Years ago when I suffered badly with migraine I discovered that sex brought almost instant relief. I often wondered why, and figured the hormones released during arousal, such as oxytocin, the love hormone, were responsible for the cure.
Well, recently there’s been quite a buzz on online forums about people feeling sexy when they’re ill. Not really ill, you understand, just a bit off. How could that be?
Well, research suggests that being aroused while you have a cold is a real thing – and it might serve a purpose.
There are a number of theories linking sexual feelings and illness. One holds true only for men, who allegedly can find equally good relief from nasal congestion by climaxing as they can by taking nose drops.
A scientist named Sina Zarritan has proposed the theory in the journal Medical Hypotheses. It has three steps:
One – sexual feelings and orgasm drive up the concentrations of two hormones, cytokines and also protective lymphocytes that play a part in priming the immune system.
Two – an orgasm releases a shot of adrenaline, the stress hormone that readies us for fight or flight and constricts the blood vessel in the nose, penis and labia. So it’s likely there is also a medical benefit of masturbation.
And three – ejaculation revs up the sympathetic nervous system, the same part of our brain-body connection that decongestants activate to constrict blood vessels and alleviate congestion.
German scientists were eager to show that getting volunteers feeling sexy might improve their resistance to infections. So they recruited 11 people to bring themselves to climax and analysed their blood before and after they had masturbated. And as expected, after orgasm, the immune system was churning out more natural killer cells.
So could sex be just the help they needed to get over a cold?
Even cleverer, the sensuality of sickness might serve to keep partners attentive and looking after one another. Sex can help make partners affectionate and caring.
Sex is a hormonal maelstrom for men and women. Orgasm triggers an outpouring of the hormone oxytocin, which makes us feel loved up and creates strong loving bonds.
Oxytocin is crucial to the bonding of mothers to their babies, and binds sexual partners together too.
So it could be when we’re sick, we subconsciously know that having sex will help make sure our partners look after us while we recuperate.
Plus, sex is a surefire way to take your mind off that head cold. No wonder my migraine got better!