7 Benefits of Orgasms

Reaching the big O does more than just enhance sexual pleasure. It can also strengthen your pelvic floor, relieve pain, and even improve sleep.

Whatever you call it—peaking, climaxing, cumming, or coming—having an orgasm is more than just pleasurable. Orgasms can boost your health as well. Orgasms are said to improve your mood, relieve stress, and even ease pain.

However, research into the perks of orgasms is limited, likely because the orgasm experience differs for everyone. "Some people orgasm multiple times, some once, and some none—and that's all totally normal," Rosara Torrisi, PhD, a certified sex therapist and founding director of the Long Island Institute of Sex Therapy, told Health.

With this in mind, the following seven benefits are by no means a comprehensive list or a guarantee for every individual. But they could bring you some surprising mind and body boosts that go way beyond the bedroom.

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1. Orgasms Boost Moods

Having an orgasm releases a flood of feel-good hormones into the bloodstream, which can make you feel happier, calmer, and less stressed, Kate White, MD, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Boston University School of Medicine and vice chair of academics in the ob-gyn department at Boston Medical Center, told Health.

According to Dr. White, these hormones include:

  • Oxytocin,aka the "love hormone," facilitates feelings of love and attachment. It is also released during labor to help with baby bonding.
  • Dopamine, which triggers intense feelings of reward, desire, and pleasure.
  • Endorphins, the "natural opiates," induce a sense of euphoria and reduce stress.
  • Serotonin, which helps regulate mood, appetite, and sleep.
  • Prolactin, the primary chemical that initiates milk production after pregnancy and plays a role in bonding, also makes us feel satisfied after orgasm.

Reaching climax might also make you feel more confident, which can further improve your mood, Logan Levkoff, PhD, certified sexuality education and advisor to the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, told Health.

One thing to know, though, is that it's unclear how long these mood-boosting benefits may last due to the lack of research, Dr. White said.

2. Orgasm Helps You Connect With Your Body

Having orgasms, especially through masturbation, can reveal what's normal and what isn't when it comes to your sexual health. "It's one of the few times people, especially people with vulvas, give themselves permission to touch their genitals," Torrisi said.

Think of climaxing as an opportunity to connect with your body, so you spot any changes that may indicate a medical condition, such as an STI or a yeast infection.

"It is really helpful to know what your body feels like, looks like, and even smells like, because if you don't know what the norm is for your body, it's really difficult to identify when something is off," Levkoff said.

Experiencing orgasms also creates a comfort level with your body; without that comfort level, you might be more hesitant to share health info with doctors.

Dr. White explained that when someone is unfamiliar or uncomfortable with their genitals, it can cause them to fear pelvic exams or prevent them from bringing up concerns with health care providers, potentially delaying crucial care and treatment.

And for her clients with chronic illnesses, Torrisi said climaxing has an added bonus: It offers reassurance that their body can give them pleasure.

3. Orgasms Teach You What Feels Good for You

Without experiencing orgasms, you won't be able to fully explore what gets you off—potentially cheating you out of the sexual pleasure you deserve.

"A lot of people want to have orgasms consistently from penetration, and the truth is that some people can come consistently from that, but most people can't," Dr. White said. If this sounds familiar to you, masturbating to climax can give you a clearer idea of the kind of stimulation you need to reach the big O.

Dr. White recommended experimenting with sex toys or touching yourself differently until you know what feels good for you. From there, you can communicate what you like or dislike when you're with a partner.

"Understanding that your body has the innate capacity for pleasure, and it's not dependent on a partner, is empowering," Levkoff says. "Know that you don't have to rely on someone else to make you a sexual being or to make you feel a certain way."

4. Orgasms Strengthen Relationships

Within a relationship, having orgasms together can strengthen your bond. On a biochemical level, achieving orgasm spurs the release of the neurotransmitters oxytocin and prolactin, according to a 2016 study published in the journal Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology.

Both oxytocin and prolactin facilitate bonding, which the study authors noted may explain the link between climaxing and connecting with a sexual partner.

Of course, this doesn't mean that your relationship is doomed if you don't reach orgasm with your partner. But, Torrisi explained, if a sexual partner gives you good orgasms, you're more likely to want to see them again and invest in that relationship. Plus, knowing they can pleasure you may also boost their confidence and satisfaction.

5. Orgasms Improve Sleep

If you're having trouble catching zzzs, consider having more Os. Many people find that orgasms make them sleepy, which is why they can be a great addition to your bedtime behavior, Levkoff said.

It isn't exactly clear how orgasms induce sleepiness. It may be the relaxing post-orgasm hormones circulating through your body. It could also be because orgasming is similar to progressive muscle relaxation, Torrisi noted.

Progressive muscle relaxation is a technique that involves clenching a group of muscles as tightly as possible and then releasing them. Letting go of the tension can help people fall asleep much in the same way muscles contract and then release during an orgasm.

It could also be a matter of conditioning. "Some people also build a habit of orgasming before bed, so it's a part of their sleep routine," Torrisi explains. "Therefore, their bodies kind of know, oh! This means sleep."

6. Orgasms Help Pelvic Floor Muscles

An orgasm is a series of muscle contractions that may help you maintain or strengthen your pelvic floor, said Levkoff. Orgasms work the same muscles as Kegel exercises.

Orgasms also improve pelvic floor health by increasing blood flow to the pelvic region, which supports muscle growth, Sonia Bahlani, MD, an ob-gyn and pelvic pain specialist based in New York, told Health.

Regularly flexing your pelvic floor muscles can lead to better sex by increasing vaginal lubrication, reducing pain from penetration, and strengthening orgasm intensity, according to research published in the Journal of Investigative and Clinical Urology. That's because a stronger pelvic floor improves blood flow to the genitals and may lead to a tighter grip during penetration.

7. Orgasms Relieve Pain

As if improved mood and sleep weren't benefits enough, orgasm-induced hormones like oxytocin and endorphins appear to act as natural painkillers, Dr. White says.

"Those pleasurable feelings tend to dull feelings of pain," Levkoff says, noting this may be why some people find that orgasms relieve menstrual cramps.

However, for others, getting off can actually increase period pain, Torrisi said. This is because orgasms trigger uterine contractions, worsening the uterine contractions you're already experiencing, thanks to your period.

Feel free to give climaxing a go as a way to ease your period-related pains—or any other pain you're experiencing. Just don't expect it to work like a magic bullet, since every body is different.

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