12 Healthy Reasons to Have Sex Tonight

Candles lit? Check. Barry White on deck? Oh yeah. Dark chocolate-covered strawberries and a glass of wine? Pouring now.  Last…Alexa, dim the lights. We all knows what comes next. But do you know the many health benefits that accompany a vibrant sex life? Hold on to your hat, these facts are mind-blowing. Once you know how intimacy enhances your longterm health, sex becomes even more pleasurable. Let us take you on a tour through the multitude of benefits sex provides for your health: physical, mental, emotional, and psychological.

12 Health Benefits of Sex

Aside from the obvious – reproduction, pleasure, and intimacy – sexual activity elevates your quality of life in a great number of ways. Sex promotes cardiovascular health, sharpens cognitive performance, extends your healthspan, boosts your mood, and beyond. So, what are you waiting for? Here are 12 healthy reason to have sex…tonight!

 

1. Strengthens your immune system

That’s right. People who have more sex get sick less often. Studies show a direct correlation between sexual activity and higher levels of immunoglobulin A – an antibody that fights the common cold and infections. Researchers found that university students who engaged in sexual activity twice per week possessed high levels of immunoglobulin A. By contrast, levels were lowest among couples who had no sex at all. Sexual frequency factors largely in our overall health. So, if you’re not coupling up a couple of times per week, get busy. The more time you spend in the bedroom, the less time you’ll spend in the examining room.

2. Improves mental health

If you’re feeling a little off but can’t quite put your finger on it, try to remember the last time you were intimate. People with lively sex lives report higher self-esteem and general wellbeing. Hooking-up decreases overall psychological stress as it reduces cortisol, the stress hormone, and releases oxytocin, the “cuddle hormone.” Both chemicals benefit out overall mental health. For women, contacting semen during intercourse even acts as an antidepressant. One psychologist recently hypothesized that the post-coital calming effect may be attributed to oxytocin. Orgasms trigger the release of endorphins, which are your body’s feel-good chemicals. So, not only do you want greater sexual frequency – you want to have great sex.

3. Sex boosts brainpower

Having a hard time remembering names or finding your glasses? Might be time for a tumble. Research published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior suggests that frequent sex may improve women’s memory. Sexual activity likely sharpens memory by stimulating new neuron production in the hippocampus – the region of the brain involved in learning and memory. In addition, sex may also enhance cognition. A University of Amsterdam study found that sexual encounters improve our analytical thinking. This boon applies to both men and women. Since fooling around makes you smarter…don’t be a dummy, have more of it.

Whether you’re a man or a woman, make up your mind to make love more often.

 4. Sex works out your body

Yes, sex counts as exercise. Physical activities that get your heart pumping are good for your health, and this includes sex. Depending on how, um actively, you’re going at it, a half hour of sex can burn close to 150 calories. Plus, you’ll make up for a handful of those chocolate-covered strawberries. By the way, the reverse is also true: vigorous exercise also boosts sexual performance. Working out works in your favor. Exercise boosts desire, arousal, satisfaction, and self-confidence. Challenge your love to a race to the bedroom. Last one to bed does the heavy-lifting.

5. Reduces pain

Headaches are often used as a reason to avoid intimacy. But, a cure may be right under your nose. During sex, your body releases serotonin, endorphins, and phenylethylamine. These hormones generate intense feelings of pleasure while at the same time killing pain. This chemical surge is likely the explanation for studies showing that intercourse can stop migraines. Before you reach for the painkillers, try reaching for your bedmate instead. Research suggests that sexual activity may reduce pain from migraine or cluster headaches. Among migraine sufferers, 60% reported a reduction in pain after sexual activity, while 37% of those with a cluster headache saw improvement. I’ve got a headache is no longer a valid excuse, but rather an invitation.

6. Sex deepens relationships

It’s called making love for a reason. Lovemaking plays a fundamental role in preserving happy relationships. Remember the “cuddle hormone”? Oxytocin makes you want to snuggle up to your partner after sex. For women, it helps them bond, trust, and also feel more generous towards their partners. And that “afterglow” we’ve heard so much about? For couples, this positive vibe lasts for up to 48 hours following sexual intercourse. This glow is associated with higher levels of long-term relationship satisfaction. Physical intimacy helps couples reduce stress and feel more secure, leading to more emotionally stable relationships. Turns out that the more love you make, the better you make your partner feel about your pairing.

