You may believe that when the temperature drops outside all we want to do is hibernate under the duvet, but having sex during the winter months can boost both our physical and mental health.
The weather and seasonal changes affect not just our mood but also our desire to have sex. Generally we’re stuck inside during the winter months, therefore we spend more time with our partners, leading to enjoying more sex, which in turn offers a range of health benefits you may not even be aware of.
For many, the onset of winter can lead to seasonal depression as we experience less daylight, spend less time outdoors and the temperature drops. As the sun sets earlier, leaving us with longer, darker afternoons and evenings, we often find ourselves eating our evening meals in our pyjamas, which can impact upon our sex life too.
For those who do experience symptoms of seasonal depression, such as losing interest in things you love doing, feelings of depression for no apparent reason and wanting to sleep more than a bear in hibernation, you can overcome these winter blues by having sex!
Sex releases endorphins, making you feel happier and boosting your relationship. It’s also exercise so if you dread the thought of having to drag yourself to the gym on a cold, dark winter’s evening, why not indulge in a more pleasurable and beneficial form of exercise with your partner to work up a sweat and benefit from all those endorphins too.
Being cooped up inside in close proximity to other people can be stressful, which can have a negative impact upon your sex life.
Stress can cause a drop in your sex drive and lead to sexual issues such as erectile dysfunction, vaginal dryness and tightness, all of which can lead to relationship problems, thus creating more stress.
When you feel stressed, your body produces cortisol, blocking the production of testosterone. However, having sex can decrease stress levels and promote a better night’s sleep as well as lowering your blood pressure. The endorphins produced when you have sex make you feel happy and can promote a feeling of harmony.
During the winter months we are generally more susceptible to becoming sick due to being surrounded by other people who cough and sneeze over us in the office, in shops or on public transport.
One easy way to boost your immunity is to have sex. Having sex once or twice a week has been linked with higher levels of an antibody called immunoglobulin A or IgA, which can protect you from getting colds and other infections.
Scientists at Wilkes University in the United States studied 112 university students who kept records of how often they had sex, and also provided saliva samples for the study. Those who had sex once or twice a week had higher levels of IgA, an antibody that could help you avoid a cold or other infections, than other students.
It’s also more fun than taking vitamins too!
When you turn the central heating on as the mercury drops, it makes the air dry and you may find yourself waking up with a sore throat or stuffy nose, disturbing your sleep. You may also struggle to get to sleep if you feel cold too.
Having sex is a great way to combat these problems. The oxytocin released during orgasm promotes sleep and post coitally, your brain releases slumber-inducing chemicals like serotonin and opioids that make you feel more relaxed and drowsy.
Cuddling after sex produces oxytocin which creates a sense of relaxation, promoting sleep too.
You may believe that spring is the mating season but when it comes to men, they are more frisky in the winter!
A study in the journal Perception found that men find women more attractive in the coldest months of the year due to the lack of flesh showing. When so much exposed skin is revealed in hot, sunny weather, men become instinctively more critical whereas in the winter less skin is on show, therefore it becomes more novel and arousing to look at.
Being in close proximity to your partner may also increase your chances of having more sex, especially when cuddling on the sofa in front of the fire with a steaming mug of hot chocolate.
Trying to conceive? According to the National Statistics Office, more babies are conceived in December with December 11th being the most fertile of the year, with more babies being conceived on that day than any other day. The most common birthday is September 16th, 40 weeks after 11th December.
This is due to sperm being healthier in winter and early spring than in the summer because the temperature is lower. A study conducted in Israel studied samples from 6000 men being treated for infertility and found that there was an increase in the number of sperm, with faster swimming speeds, and fewer abnormalities in sperm made during the winter.
The research found that these men produced about 70 million sperm per millilitre of sperm during the winter, of which 5% of these sperm had faster motility or swimming speed, improving a couple’s chance of becoming pregnant. This was compared with sperm made during spring which was 60 million sperm per millilitre, of which only 3% were fast swimmers.
It is also thought that couples have more sex during the winter months because there is less to do and they spend less time outside, which may explain why more babies are conceived in the winter months.
So, don’t let the dark winter months get you down, cheer yourself and have more sex!