Health: Life Hacks #6 – Just Do It
Given the overwhelming success of the 50 Shades trilogy, one may be forgiven for thinking women were in need of more sex or at the very least more good sex. Not for a moment would I suggest that signing up for a BDSM lifestyle is the key to happiness for all, but saying yes more often could be the right answer. More sex is better for you; research points to long life, reduced risk of disease and better relationships all being correlated with increased sexual activity.
Research says our relationships are better overall after doing something mutually enjoyable. As we mentioned in an earlier hack, experiencing good emotions with somebody makes us feel better about ourselves AND them. While sex is not the be all and end all of a relationship, it is a crucial part and one that requires effort.
First the room. Is your bedroom also your office/a crèche/laundry central? Do your sheets have baby puke and cat hair all over them? While turning your room into a boudoir is perhaps beyond your scope, changing sheets, cleaning up and reserving a space for just you as a couple encourages people to share thoughts, feelings and touch more.
Yes, touch more. Remember the beginning when you could not keep your hands off one another? When you held hands everywhere and sat close together during social situations? In order to stay in love we have to act like we’re in love, so get physically close to one another more.
Robert Epstein, the former editor of Psychology Today, has noted improvements in attractiveness ratings and closeness scores for strangers who carried out tasks like gently embracing one another, synchronizing breathing, looking into each other’s eyes, falling into one another arms and getting as close to one another as possible without touching. So practicing being in love actually makes us feel closer and more attracted to one another.
There is a correlation between sex and happiness, but it is a tenuous chicken-and-egg relationship. Do happy people have more sex because they’re happier, or are they happier because they have more sex? A comprehensive answer to this may be yet be forthcoming, but for the moment consider physiological benefits.
Sex improves mood. It has been noted to decrease stress, improve quality of sleep and it burns calories (unfortunately, you would need to be having sex for 12 hours a day to burn off a pound but any exercise is better than none).
Your brain ‘on sex’ gets a few chemical rushes. Firstly dopamine, the neurotransmitter that rewards us, makes us feel good about what we’re doing and makes us want to do it more. You may have enjoyed its kick when you last had chocolate. Add a dash of oxytocin to feel fear slip away, and the increase of endorphins combats aches and pains. The subsequent rise of prolactin makes us sleepy, giving you a natural goodnight send off.
So next time the opportunity presents itself… just say yes!