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Published April 2020

Boosting your wellbeing during social-isolation with sex and masturbation

With social distancing guidelines in place, it looks like we’re set to be spending a lot more time inside. So whether you’re distancing with a partner or by yourself, why not take this opportunity to make the most of the bedroom and get intimate!

Did you know that sex can boost your mental and physical wellbeing?

Not only is it an enjoyable way to spend time, but sex and masturbation can be great for boosting your mental and physical wellbeing (which is incredibly important during this time). According to Dr Caroline West, lecturer in sexuality studies, sex and masturbation “has a ton of health benefits. It’s known to help to relieve stress and tension, boost your mood, and give you a hit of endorphins.”[1] In fact, an NHS study of 46 men and women asked participants to keep a diary of sexual activity. Those who had no sex at all, had the highest stress levels during a series of stress tests including public speaking and doing mental arithmetic out loud. People who only had penetrative sex, had the smallest rise in blood pressure, which shows that they coped better with stress. [2]

According to Sexologist Beverly Whipple, this is because when you orgasm “the hormone oxytocin is released from nerve cells in the hypothalamus (a region of the brain) into the bloodstream. The orgasm relives tension as oxytocin stimulates feelings of warmth and relaxation”. [3]

Studies have also shown that sex is good for your physical health and may even help to fend off illness, as sexual arousal increases your heart rate and during orgasm it peaks.[4] A study in Pennsylvania also found students who had sex once or twice a week had 30% higher levels of Immunoglobulin A, than those who had not sex at all. [5] Though unless you’re having 150 minutes of orgasms a week, this doesn’t make sex a replacement for other exercise such as walking, cycling or swimming! (A bit disappointing we know…)

 

Isolated from your sexual partner?

Thanks to the miracle of modern technology, if social distancing means that you’re not able to spend time with your sexual partner in person, there are plenty of apps and toys out there that mean you can still get physical together remotely. We recommend We-Vibe’s Chorus App and Remote Control Couple’s Vibrator which allows users to share vibrations during sex, using an app for long-distance play. Or why not indulge in a sexy skype call or old fashioned phone sex? (Just remember to lock your door!)

No sexual partner?

Use this alone-time to get to know your body better through solo masturbation. Dr Caroline West says that masturbation is a great way to “boost confidence and solidify a sense of ownership over your body and your sexual pleasure.”[6] Make this a fun experience – experiment with toys and different sensations to find out what you like. Or seek out advice from pleasure subscription services such as the celebrity endorsed OMGYES (recommended by Emma Watson), which offers tips and insights on how women can achieve pleasure, based on scientific studies from Indiana University and Kinsey Institute researchers.

Take your pleasure to the next level – use a lubricant

Using a lube is also a great way to enhance pleasure during masturbation or sex. You can put lube on your body and on anything else that you’re using, including sex toys. Partners can apply lubricants to each other during foreplay, which can stimulate pleasure and quicken excitement as a prelude to sex.

When it comes to choosing a lubricant, it really depends on personal preference. For example YES WB is a very silky, water-based gel and has a very similar feel to the body’s natural lubrication. Whereas, YES OB is a longer-lasting lubricant, formulated with nourishing plant-based oils and great for prolonged lovemaking (it also doubles as a fantastic massage oil). For anal play try YES BUT anal lubricant, which is specifically matched to the rectal pH.

 

One way of getting through this lock down is to use this experience as an opportunity to get creative with your sex life. Not being able to leave the house isn’t ideal, but it presents us with the opportunity to think outside the box about ways to stay connected. You might discover a new element to bring to your sexual relationship once you reunite with your partner after isolation. Or finally get to spend time experimenting with a new toy. Whatever you do, make sure you enjoy the experience and use it as a chance to relax, unwind and enhance your wellbeing, whilst strengthening and enlivening your sex life.

 

[1] evoke.ie/2020/03/16/life-style/self-isolation-dr-west-masturbation

[2] www.nhs.uk/live-well/sexual-health/benefits-of-love-sex-relationships/

[3] www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/orgasm-health-benefits_n_4143213

[4] www.nhs.uk/live-well/sexual-health/benefits-of-love-sex-relationships/

[5] www.nhs.uk/live-well/sexual-health/benefits-of-love-sex-relationships/

[6] evoke.ie/2020/03/16/life-style/self-isolation-dr-west-masturbation

 

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