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Celebrate with Sex on National Stress Awareness Day

By HERWriter
 
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April 16, 2011 is National Stress Awareness Day. The Health Resource Network, who organized this day, want to increase public awareness about the causes of and cures for stress. It’s true that stress can reduce someone’s sex drive. It’s hard to feel amorous when you’re worried about bills or work. But on the upside, research shows sex is a great way to treat or reduce stress. So, it makes sense that one way to celebrate this odd holiday is to have sex.

There have been several studies supporting the benefits of sex when it comes to stress.

During one study in the United Kingdom, Stuart Brody, Ph.D., a psychology professor at the University of the West of Scotland at Paisley, had participants keep a sex diary for two weeks. Meanwhile, he monitored their blood pressure while they were doing something very stressful, like speaking in public. Those who had recently engaged in sexual intercourse had the lowest blood pressure. And guess what? Solo sex via masturbation didn’t have the same effect. For women, it was penetration from a partner that sent calming hormones into the brain.

Another interesting finding from this study is that the benefits of sex lingers; not just long enough for a cigarette afterward, but for a substantial amount of time. Laura Berman, a sex therapist reviewed the study for CBS News. “Evidently the results are long lasting – for several days; even up to a week. And they recover much more quickly in terms of blood pressure levels than people who haven’t had sex.”

Research at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona focused on middle age women. It found physical affection or sexual behavior with a partner significantly lowered bad moods and reduced stress. Participants still felt good and had elevated moods the next day.

Emotional support alone doesn’t reduce stress. An additional study looked at women’s heart rates and cortisol levels as a measure of stress response. After a “positive physical contact” with a partner, the women exhibited less of a stress response. Not so with just emotional support.

Stress causes your body produce the hormones cortisol and adrenaline.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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