Sexy couples are more secure, self-confident, and feel more deeply about their partner. So, couple up every chance you get.

7. Helps you sleep better

Does it seem like you’re always chasing a good night’s sleep? Maybe you just need to sleep around. Following an orgasm, and even during sex, the brain releases hormones including norepinephrine, serotonin, oxytocin, and vasopressin. All of these hormones can help you sleep. In women, a rise in estrogen levels during sex enhances their REM cycle, which means more restorative sleep. Men are especially likely to succumb to the sleep-inducing effects of sex because the prefrontal cortex slows significantly in males after orgasm. This happens to be the part of the brain responsible for interpreting and responding to new information. So, if your man falls asleep when you’d rather snuggle, don’t be insulted.

8. Makes you look younger

Tired of going broke on skincare products? Research shows sex is more potent than any anti-aging cream. Couples who have intercourse three or more times weekly appear, on average, ten years younger than their chronological age. Yes, you read that right: ten YEARS. Orgasms trigger the release of estrogen in both men and women, which improves hair and skin quality, making people look more attractive, too. That fabled “morning after” glow? It’s not just your imagination. You really do look amazing after having sex. This glow is the result of a combination of factors: stress relief, better mood, and the flush of blood under your skin that’s a natural part of the arousal process. So, skip the makeup counter and head straight to the bedroom.

9. Sex extends longevity

Sexual activity may hold the key to a longer life. A 25-year study determined that, in men, frequent intercourse was a significant predictor of longevity. Among women, those who reported enjoying sex lived longer. Another recent  study determined that sexual activity may have a protective effect on men’s healthspan. Researchers tracked the mortality of almost 1,000 men aged between 45 and 59 over the course of 10 years. They found that risk of death was 50 percent lower in men who frequently had orgasms than men who did not ejaculate. For women, it’s quality over quantity. High quality sex seems to protect women in later life. Aim for longevity in the bedroom to extend longevity as you age.

Your heart loves sex. Improve your heart health and extend longevity when you show your partner some love.

10. Your heart loves sex

Sexual arousal increases heart rate, with the number of beats per minute peaking during orgasm. Men who have regular sex are 50 percent less likely to develop heart diseaseEvidence suggests that men with better overall health have higher drives and therefore more sex overall, which creates a positive feedback loop that further builds a healthy cardiovascular system. Interestingly, results from most studies suggest that high frequency of sex is correlated with later onset of cardiovascular events for men. For women, better quality of sex is more cardio-protective. Both men and women should follow their hearts when it leads them to the bedroom. Get it pumping. Your heart will love you for it.

 

11. Lowers blood pressure

High blood pressure stresses out your blood vessels, leading to damage and narrow, hardened arteries. These same dangers to your cardiovascular system can also cause erectile dysfunction in men and reduced arousal and inability to orgasm in women. Reseach published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior found that sex in later years might reduce the risk of high blood pressure – at least for women. In men, studies have shown a link between low testosterone and high blood pressure, while the spikes in testosterone associated with sexual activity might help lower blood pressure. Testosterone stokes sexual desire – for both men and women. If you’re suffering from low libido, bioidentical hormone pellet therapy could be a solution.  Have more sexy time and surprise your cardiologist on your next visit when he checks your vitals.

For those suffering from erectile dysfunction who are looking for a natural solution, you can learn more here.

12. Lowers prostate cancer risk

Research shows that men who frequently ejaculate could be protected against prostate cancer, the most common cancer among men in the United States. Research from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD, and published in JAMA, discovered that men who ejaculated 21 times per month or more were a third less likely to develop prostate cancer than men who ejaculated between four and seven times per month. Some studies suggest sex “flushes out” any carcinogens in the prostate gland. On the flip side, a recent study showed that very frequent sexual activity in young men (20s and early 30s) could actually increase the risk of developing prostate cancer. But frequent ejaculation in middle-aged or older (50+) men decreased disease risk. For Boomers, this is good news. Keep getting it on like you’ve always done. Not in mood, guys? Get into it and start getting busy.

The takeaway?

Sex is an important part of life and overall well-being. In relationships, orgasms play a significant part in bonding. Physical and emotional benefits like reduced risk of heart disease, improved self-esteem, enhanced mental health and more are correlated with and lively and loving sex life. Not only can lovemaking be a pleasurable and exciting activity, sex may make you live longer.

