A Relationship That Counts: Sex and Your Mental Health

In the middle of our crazy, busy lives—dealing with work, responsibilities, and never-ending to-do lists—it’s super important to take a breather and focus on our mental well-being. Mental health isn’t just about the absence of issues; it’s all about how we’re feeling, thinking, and navigating life. It’s like our emotional and mental GPS.

Let’s break down the difference between mental health vs mental illness. Think of mental health as a huge rainbow of feelings – sometimes you’re feeling amazing, and other times not so much. It’s all about how your mind is doing in general; how well you’re handling life’s ups and downs; whether you’re usually chill or a bit more on edge.

Now, mental illness? That’s a different story. It’s when certain conditions really start to mess with how you think, feel, or act, making regular stuff feel harder.

And here’s something we often overlook: how we’re doing mentally could play a role in our love lives. Diving into the physical side of things could be a total game-changer for our mental health. It’s not just about chilling out and feeling less anxious; it’s also a potential way to help with annoying headaches and migraines, catch some quality Zs, and maybe even feel closer to your partner. Pretty cool, right? Let’s dig into that a bit more!

Reducing Stress and Anxiety

Did you know getting frisky in the bedroom could actually help bust stress? It’s true! Studies back this up! When you’re, you know, doing the deed, your body releases all these happy hormones like endorphins that seriously lift your mood. Plus, it’s kind of a workout too, and we all know exercise is great for shaking off stress.

During a period of global unrest, such as the COVID-19 outbreak, a study discovered that individuals who remained sexually active exhibited significantly lower levels of anxiety and depression​​. This study investigated the impact of COVID-19 lockdown and social distancing on mental health and sexual behaviour. Results showed that individuals engaged in sexual activity during lockdown reported lower anxiety and depression scores compared to those who did not. Lack of sexual activity was associated with a higher risk of developing anxiety and depression. The study highlighted the protective role of sexual activity in reducing psychological distress and promoting overall well-being, both directly and indirectly through its positive effects on relational and sexual health.

“On the other hand, if sex is associated with negative feelings such as pressure, anxiety, negative body image, discomfort around sex and physical touch, etc., it can actually have a negative impact on mental health to engage in sexual activity,” says Lyndsey Murray, who has a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling and is a Licensed Professional Counselor. “Should someone want to enjoy sexual activity and have it be a positive activity in their life, the focus then becomes reducing the barriers that might be getting in the way for them.”

Alleviating Headaches and Migraines

For those who suffer from recurring headaches or debilitating migraines, there’s hope in an unexpected place – sex – and the secret lies in the climax. During orgasm, your body releases a rush of endorphins, which not only uplift your mood but could also double as natural pain relievers. This could be a godsend for individuals prone to headaches and migraines, as the release of endorphins can help mitigate the intensity of these painful episodes.

Improving Sleep Quality and Enhancing Emotional Intimacy

Let’s talk about the unsung hero of feeling awesome: getting a solid night’s sleep. It’s like the golden ticket for your mental health. And guess what? Our buddy, sexual activity, gets in on the action too. When you’re getting down to business, your body unleashes oxytocin, aka the “love hormone.” It’s like your body’s way of saying, “Hey, let’s feel the love!” And here’s the cool part: oxytocin teams up with a drop in cortisol (that stress hormone), creating this chill vibe that might just have you ready to hit the hay. It also promotes feelings of emotional connection and intimacy, making you feel closer to your partner. This sense of closeness could help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation, potentially making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night. What’s more, the release of endorphins during sex may provide a sense of calm that could contribute to a more restful sleep.

Murray offers this specific advice for  individuals looking to improve their sleep through sexual intimacy: “Make time for sex with your partner; be intentional, don’t let the business of life take you away from your sexual life and also, masturbate as often as you can or would like to. Sex with yourself is also a way to get better sleep.”

Jacquelynn Cotten, a mindset coach, offers some advice if you’re looking to see if sexual intimacy, whether with a partner or flying solo, can help you relax and sleep better:

“Allow yourself ample time to get your bedroom ready. Cut the lights down or off, have pleasant smells, eliminate distractions, set the room to a comfortable temperature, and make sure you have everything needed to induce pleasure. Once you’ve reached climax, and don’t rush it, get yourself ready for bed. Whether you’re cuddling with your partner or turning on a sound machine after the toys are put away, allow yourself to just be. Odds are you’ve worked up a sweat from the activity itself, so you should be tired, less stressed and ready for a good night’s rest.” 

ellaOne®, Sex and Mental health

In the heat of the moment, when you’re diving into the world of sexual activity, unexpected things might pop up— like maybe you get carried away and realise later on that you forgot your pill or, whoops, a little mishap with the condom has occurred. It happens to the best of us. And when these curveballs come our way, it’s totally normal to feel a bit jittery and worried about the whole unplanned pregnancy scenario.

There are various types of emergency contraception, including morning after pills like ellaOne®. And did you know that ellaOne® can be bought online? In addition to this, ellaone® can be effective up to 5 days after unprotected sex (but is more effective the sooner you take it).

The morning after pill is designed to help prevent pregnancy in the event of unprotected sex or contraceptive failure. It works by helping to delay ovulation, so no egg is released and any sperm which has entered the body will have time to die off. It’s important to note that if ovulation has already happened, the morning after pill will not be effective as it only works by delaying ovulation.

Emergency contraceptive pills are intended for emergency use only and should not be used as a regular contraceptive method. They also do not protect against sexually transmitted infections.

In moments where the unexpected occurs, ellaOne® serves as a valuable tool to safeguard one’s reproductive autonomy, contributing to a sense of control over one’s sexual and mental health.

To conclude

So, wrapping it all up, there seems to be a super important connection between our love life and how we feel up top, in our minds. Whether it’s with a special someone or just you treating yourself, getting a bit steamy could have some pretty cool benefits. It could be like a magic potion, potentially leading to less stress and anxiety. It may help in waving goodbye to headaches and migraines, possibly aiding in better sleep, and might contribute to a greater sense of emotional connection. So let’s crank up the heat, get our groove on, and really celebrate how spicing things up in the bedroom could be a big win for our mental health.


ellaOne® 30mg film-coated tablet contains ulipristal acetate and is indicated for emergency contraception within 120 hours (5 days) of unprotected sexual intercourse or contraceptive failure.

T​​he individuals mentioned in this article do not endorse any products or brands.