The impact of sex on mental health can be positive and negative depending on a range of factors, a Consultant Neuro-psychiatrist, Dr. Maymunah Kadiri, said on Thursday.
Kadiri, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, also said that a healthy sex life could improve one’s mental well-being.
She spoke in commemoration of World Sexual Health Day (WSHD) held annually on Sept. 4 to celebrate every person’s right to sexual well-being.
According to her, a healthy and satisfying sex life, characterised by consensual and respectful experiences, can contribute positively to mental well-being; promoting emotional intimacy and self-esteem.
She said that engaging in consensual and satisfying sexual activity would release endorphins, natural mood boosters, the feel-good chemicals to reduce stress and anxiety, promote relaxation, and improve overall emotional well-being.
Kadiri also said that sexual health was an integral component of overall well-being, with profound positive effects on an individual’s mental and emotional state.
“Sexual activity can stimulate the release of endorphins, which act as natural painkillers. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals dealing with chronic pain conditions that affect their mental health.
“Regular sexual activity may act as a form of stress relief. It can reduce the levels of stress hormones like cortisol and promote relaxation, which can have a positive impact on mental health.
“For many people, sex can lead to improved sleep quality. The release of oxytocin and relaxation after sexual activity can help combat insomnia and promote better mental health through better rest,” Kadiri said.
The Neuro-psychiatrist, however, said that cultural and societal factors, as well as personal values and beliefs, could influence how individuals perceive and experience sex, which, in turn, could affect their mental health.
According to her, negative experiences, sexual trauma or relationship issues can have adverse effects on mental health.
She, therefore, advised that it was crucial to foster open communication about sexual health within relationships and seek professional help when needed.
She said that these would address any issues that might impact mental well-being. (NAN)