Cue the Barry White…You just got in the mood.

 

How to Enjoy Healthy Holidays Without Being A Total Killjoy

The holidays can present a mixed bag. Most of us look forward to Christmas lights, trimming the tree, and holiday parties with friends and family. But for all of the pros, there are also plenty of seasonal cons: the holidays are hectic, stressful, nerve-wracking, and exhausting. Racing from store to store collecting all the trappings is rarely as festive in real life as it looks on paper. Especially for women – who are more likely to be responsible for much of the planning, cooking, hosting, and gifting that make the season merry and bright. While it’s wonderful to spend time with those you love, getting to your destination can be taxing. Especially if must travel during hours you’d typically spend sleeping.

And if you’re trying to make healthy choices, the holidays are a minefield. Still, you want your loved ones to enjoy the yuletide cheer unfettered by your unique concerns. I mean, just because you’ve gone gluten-free that doesn’t mean your kids have to miss out on Grandma’s famous Christmas cookies. So, how do you strike the right balance? I’ve got you covered.

Arm yourself with the following tips to enjoy stress-free holidays without being a total killjoy.

 

Travel like Santa: It’s all about logistics

Unfortunately, most of us don’t own physics-defying sleds pulled by flying reindeer. A girl can dream though, right? Maybe next year if I’m very good, Santa will leave one under my tree. Until then, we can only aspire to travel like Santa. But holiday traffic, long lines at the airport, last-minute shopping, and unrealistic expectations from others can distress even the most centered among us. You get anxious, even panicky, sending your body into an intense stress response. The hormones released, such as cortisol and adrenaline, heighten your anxiety while suppressing your immune system. All of this, during a time when you need to protect your health the most. Stressful times require serious countermeasures. Planning is key – plan ahead to protect your physical and mental health.

So, how can you trip up travel stressors?

  • Do your homework – Make sure you know the best route to the airport or your final destination. Find out whether your hotel has a gym so you can de-stress with some exercise during your stay. Follow the weather reports so you’re prepared for the unexpected.
  • Pack your own food – This way you don’t have to rely on the over-processed options lining gas station aisles and airport guest shops. Restaurant food is often packed with extra butter, salt, and preservatives. Make sure your hotel has healthy food options on the menu.
  • Press pause – Things like overbooked flights and last-minute changes of plans can be stressful. If you encounter them, slow down for a few minutes, take some deep breaths, and try to clear your head. Walk it off if possible – around the block or the airport terminal. I find that a brisk walk can help put things in perspective.
  • Laugh a little – The benefits of laughter include lowering blood pressure, improving your immune system performance and reducing stress hormones. Interestingly, these positive effects are similar to having sex – I talk more about that here. Over the holidays, try to remember what truly matters: friends, fellowship, family. Surround yourself with people who make you smile.

Laugh a lot! When you laugh, your body releases endorphins which can make a happy holiday even happier.

Holiday weight gain? Sleep it off.

Only 40% of people get the recommended amount of sleep (7-9 hours) per night – and that’s when everything is going according to plan. Over the holidays, your sleep schedule can really go haywire. We spend more time celebrating and less time logging some serious zzzzs. Just one night of bad sleep can make you hungrier and inclined to eat more. Your plans for healthy holidays are all downhill. Short-term sleep loss can lead to increased caloric consumption. Even worse? Multiple studies suggest a link between chronic sleep deprivation and increased obesity risk over time. According to the CDC, people who get less than 7 hours of sleep a night are 24% more likely to be obese. And, the American Sleep Association says as much as 5% of obesity in adults may be attributable to sleep deprivation.

How to get a good night’s sleep when you’re waiting for the pitter-patter of reindeer feet?

  • Make sleep a priority – Insufficient sleep is linked to a broad array of chronic diseases and conditions. Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression top the list. Visits to the emergency room spike on Thanksgiving and Christmas days, in some areas, by as much as 12%. Many of these holiday patients present with injury or illnesses resulting from too little sleep.
  • Do not drive drowsy – We hear much about drunk driving. But a surprising number of auto accidents each year are caused by over-tired drivers. According to the CDC, an estimated 1 in 25 adults report having fallen asleep at the wheel in the last month. Over the holidays, these numbers are surely higher and, oftentimes, complicated by excessive alcohol consumption. So get the sleep you need and – if you don’t – surrender your keys to someone who has.
  • Unwind before bed – Stay away from devices and limit screen time. Save searches for last-minute gifts on Amazon for daylight hours.
  • Soak before you sleep – Try taking a warm bath before bed. There’s nothing I like more than lighting a lavender-scented candle and unwinding with an Epsom salt bath. After your soak, retire to a room that is dark and cool for optimal sleep.
  • Sleep and depression – Not getting enough sleep isn’t just bad for you physically. Lack of sleep can profoundly affect your mental health. The holidays are prime times for sleep disruption: you’re away from home, in an unfamiliar bed, and often not in control of your nightly routine. Sleep disturbance is one of the key symptoms of major depression so strive to maintain your personal bedtime rituals while you’re on the road.

