Sex, Love + Oxytocin

When you work with couples, the topic of sex is likely to surface at some point. If it doesn't, that becomes interesting, and something worthy of exploring during relationship counseling. Sex is complicated! It's an area that suffers when other problems and conflicts arise within the relationship. Relationship sexual gratification, or lack of it, can be impacted by stress, anger, illness, hormones, medication, depression, parenting and other life challenges. Some people use sex to reward or punish their partner. As well, individuals certainly have varying levels of interest in sex. We know that one's ability to enjoy their sexuality can be impacted by many factors including: family of origin, culture, religion, media messages, past experiences and sexual trauma.

Yes, sex is important, and great sex is even better. It helps if you can see your partner, and your partner's body as a source of pleasure. You should see your own body as a source of pleasure, because it is. People who are connected to their sexual energy are attractive and interesting. Sexual energy also informs other parts of our lives. The intimacy and release of the bonding hormone oxytocin that occurs during sex helps keep you close to your partner even as your day takes you in different directions. Oxytocin feels good; it makes you glow. What follows are some important ways that Oxytocin, or the love hormone benefits you:

  • Promotes attachment and bonding
  • Reduces stress
  • Boosts sexual arousal
  • Reduces drug cravings
  • Increases feeling of protection towards others
  • Decreases pain
  • Increases kindness and generosity 
  • Helps you sleep better

What else do we know about sex? It is a form of communication--It's important to be curious about your needs and the needs of your partner. You learn important things about your partner. Connecting to your sensuality can make your life richer and fuller. Your sexual energy can keep you engaged in your life and spark your creativity and productivity. Having satisfying sex can help keep your relationship alive, fun and vibrant. You can also turn to sex and intimacy during challenging times as a source of comfort. You can even have sex in your eighties (it might be a bit different than it was in your thirties), but sexual intimacy is available to you throughout the lifespan. While I believe it's important to talk about issues that may be negatively impacting your life and relationship, sometimes it's important to just have sex. Touch your partner. It's a good place to start.