Why Orgasms Are Good For Women + How to Improve Your Libido

Dr. Jolene Brighten Fertility, Hormones, Thyroid Comments

 

Sure, orgasms are fun, but did you know they are good for your health too?

If you’ve been following my work, then you know I’m a big fan of women having orgasms because of the amazing health benefits they provide.

Yup, orgasms are more than just fun…

Why Orgasms Are Good for Women

Bumping Oxytocin Levels.

Oxytocin — the cuddle, bonding, or love hormone, as it is typically called, combats stress like a champ. It buffers against the negative effects of cortisol, a pro-aging hormone, and protects your body from being bombarded with stress hormones.

Many women are familiar with oxytocin as it relates to childbirth and breastfeeding, but you don’t need a baby to get the benefits of this hormone.

Orgasms release oxytocin (so do big, long hugs), which promotes bonding with your partner and social bonding in general. The bonding we experience thanks to oxytocin is credited as a primary reason the human species has survived as long as it has.

Yes, ladies, your orgasms are part of why the entire human species has survived. Write that down! Your orgasms are that important!

 

And oxytocin helps us hone our intuition and may just be the secret sauce that makes some women so successful.

Again, orgasms for the win!  

Increased Circulation.

I sit a lot. Do you sit a lot?

The reality is, many of us spend way too many hours sitting. The problem actually starts when we are in grammar school.

No human, let alone child, should sit that long.

And it is the cumulative years of sitting that can lead to muscle imbalances and decreased circulation in our pelvis. Yes, it is that bad.

So, yes, sitting is the worst. But orgasms can help!

Orgasms increase circulation to the pelvic floor organs, which means all those awesome nutrients you are eating can actually get to where they are needed. And the same is true for delivering your hormones to where you need them most.

I set an alarm to go off every 30 minutes during the work day when I’m not in with patients. When I hear the alarm I stand up and stretch and move my pelvis.

Hula hooping, hula dancing, belly dancing and any kind of activity that gets your pelvis moving can help here too!


Can Sex Improve Autoimmune Disease?

This one just may be my favorite!

Sex turns out to be some amazing medicine for immune health. Yes, you should write that one down too!

This is a BIG reason why when a woman tells me she has no libido, no interest in sex, and does everything to avoid it, I get worried.

But low libido is common…especially in autoimmune disease.

The good news — sex just might be the ticket to stop the autoimmune symptoms and restore your libido. (Psst…if you’re struggling with libido please keep reading).

How is this possible?

Research has shown that the immune system shifts to a more “favorable for conception” Th2 immune state in sexually active women. These women were found to have normal Th1 as the egg was developing, but then shifted to accommodate pregnancy during their fertile window.

Women who practiced abstinence did not experience the same immune shifts.

Let me break this down further because it is important to me that you understand what is happening here.

Th1 is the part of the immune system that fights anything “not you” — viruses and bacteria. But sperm and baby are “not you” so this mechanism could actual sabotage your chance of conception.

Th2 is much more tolerant of sperm and baby, which is why women who are pregnant experience a shift in their immune system that creates a state of Th2 dominance.

What’s all this baby making talk have to do with autoimmune disease?

The majority of autoimmune disease is driven by the Th1 system. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, type 1 diabetes, crohn’s disease, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis are examples of Th1 dominant autoimmune diseases.

Anything that pushes Th1 to be more active can increase autoimmune symptoms. But on the other hand, increasing Th2 activity can help decrease symptoms in patients with these conditions.

Other autoimmune diseases, like lupus, ulcerative colitis, scleroderma, and even eczema, are more commonly Th2 driven.

Does this mean that sex and orgasms will make your Th2 autoimmune disease worse? I highly doubt it… but pregnancy itself is a different story.

orgasm libido birth control

 

Better Menstrual Cycles

Women who get busy weekly have normal menstrual cycles (average about every 29 days). When sex is less frequent, menses can be more sporadic

In studies of women having sex less frequently, menstrual cycles tended to be shorter, which may be an indication of low progesterone and estrogen dominance.

It would seem that regular sexual activity may actually have a hormone balancing effect.

Plus, orgasms can actually help with menstrual cramps! The release of oxytocin and other endorphins help reduce symptoms of pain

Improved Fertility

Of course having more sex improves your chances of becoming pregnant — it’s a numbers game really. But frequent intercourse not only ensures a more likely encounter for sperm and egg, it also improves a woman’s overall fertility.

Women with weekly sexual encounters have the “highest incidence (90%) of fertile type basal body temperature (BBT) rhythms.” Interestingly, the same study showed that celibacy was associated with the lowest fertile type.

