Why more couples should try to ‘get it all in the morning’

Certain hormones secreted during sex may be the primary reason for a good mood afterwards. /123RF
Certain hormones secreted during sex may be the primary reason for a good mood afterwards. /123RF

How many times have we seen someone in a bubbly, jovial mood and exclaimed: "Someone got it all this morning!"

The insinuation is that they had sex that morning, which put them in a good mood.

The opposite also rings true. When someone is grumpy, the joke is often that they probably haven't had sex in a while.

The two examples illustrate how we tend to believe that sex has a big impact on our moods. But how true is this? Also, what other areas of our body does sex affect?

Sexologist Elvis Munatswa says these are the areas that sex has an impact on:

Mood

Yes, the folk tale may be true after all.

Munatswa says that certain hormones secreted during sex may be the primary reason for a good mood after sex.

"There is a study ... about the intricacies of seminal fluid and it found that vaginal exposure to seminal fluid was related to lower levels of depressive symptoms. We may not be able to say much that is definitive about the effects of sex on mood, but we do know that mood can definitely affect sex.

"Studies have even shown that strong physical stimuli may not arouse people who are distracted. This could relate to the difficulties in sexual dysfunction that some people experience when they are stressed or distracted by performance anxiety. Depression is also known to affect people's sex drive and functioning."

Appetite

Sex and hunger are regulated through the brain chemical NPY, which decreases metabolism and increases appetite. Some have observed that having healthy sex could help you control your food intake.

Sleep

"Yes, sex can actually make it easier to fall asleep. This is mostly because of the hormones that are released during the act. Sex boosts oxytocin [a hormone that makes you feel connected to your partner] and lowers cortisol [a stress-related hormone]. Plus, having an orgasm releases a hormone called prolactin, which makes you feel relaxed and sleepy.

"All of that leads to a nice drowsy state that's perfect for cuddling up and falling asleep. If you or your partner aren't sleeping well, whether due to stress, one person keeping the other up with tossing and turning, or a condition like sleep apnea, your sex drive is going to go way down."

Physique

Some sport stars are forbidden from having sex before a match or game, like in boxing, for example. Munatswa says it all has to do with testosterone.

"There's significant variance from sport to sport as well as from individual to individual when it comes to pre-competition sex. Sex might help certain 'finesse' athletes relax, while powerlifters and fighters might do well by abstaining. Endurance athletes should probably abstain. Having pre-competition sex might lower testosterone levels, and they need all they can get during long competitions. Technically, anything that increases testosterone could improve sports performance, training and physical strength. Abstaining for several weeks could cause such an increase in testosterone."

Brain function

"Research, using a functional magnetic resonance imaging machine (fMRI) to monitor what happens in the brain during climax, has found that there is a very widespread increase in the functional brain activity at orgasm. The mental exercises some people do to train their brains are often intended to increase this type of brain activity, but orgasm seems to do it in a larger portion of the brain."

Prostrate cancer

"In 2004, a study from the National Cancer Institute [in the US] compared 50000 men and found that those who had more than 21 orgasms each month were 30% less likely to develop prostate cancer than those who had fewer than seven. Another study in 2003 had 2000 men report their ejaculation history from when they were younger. They found that men who reported more than five orgasms a week in their 20s had a one-third lower incidence of aggressive prostate cancer later in life."

Fidelity

"So this is a bit controversial, but there is growing evidence that where there is satisfactory sex in a relationship, infidelity is very minimal. Partners tend to then rate fidelity over attractiveness, while in a committed relationship than compared to single people."

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