Illustration / Dani Maiz

One orgasm, so many benefits

Those small bursts of pleasure produce hormonal, vascular and neurological changes... a 'gift'

SOLANGE VÁZQUEZ

A piece of advice: having multiple orgasms will not give us superpowers or turn us into people immune from all health problems, but - hey - it can help to improve our physical and mental health. How is it possible that those small bursts of pleasure can produce such notable changes in us?

Some of the most reputable scientists and specialists of today, such as Carlos Beyer, Barry R. Komisaruk, Beverly Whippe and Sarah Nasserzadeh, have described orgasm as one of the most complicated biological processes we know, but it turns out that this works in our favour (something pleasurable without contraindications!).

We asked two experts to list the main benefits of orgasm, which in the majority of cases apply to men and women. This is what they said:

Stress reduction

Oxytocin, a hormone which is secreted during orgasm, regulates physiological processes which are closely related to emotions. "It is one of those involved in controlling anxiety and reducing stress," said Rosa Navarro.

Burns calories

As above, as it is a physical activity in which our cardiovascular system speeds up, it also helps to burn off calories.

Cardiovascular improvement

You don't need to be a sexual athlete but there is scientific evidence that cardiovascular fitness improves in people who have regular orgasms. "The release of certain hormones causes an increase in the heart rate and activates the circulation. It also relaxes the artery walls," said Santiago Frago, a member of the governing board of the Spanish Federation of Sexology Societies and co-direcor of the Amaltea Sexology Institute of Zaragoza.

Improved immune system

"Orgasms also increase the production of antibodies involved in protection from viral infections," Rosa Navarro, a sexologist at Diversual, told us. And that is not the only effect of the chemical bomb which is generated when we have an orgasm, because it also produces "a type of natural antihistamine", Santiago Frago added.

Better sleep

"People normally sleep better after orgasm," Navarro said. They release naturalopiates which act as sedatives.

Pelvic floor

During orgasm a series of intermittent contractions of the striated muscles of the pelvic floor and uterus occurs. "This is very good to prevent, for instance, incontinence problems in women and vaginal atrophy due to the increased blood flow in the area when an orgasm takes place," said Navarro, who also pointed out that the endorphins released during orgasm have an analgesic effect which also reduces menstrual pain.

One orgasm "calls" another

"The more we stimulate ourselves and learn what we like most and how to achieve it, the more likely it is that we will be able to reach orgasm," Navarro also explained.

Prevents cardiac illnesses

The whole encounter itself is a physical activity, so if it occurs with a certain frequency it helps to prevent some cardiac illnesses.

Protects against cancer

Orgasm doesn't just prevent cardiac illnesses. The release of hormones such as oxytocin has proven to have a protective effect in the long term against the development of cancerous cells.

Improves the skin

"Although it might seem unlikely, orgasms really do make the skin look younger, it's true," said Rosa Navarro.

So, if we don't reach a climax, does it mean that's bad for us?

The fact that orgasms have benefits for physical and mental health doesn't mean that those who don't enjoy them for whatever reason have a handicap or a problem because they can't obtain the benefits.

"It's good to have orgasms, yes, but there have been a lot of myths built up around them," warned Santiago Frago.

These range from "mathematical" parameters such as how many you have or whether or not you are multiorgasmic, to finalistic ones: the question "Didn't you come?" for example. This is something which has done us all a disservice, he said.

Why? "There is pleasure beyond orgasm! They are not synonymous: pleasure is long term and orgasm is only a moment," said Frago.

What does he mean by that? "That people shouldn't be obsessed with reaching orgasm because, in fact, that's the easiest way to kill them off," he explained.

So he believes simple skin-to-skin contact is enough to bring numerous benefits, for all ages and in areas that have nothing to do with sex.

"Babies need it in order to develop properly, teenagers who are never touched or kissed get angry, adults feel sad and elderly people... well, they become ill," he said.

Sexologist Rosa Navarro said, "Neither sex nor orgasms are needs that have to be satisifed. Sexual activity isn't something we only do out of the need to have an orgasm. There are phases beforehand and afterwards that also trigger beneficial responses in our bodies."