There have been a thousand articles about the many health benefits of sex â€“ better blood pressure, lower stress, maybe even reduced cancer risk. I should know as I’ve been interviewed for quite a few of these articles! What I always want to add, though, is that sex is good for us for a whole host of reasons and the physical health benefits are only the tip of the iceberg. In this 4-part series, we’ll explore four other reasons why sex is good for people, starting with this: you get to be someone new.
It’s easy to get stuck in our daily roles as students, employees, moms, supervisors, girlfriends or wives. We may feel sometimes as though we’re saying, screaming or â€“ let’s face it â€“ nagging the same things in the same ways day after day.
Sex gives us the opportunity to step outside of ourselves. Just like in adolescence when teenagers try on a bunch of different identities to see which one feels the best to them (jock, prep, goth, artist, class clown, book worm, tom boy, actress), adults get to try on different identities in bed.
One night you might find yourself making love to your partner in the most sensuous of ways. You’re a lover, someone who wonders at every inch of his or her freckled or increasingly wrinkled-but-luscious skin. You brush against his stubble with the touch of someone who loves and loves and then loves some more.
Another day you’re the vixen who draws your partner into the pantry for a quickie while your roommate’s in the shower or baby is asleep. You’re full of surprises, eager to please, full of energy and spontaneity.
Another evening you might be dressed in heels and black lace lingerie, with a sex toy and some new moves from your favorite sex book in the queue. You have plans for your partner â€“ and you expect or rather demand pleasure. Things might even get a little loud or rough.
That’s sex for you. True, things always run the risk of being routine or falling into a rut but sex doesn’t have to be that way. You could try having sex in new places to get your creative juices flowing or you could simply try a new mindset, pretend that you’re more confident about your body than you normally feel or take on the perspective that sex is about love, rather than just orgasm, or any number of mindsets that help you to go in the sexy, sumptuous direction you want to go.
Debby Herbenick, PhD, MPH is a sex researcher and educator at Indiana University, a widely read sex columnist, and author of Because It Feels Good: A Woman’s Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction. Follow her on Twitter @mysexprofessor