As a sexual wellness company, we love talking about orgasms. How to have them, how to increase them, how many you can experience in one go. We all know that orgasms make us feel good, but did you know that orgasms are also great for mental health? Your mind is the body’s biggest sex organ, so it’s no surprise that when we’re not feeling our best in our brain, that can affect other parts of the body.

Let’s look at how focusing on sexual health can be good for your mental health. Here’s how orgasming can help lift your mood.

How it works

In her book, “The Orgasms Answer Guide,” sexuality educator, counselor, and researcher Dr. Beverly Whipple explains that orgasms happen when the hormone oxytocin is released from nerve cells in the hypothalamus. The chemical oxytocin that is released into the bloodstream stimulates feelings of warmth and relaxation. Sex also releases serotonin (a happiness hormone) and increases dopamine levels. In fact, semen contains oxytocin and other hormones that are mood enhancers.

Dr. Gert Holstege scanned the brains of men and women while they orgasmed. He found that activity in the amygdala (the region that presses fearful stimuli) went down. This shows that sex lowers fear and anxiety.

Seemingly unrelated, but just a really cool fact: orgasms also raise dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) levels which is linked to improvement in memory and brain function. Ergo, having sex can make you smarter.

The link between sex and mental health

There’s no denying it, depression can have a big impact on your sex life. In fact, a study in France shows people with depression had a 50-70% risk of developing sexual dysfunction. This isn’t hard to imagine when symptoms of depression often include negative thoughts about yourself or the world and can often leave you without a sex drive. Anxiety can also make you overthink sexual experiences and distract from the moment.

This can, in turn, cause conflict in your relationship if you and your partner are no longer having sex. As issues compound, that can also make your mental health worse. These issues can make sex seem like an almost impossible task, but it’s not if you’re willing to make some changes.

Sex drive solutions

You may be thinking, “How do I get the benefits of an orgasm if depression has tanked my sex drive?” There are many solutions that can help get you in the mood so you can get the orgasmic highs of sex.

Make lifestyle changes

If you find that depression is getting in the way of your sex life, you have plenty of solutions to feel better. Talk to a psychiatrist, change up your diet, adopt an exercise regimen, or ask a doctor if medicine is the right choice for you. A great place to start is by talking with your partner about what you are feeling or not feeling during sex.

Keep side effects in mind

Most antidepressants can have the unwanted side effect decreasing your sex drive. Talk to your doctor about a good option that works for you. If you feel like the medicine that was prescribed to you doesn’t work, bring it up at your next appointment.

Don’t force the foreplay

Dress up or wear some lingerie. Help your partner relax with a sensual massage. Try going on a date night to get you both in the mood. A little seduction can go a long way with getting someone in the mood.

As the world changes to become more open about sex, masturbation, and orgasms, we learn more about the helpful health benefits that sex can have. Sometimes, you won’t reach orgasm and that’s ok because you will still get some of the benefits. While the big ‘O’ won’t solve all your problems, science shows it can definitely help. If you’re looking for more reasons orgasm are great for your health, check out this blog.

So we’d like to change the proverb a bit…an orgasm a day keeps the doctor away!

*If you or someone you know is depressed and needs help, check out this list of resources. If you’re in need of immediate help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Tori Tromblay

Tori Tromblay

Special Projects Producer
Tori Tromblay (she/her/hers) is a book enthuisiast, cat lover, and Cincinnati native. She graduated from Ohio University with a degree in journalism. After traveling to New York, D.C., London, and Tulsa, she settled back home, where she lives with her husband and two cats. She has worked for Pure Romance for two years and loves to learn and teach about sex education.