Does Sex Help With Sickness?

woman sleeping on brown armchair

If you’re sick, do you often find your mind wandering to thoughts of sex? Sex certainly won’t cure your illness or shorten its duration, but it can help make you feel better.

During orgasm, the adrenaline rush causes blood vessels to constrict. This could temporarily relieve a stuffy nose and help you breathe easier.

Boosts Immune System

A healthy sex life can help boost the immune system, preventing sicknesses. Having sex often results in orgasms, which release oxytocin and endorphins, two hormones that can make you feel happier even when you’re sick. Plus, sex can stimulate the lymph nodes, which helps fight illness.

Studies have shown that people who engage in regular sex take sick days less often than those who don’t. In one study, students who had sex a few times a week had higher levels of immunoglobulin A (IgA), an antibody that protects the body against germs and viruses.

But it’s important to note that having sex while sick won’t cure your symptoms or shorten the length of your illness, and it can actually spread infection. Respiratory illnesses are spread through saliva and droplets in the air, which can happen when you kiss, breath close to each other, or sneeze or cough near your partner.

That said, sex can be beneficial to your health during certain stages of illness if you and your partner have the right attitude and precautions. For example, sex can trigger endorphins that relieve pain and anxiety, which can help you feel better when you’re feeling bad. However, it’s best to avoid sex until you’re completely over your illness, as different illnesses are contagious at different stages and for different durations.

Pain Relief

Whether it’s from a chronic health condition or an injury, pain can significantly affect our quality of life. Fortunately, sex has been shown to help with pain relief by releasing hormones that act as natural painkillers, such as oxytocin and endorphins. Additionally, sexual activity can help boost testosterone and estrogen levels, balancing out the body’s hormone system and easing discomfort.

In addition, sex has also been shown to alleviate back and joint pain, menstrual cramps, and migraine headaches. It’s important to note, however, that while sex can provide temporary pain relief, it may not be suitable or effective for all types of pain. It’s always recommended that you consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best pain management strategies for your specific health needs.

It’s important to remember that while it’s possible to have sex when you’re sick, there are some risks involved. Respiratory illnesses are spread through saliva and droplets, so kissing or breathing close to each other can cause you to pass on germs. Additionally, if you’re running a fever or are contagious, it’s generally better to skip sex altogether since you’ll likely be less active due to your illness and could easily pass on the infection to your partner.

Reduces Stress

You may be tempted to turn up the heat during sex, but it’s best to keep the thermostat down and avoid any contact that could spread germs. Respiratory illnesses are passed through droplets, and a sick person can easily transmit them to their partner. This is why several couples follow the couch policy when one of them becomes ill: The healthy partner sleeps on the sofa until the sick person gets better.

While sex isn’t a cure-all for anxiety or depression, the feel-good hormones and chemicals it releases (dopamine, endorphins, and oxytocin) can help reduce symptoms of these mental health challenges temporarily. Additionally, sex has been shown to decrease levels of adrenaline and cortisol, the body’s primary stress hormones.

If you’re struggling with chronic or severe stress, it may be a good idea to see a therapist, who can help you learn healthier ways to manage your emotions and build an overall sense of well-being. Getting regular exercise, sleeping better, and prioritizing sex for both physical and emotional benefits can also boost your mood and help you cope with stressful situations.

It’s no secret that sex feels amazing, and the feelings of joy, connection, and intimacy can help alleviate stress. Make sex a part of your daily routine to experience the perks for yourself. However, if you’re stressed, be sure to communicate with your partner and take steps to reduce your stress level before having sexual intimacy to ensure safety and satisfaction.

Better Sleep

In addition to boosting feel-good hormones and reducing stress, sex can help you sleep better. This is because levels of oxytocin and prolactin rise, while cortisol drops, which are both known to promote restful sleep. This explains why many people report sleeping better after sex, but research on the subject is scarce due to taboos and squeamishness.

In one study, researchers recruited participants to answer an online survey on sex, sleep, and orgasm. They found that men and women who had sex with partners and experienced orgasm reported having better sleep than those who did not experience orgasm. However, the study did not find a similar effect when paired with masturbation.

While sex may improve sleep, it is not a cure for insomnia. If you are struggling with getting enough Zzz’s, consider talking to a therapist about your problems sleeping or trying out sex toys (you can see our top picks here). You should also try to get to bed at the same time every night and remove distractions like TVs, tablets, and phones from your bedroom before you go to sleep.

If you have a cold or the flu, be sure to avoid kissing and hugging your partner so that you do not transfer bacteria to them. This will keep you from making them sick, too, as well as helping prevent your symptoms from becoming more serious.

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