Regular sexual activity also modulates the immune system and improves your chance of conception. The immune system shifts to be more tolerant of sperm and baby. Remember, your immune system is primed to attack anything “not you.” 

Women who have sex more regularly shift their immune system to be more tolerant of sperm to allow for conception. This shift will continue through pregnancy to accommodate baby and will not shift again until birth.

Reduce Anxiety

Research has shown sexual activity to reduce anxiety-like behavior and actually improve brain health.

Oxytocin, which is released during an orgasm, reduces anxiety and stress, and has been shown to be helpful in people who experience social anxiety. The hormones released during orgasms also have a pain relieving effect and promote relaxation. 

 

Live Longer?

DHEA is an anti-aging hormone that declines in all of us ladies beginning in our mid to late 20’s.

I know — it’s not fair.

But the good news is that every orgasm (and every time you get sexually excited, for that matter) helps increase your DHEA.

DHEA improves your brain health, the appearance of your skin, and your immune function.

And when it comes to the autoimmunity — DHEA has been shown to reduce antibodies and be a protective for those with autoimmune disease.

DHEA can act like a natural anti-depressant and help improve your mood.

But the most exciting thing about DHEA and orgasms is this:

Regular Orgasms Can Help You Live Longer!!!

 

Researchers have shown a 50% reduction in overall mortality in those with “high orgasmic frequency.”

Yes, orgasms save lives!

Healthier Skin

Orgasms release anti-inflammatory chemicals that protect your skin and buffer against pro-aging hormones and environmental toxins.

The increased circulation you experience during sex also nourishes your skin and creates a glowing complexion.

Migraine Pain Relief

Sex has been shown to offer relief in those who suffer from migraines and cluster headaches. In one study, it was found that sexual activity lead to partial or complete relief from their headache.

It is thought to be the pain reducing and relaxing effects of the hormones that are released during an orgasm that provides the headache relief.

Better Sleep

That oxytocin release makes you feel oh, so good! And it reduces cortisol levels which calms the mind and allows you to get restful sleep.

Vasopressin is also released during an orgasm, which often accompanies the release of melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that supports deep sleep and is neuroprotective.

And yes, this is part of the reason why men can doze off so easily after sex.

libido fertility hormones

How to Improve Your Libido & Orgasms

Eat a Hormone Loving Diet.

Avoiding processed and inflammatory foods is key to improving your hormones. In addition, I recommend women eat foods that support circulation and natural detoxification pathways.

For a sample of the hormone balancing foods I recommend to my patients, download your free 7 Day Hormone Balancing Meal Plan + Recipe Guide.

Kick Stress Out.

Stress is a major mojo blocker!

When stress is up your body shifts hormones into “save your life mode” at the expense of your libido. In addition, the drop in progesterone most women experience under chronic stress can make it difficult to achieve an orgasm.

Yikes!

But orgasms and all the wonderful anti-stress molecules that are released during orgasm are exactly what you need to combat the negative effects of stress.

As you can imagine, this can become a vicious and unfair cycle that keeps you feeling frazzled and fatigued, instead of vibrant and vivacious.

What’s a girl to do?

Eliminate Bad Relationships.

Hey, they might not be “bad people,” but that doesn’t mean they aren’t bad for your health. Unhealthy or stressful relationships are a drain on your energy and make your adrenals do double time.

No Drama Zone.

Those nagging thoughts, replaying the day’s events and pondering the “what ifs” do your libido no favors.

Be gentle with yourself. Negative self talk and added drama (we’ve all been there) will totally snuff your passion.

Oh and don’t put up with anyone filling your life with their drama or anyone who reinforces your negative self talk. Trust me, your hormones will thank you!

Meditate.

Yes, I’m sure you’ve heard that before…but there’s a reason everyone is talking about meditations — it works! And it doesn’t have to be perfect, just consistent. Aim for 5 minutes a day and in a few weeks you’ll notice that stress isn’t taking quite the toll it did once before.

Watch the Exercise.

If your work is stress, life is full of stress and your exercise is stress then all you’ve got is stress! When stress is running high in all other aspects of your life the last thing you need is to be running a marathon or over training in any way.

In fact, that is a great way to fast track yourself into adrenal dysfunction. Instead, try gentle yoga, walking, pilates, or dialing back the intensity of your current exercise routine.

Yes, exercise is good, but training correctly for your body’s needs is best. Working with a functional personal trainer or exercise physiologist can help you find the exercise that best supports your needs.

Read more stress reducing techniques here.

Ditch the Pill.

In a study of over a thousand women it was found that “women using a hormonal contraceptive method experienced less frequent sexual activity, arousal, pleasure, and orgasm and more difficulty with lubrication even when controlling for sociodemographic variables.”

