By Alexis Lardieri
Dr. Sara Gottfried, the Natural MD
10,000 women recently polled between the ages of 35-52 said the two biggest problems they faced in their daily lives were low sex drive and stress. Although I missed the age group by a few years I’m right in line with that statistic. After a long and hard day’s work – no pun intended, the average New Yorker starts their second shift, children and husbands need to be fed, apartments cleaned, laundry folded…the list goes on. By the time the day is over what little time is left for some fun underneath the sheets? Well here are a few reasons you might want to spare some hot and steamy moments with your partner. When it comes to sex, what health benefits can you expect?
According to Dr. Sara Gottfried,, a Harvard trained, board-certified integrative gynecologist and author of the upcoming book “The Hormone Cure“, scheduled to hit stores in January of 2013, having an orgasm at least two to three times a week can offer substantial benefits and I’m not just talking about the tingling sensation you’ll get from your legs to your toes! Regardless of your age or what stressors or hormonal imbalances you may be facing Dr. G has got you covered.
What are the key benefits of an orgasm?
An orgasm raises your estrogen level and may be the most effective way to manage symptoms of pre-menopause and perimenopause, such as night sweats, mood problems, and brain fog, says Dr. G. However, in some women their estrogen level can be too high, which will create symptoms of PMS, weight gain, and depression. Hormonal imbalance is 70% of the reason women suffer from low sex drive.
There are other factors that can raise your estrogen level, which include eating too much red meat, environmental disruptors such as BPA exposure through plastic or canned goods, genetics, and brace yourself ladies–too much alcohol. I asked Dr. G to define how much alcohol was considered “too much” – the answer, a shocking four glasses of wine or four servings of alcohol per week. How ironic? Too bad the one thing that can lead to great sex turns out to be bad for you.
It is ideal to have a balanced level of estrogen in your body which may vary from women to women. Dr. G recommends testing your estrogen levels at specific times during your cycle to get an accurate reading. You can test your estrogen through your doctor via a blood test for a mere $30 bucks – a small price to pay to avoid the above. Or you can test your saliva in the comfort of your own home for the same price.
You should conduct the test on day 21 of your cycle. A balanced reading is anywhere between 1.3-1.7.
An orgasm will also lower your cortisol level, which is the main stress hormone that tends to be chronically high in overextended women – otherwise known as New York women. Dr. G adds that too much cortisol results in anxiety, feeling overly tired, but paradoxically wired, and is the leading culprit of a muffin top! In addition, an unbalanced cortisol level can lead to low sex drive and extreme high levels can cause you to crave caffeine, sugar, and chocolate.
Balancing your cortisol level can play a huge roll in reducing stress as well as weight loss. Dr. G recommends you test your cortisol level at various times during the day to get an accurate reading. You can do this through a blood test or an at home saliva test. You should conduct a test in the morning before breakfast. An ideal reading at this time should be 10-15 in the blood, according to Dr. G. She recommends a second test in the afternoon around lunch which should read somewhere around 6-10. And once again before dinner you should get a reading of about 6-10.
Dr. G also recommends meditation as a form of controlling this hormone and stress overall. Yoga is a great way to start, but for those of you who are looking for something with a bit more of an edge, orgasmic meditation is the new best thing. Defined by Nicole Daedone in her recent book, Slow Sex, orgasmic meditation is the practice of mindful sexuality. Participants have described orgasmic meditation as a “practice that encompasses more than just an orgasm, something that encourages greater emotional awareness, connected relationships, and a sense of fulfillment.” Others describe the sensation as “a heady buzz, mixed with an equal sensation of wooziness and intensity of focus.”
Pre-natal Sex…Friend or Foe?
Friend – sex during pregnancy can be extremely beneficial as long as it has been approved by your doctor and there are no risks of miscarriage or your water has broken. Sex can prepare the cervix for labor and is nature’s way of opening up naturally to help ease the pain without the need of an epidural.
In addition, Oxytocin floods your entire body within one minute of an orgasm and has been shown to create a lower risk of post partum depression. Not to mention how out of whack your hormones are, what women wouldn’t be in the mood 24/7?
Sex and Weight Loss:
Oxytocin has also been linked to improving your thyroid which can help increase your metabolism and aid in weight loss! The active thyroid hormone in your body, otherwise known as T3 is higher when your oxytocin level is higher. So, the more orgasms you have, the more oxytocin your body releases, the faster your metabolism, the more weight you lose!
For those of you who already have a thyroid issue there is also hope. Dr. G says that most women who are between the ages of 35-50 have a low T3. There are ways you can increase your T3 levels by increasing your vitamin D intake – via tanning (naturally, not the fake n bake) vitamin D through milk or supplements. Dr. G suggests using brands that are proven to be effective, such as Integrative Therapeutics. However, if you live in an area that gets a fare amount of sun you are probably already getting the dose of vitamin D you need. She also suggests increasing your T3 level through coconut oil, preferably organic.
Dr. G has shared some of her exclusive tips and insights on how to stay balanced as a woman and use sex to your fullest advantage. The next time your right in the middle of an “oooo” and “ahhhh” moment – be sure to remember all the wonderful benefits your body is getting!