and have a ton of benefits, and we are all entitled to reach an orgasm every time we engage in sexual activities (if you’re struggling to orgasm, click here). While I LOLed at Sally Albright’s orgasm-at-the-diner performance just as much as every other Nora Ephron fan, women should be having real orgasms, in whatever way it looks and feels like to them.
1. Boosted mood
Feeling bored, a little down, or stressed? Boy, do I have the solution for you. “Having an orgasm affects your mood due to the release of several hormones,” explained Marla Renee Stewart, MA, a sexologist and on-team expert for Lovers. “Dopamine (a happy hormone) is released, as well as epinephrine, which helps you to relax, and oxytocin, which helps with bonding and emotional well-being.” So an orgasm can not only help boost your mood because it feels good but also because it physically releases mood-boosting hormones that help you feel happier or more relaxed.
“An orgasm can boost mood by increasing the release of endorphins and oxytocin, which stimulate pleasure centers in the brain to relieve stress, elevate mood, and increase confidence,” agreed Dr. Farah Naz, MD, a physician and medical writer. “The brain also releases serotonin, which is known for promoting mood and relaxation.” While having an orgasm might help you feel less stressed (AKA the best reason to stay up late before a huge work presentation), regular orgasms over time can help with a consistently elevated mood.
2. Better sleep
Insomniacs, rejoice! Kiana Reeves, a somatic sex educator, pelvic care practitioner, certified doula, and Foria‘s chief brand officer, swore that one of the best possible benefits of an orgasm is the potential for better sleep, but she’s not the only one. Well + Good calls an orgasm “the best, easiest, and quickest sleep hack there is,” while the National Sleep Foundation concurs that sex does, in fact, make it easier to fall asleep. Those mood-boosting, stress-relieving hormones released during an orgasm are working overtime to help the body relax, and sex also boosts estrogen levels, which enhances your REM stage to give you deeper slumber (according to the National Sleep Foundation). Next time you turn on Netflix before bed or scroll through TikTok when you can’t sleep, you know what to do instead.
3. Pain relief
While pain is subjective and widely varies, multiple experts I talked to swore by orgasms to help get relief from the occasional light headache, muscle pain, or period cramps. “Orgasms have many life-enhancing benefits, like helping to alleviate anything from period cramps to headaches,” said Sarah Rose Bright, a leading sex, pleasure, and intimacy coach. “Orgasms help the muscles relax, relieving tension,” Stewart agreed. So what is the relationship between pain in the body and having an orgasm?
A lot of it has to do with releasing tension throughout the body as well as that aforementioned hormone release. Hormones like endorphins help boost mood, but they’re also associated with pain relief. “The release of endorphins during an orgasm can provide us with fast pain relief,” explained Tatyana Dyachenko, M.Sc, a sex therapist, relationship expert, and psychologist. If you’re in serious pain, obviously call your doctor instead of trying for an orgasm, but if you’re already in the mood and experiencing the occasional tension in the body? An orgasm may help with relief.
4. Improved heart health
It’s the question heard around the world: Does sex count as exercise? While laying in bed with your vibrator and strenuous positions with a partner works the body in very different ways (though both can be equally important and enjoyable!), it turns out an orgasm alone (regardless of how it happens) can have similar health benefits to exercise. Kelly Ashlen, a sex educator, advocate, and founder of Sexsi Toys, explained that orgasms (and regular sex overall) can improve cardiovascular function. Sexual activity often counts as a moderate-intensity aerobic exercise (AKA moderate cardio), and many studies have found that sex can lower blood pressure. Go get your sexy on—it’s just what the doctor ordered.
5. Increased longevity
Longevity is a word that often describes duration of life, but it also describes quality of life, or living as healthily and fully for as long as possible. In other words, it’s not just about when we die but also about how long we are living, or enjoying life to the fullest without health problems or aging complications overly affecting our quality of life. Studies show orgasms improve overall health to inevitably increase longevity. “Researchers have found that mortality risk was 50 percent lower in a group with high orgasmic frequency,” Bright explained, citing this study. “Consistent orgasms can help you live longer.” Another study done in 1941 (way ahead of its time, if you ask me) discovered that women who reported a frequency of orgasm during intercourse tended to live longer than those who reported being less sexually fulfilled.
When it comes to health, regular orgasms are basically up there with eating your veggies and frequent exercise. Why does sexual pleasure have such an effect on overall health? “When one reaches orgasm, the body muscles get tense, heart rate rises, and breathing speeds up to ensure adequate blood flow to all body parts to revive youthfulness and increase overall health,” Dr. Naz explained. Even if you only feel it in one area, having an orgasm affects your entire body. In other words, masturbating is not scandalous, and an orgasm is not something to be faked to boost a partner’s ego–pleasure is a key part of a well-rounded wellness routine that will keep you as healthy as possible for your entire life.