You read that correctly, women using hormonal contraceptives have less sex…and enjoy it much less.

And who could blame them? Vaginal dryness and an inability to orgasm is not only frustrating, but it can be painful too.

Birth control pills also increase proteins that bind to your testosterone and make it so your cells can’t use it. With less testosterone in your system, your libido plummets — along with your mood and bone health.

Testosterone is incredibly important in women’s health. Unfortunately, women on the pill often have lower levels of testosterone available in their body.

Topical DHEA

DHEA has been shown to improve vaginal lubrication, pelvic floor muscles, and the quality of orgasms. Some women benefit from applying DHEA topically to the vagina.

DHEA is also beneficial in women who experience pain with intercourse, known as dyspareunia.

I recommend having DHEA and other hormone testing done prior to beginning hormone therapy. Having a complete hormone picture is important in evaluating your hormonal health.

In my practice, we test hormones first to determine if there is a need for DHEA. If a woman is experiencing the symptoms I’ve described here and has low levels of DHEA or testosterone I often recommend DHEA suppositories as a prescription.

If you’re experiencing vaginal dryness, low libido, pain with intercourse, or urinary incontinence I recommend having lab testing to understand the root cause. These “inconvenient” and some times painful symptoms can be a sign of a bigger underlying issue.

Balance Estrogen Levels.

Estrogen dominance leaves us feeling crabby, cranky and anything but sexy. When estrogen is in excess we retain water, have more painful and heavy periods, and have a difficult time losing weight.

3 Nutrients to Balance Estrogen

Calcium D-Glucarate

This nutrient is so effective at supporting the rebalancing of estrogen that it has been cited as a reasonable preventative treatment for estrogen related cancers.

Calcium D-glucarate also supports liver detoxification pathways that help clear excess estrogen from the body.

When working with women suffering from estrogen dominance I generally recommend at least 400 mg daily in supplement form. This nutrient is found in food, but is often needed in supplement form for initial treatment of estrogen dominance.

DIM

DIM improves estrogen metabolism by shunting estrogen in to the 2-hydroxy pathway. This results in healthier estrogen metabolites and hormone balance.

In cases of estrogen dominance, I often recommend women start with a dose of 100 mg daily.

Broccoli Seed

Broccoli seed extract is a potent supporter of phase 2 liver detoxification. It is during phase 2 that harmful toxins, metabolic waste and hormones are made into safer metabolites and readied for excretion by the body.

Starting with a dose of 100 mg per day can support hormone health and protect against chronic disease.

I like to use a combination product that contains these nutrients, plus B vitamins and herbs that support hormone health. I recommend Equilibrium Women’s Hormone Support at two caps twice daily to women in my practice struggling with hormone imbalances. It contains calcium d-glucarate, DIM, broccoli seed along with other hormone balancing nutrients and herbs. 

Purchase Equilibrium Hormone Support HERE.

hormone balance supplement

Specific Libido & Orgasm Resources – Interviews

Hypothyroidism

If you have hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, I recommend listening to this interview with Thyroid Nation that specifically addresses the needs of women with a thyroid condition. This is important information that every women with thyroid disease should hear!

Hormones After Baby

If you’re a new mom or in the Fourth Trimester, definitely listen to my interview on the Birthful Podcast. In this interview I explain the specific needs of women after childbirth and the importance of orgasms as part of healing. We also take a deep dive into what is going on with your hormones after baby.

Fourth Trimester

In this two part interview with Girl Gone Green, we dive into the specifics of what a new mother needs to heal. This episode is all about healing after childbirth and I cover a great deal of information regarding hormone changes that are specific to moms.

Peri & Postmenopause   

If you are in perimenopause or are postmenopausal, I recommend listening to my interview on Flipping Fifty with Debra Atkinson. I provide valuable information for women at this stage in life that will help you rejuvenate your sex life.

Orgasms Are Good For Women!

Remember, orgasms are good for your health! If you’re struggling with your libido, please seek help from a licensed women’s health expert. Your low libido or loss of sexual pleasure can be a sign of a much deeper issue.

 

And be sure to grab your Hormone Starter Kit that includes a hormone balancing meal plan and recipes.

 

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About The Author

Dr. Jolene Brighten

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Dr. Jolene Brighten is a licensed Functional Medicine Naturopathic Doctor, best selling author, speaker, and mother. Dr. Brighten specializes in women’s health, from fertility to postpartum care, adrenal and thyroid support, autoimmune conditions, and digestive disorders. In her patient centered practice, Dr. Brighten thrives on navigating the space between conventional and alternative medicine, all while working with patients to help them achieve optimum balance, health, and happiness.