Blue Monday is the middle Monday in January and has been calculated as being the most depressing day of the year: our purse strings feel tight, our motivation has dwindled, and even the weather can negatively impact on our moods.
However, there’s one simple yet effective way to give our moods, health and relationships a boost and beat those January Blues: have sex!
Yes, orgasms feel good, but the O you should be focusing on is oxytocin. Oxytocin is the feel-good hormone produced in the brain that creates a general sense of well being and happiness. While oxytocin levels can be increased through sex and orgasms, simply cuddling up with your partner can do the job too.
Oxytocin is also known as the love hormone, as it helps people bond, build trust and deepen intimacy between two people.
If you’re self-conscious about your post-Christmas body, increased levels of oxytocin can boost your esteem as high oxytocin levels mean a high outlook on life. This, in turn, is going to increase your libido as when we feel good about our bodies, we’re more likely to want to show them off!
When we feel lethargic or are generally down about things, it’s more than tempting to bury our heads in the pillows and try to ignore the world, but actively waking up earlier for a morning romp can put you in a good mood for the rest of the day.
This is because sex can increase the production of serotonin, a natural mood stabiliser linked to our happiness levels. What’s more, that fantastic “I’ve just had sex!” feeling will last with you all day, so that’s definitely something to smile about!
Good sex puts us in a better mood, lowering our stress levels, which in turn does wonders for our blood pressure. A Scottish study (2006) found that, over a fortnight, 24 women and 22 men who reported having PVI (penile-vaginal intercourse) had a better stress response to those having other or no sexual behaviours.
Another study, published in the same journal, found that diastolic blood pressure, aka the bottom number of your blood pressure, was lower in people who live together and have sex often.
That’s right: having regular sex has been linked with higher levels of an antibody called immunoglobulin A or IgA, which can protect you from getting colds and other infections.
The study, carried out by scientists at Wilkes University in the United States of America 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.
Social, financial and environmental factors all play their part in making us feel down on Blue Monday, and having sex could be the key to boost our moods.
The American Archives Of Sexual Behavior (2004) found that the 300 sexually active women in their study who were in long term relationships experienced less depression than women who were sexually inactive.
“You’ve got to use it or lose it” is a fairly common trope when it comes to sex, but it really does make a difference: making the effort to have sex can lead you to wanting more.
The cold weather can wreak havoc with our skin, but sex can give you a glowing complexion that will make you feel fabulous.
That clever hormone oxytocin also has anti-inflammatory qualities, which help to repair skin cells. Having sex also promotes oestrogen levels, improving skin elasticity and dryness. Sex also increases our circulation, which gives you that post-sex glow.
A study conducted by Dr David Weeks, the former Head of Old Age Psychology at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital (2013), found that regular sex can make you look younger too!
In 2014, a study published in The Journal of Sex Research found that of the 1,040 sampled, nearly half of the participants were interested in one or more types of sexual behaviour that had previously been conceived as anomalous.
In plain speak? 45.6% of those surveyed were interested in experimenting with fetishised sexual acts.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to raid your local DIY shop and buy all the cable ties and ropes they have to offer; play out our ultimate fantasies with your partner. Role play is not only great fun, but it’s also a great way to get more than just your creative juices flowing.
When trying something new sexually, it can be really easy to get hung up on little insecurities. You may be thinking, “Am I doing this right?” or “Do I look ok?, and while it may be easier to say rather than do, you need to focus on the moment at hand.
What’s more, getting lost in the moment as you and your partner explore each other’s bodies in different ways will improve your intimacy as well as your overall relationship. Sharing your innermost fantasies together in every way is a great way to bond, bringing you closer together.
If Blue Monday is leading you to have low self-esteem, focus on how your partner responds to your body. If they’re touching you and are clearly turned on by your figure, then this can give you a little body-positive boost!
The term “sex” refers to all elements of sex play depending on the person. If penetration isn’t possible due to health issues, or if you’re not really in the mood for penetrative intercourse, play with your partner in other ways!
Try mutual masturbation whether manually or with sex toys, oral sex and even massage, using your nimble fingers to explore each other in new, enticing ways. If this increases your arousal, but penetrative sex still isn’t possible, make sure you use plenty of good quality lubricant, such as YES organic lube.
A final tip to having really good sex this Blue Monday is take your focus away from having an orgasm, as this can actually hinder your chances of achieving one. Stay in the moment and enjoy the sensations that you’re sharing with your partner, and you’re much more likely to climax, which is a sure fire way to boost your mood!
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