What makes you happy? A common response is positive and healthy personal relationships. Positive and healthy personal relationships are based on a number of factors: trust and honesty, effective communication, and mutual sexual satisfaction or intimacy. In a recent Australian study conducted by the Sydney Centre for Sexual and Relationship Therapy, researchers found that of the 4000 men and women surveyed, only 41% of the men, and 34% of the women were satisfied with their sexual relationship.

As a naturopathic doctor, this shows we have work to do to optimize the positive potential in the relationship with our significant other, especially from the perspective of improving our intimacy. To mark Valentine’s Day, and also Heart Health month, I’ll discuss some reasons why you should improve your sexual satisfaction and overall intimacy with your partner.

1. Sex Relieves Stress.

Research has shown that physical intimacy helps with overall stress reduction, helps improve our response to stress, and is associated with lower blood pressure. It’s not all about intercourse either, hugging among partners can also ease general tension and convey stability, support, and lead to stress-relief.

2. Boosts Self-Esteem.

When partners communicate well, are nurturing, and show care and positive attention to one another, self-esteem blossoms, which is a benefit to our personal well-being.

3. Solidifies Relationships.

Intimate warm contact with your partner builds trust, and bonds the relationship. In fact, such warm contacts increase the level of oxytocin – the “love hormone,” which promotes pair-bonding in relationships.

4. Counts as Exercise!

Sex takes physical and psychological effort, and burns calories – about 85 calories for every 30 minutes. This may not seem like much but can translate into losing a few pounds a year. Sex can improve your flexibility, strength, balance, and cardiovascular fitness.

5. Improves Overall Well-Being.

When looking at overall life satisfaction and perspective with our priorities in life, having a positive romantic life can improve the other areas that relate to wellness: health, personal and spiritual development, fun and recreation, and friendship.

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