Eat, drink, and be merry…within reason

For many, the holidays are a time where you grant yourself a free pass to indulge – the problems arise when you overindulge. Now, I’m not suggesting that you deprive yourself of your favorite seasonal delicacies. Each year when I am making stuffing, I forgo my typical healthy breakfast and indulge in a slice of pumpkin pie…I challenge anyone to stop me. However, taking a mindful approach to food and drink around the holidays is wise. Focus more on the fellowship and less on the food and you’ll have fewer regrets. You may actually get to know someone new or learn more about a distant cousin. Then when the parties are over, get back to your normal healthy routine as soon as possible.

How does one feast in moderation? One. Bite. At. A. Time.

  • Drink plenty of water – whenever possible, choose water over other beverage options. I always travel with my green tea bags since they’re caffeine-free and potent with antioxidants to oppose some of our inevitable poor holiday choices.
  • Watch your alcohol – it’s natural to want to celebrate during this festive time of year. Unfortunately, some revelers may drink to excess and, for many, this can lead to bad choices and even depression. The “holiday blues” are very real and can have dire consequences. Limit your alcohol intake and take in the good cheer instead.
  • Eat your own healthy food before heading out to holiday parties – if you’re already sated, you’re less likely to be tempted to overdo it. If you overindulge at all, let it be on charity and the love you share with your family and friends.
  • Contribute a healthy dish – bring along your signature fall vegetable casserole or a colorful salad. Every year I bake sweet potatoes with cinnamon and nutmeg. Why drown a perfect vegetable in syrup and marshmallows?
  • Pack your supplements in advance – I double my probiotic dosage to boost my immune system, aid digestion, and to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Don’t forget your daily dose of D. During fall and winter months when sunlight is scarce and we spend less time outdoors, Vitamin D is especially crucial. Learn more about this multitasking nutrient here.
  • Live a little – if you love your mom’s cornbread stuffing then, by all means, have a serving. Treat it like the once-a-year special exception that it is.

Baby, it’s cold outside. Take advantage of it! The holidays are the best time of the year for snow angels.

Workout your bod and your mood for healthy holidays

When you’re at home, you’ve got your exercise routine down pat – that’s the goal, anyway. But, over the holidays, you’re not always in control of your schedule. You’re often subjected to unexpected delays and complications. As our to-do lists grow ever longer, many of us exercise less and less. The last thing you want is more stress and, for many of us, trying to maintain our usual workout program does just that. At the same time, staying active gives you the necessary energy and peace of mind to mitigate both stress and offset some of those extra calories you’re eating. Most important, exercise is an all-natural means to keep depressive symptoms at bay during a time when many struggle most from mental health concerns.

How do you  stay active and stay in the holiday spirit at the same time?

  • Keep your eyes open – Wherever your travels take you, stay on the lookout for walking, running, or hiking trails nearby.
  • Bring a workout plan with you – Pack resistance bands or, if you have a laptop, bring your favorite yoga DVD so you can spend some downtime on your mat. When I travel, I pack my portable OYO double flex and squeeze in a workout when I find a spare minute. And no, I am not a paid spokesperson; I simply love this piece of equipment. And I’m in good company: the OYO was engineered for astronauts to maintain muscle mass while in space.
  • Wear running shoes whenever possible – You never know when you’ll find a 15-20-minute window for a walk. You want to be ready at all times. After dinner is a perfect time for an excursion and it will give you a chance to catch up with family and friends.
  • Organize team sports – Like football, soccer, or basketball so you can get the whole family moving. Group activities can help clear your head and reduce stress.
  • Volunteer to help with household chores – Things like raking leaves, carrying suitcases, or entertaining nieces and nephews who are hopped up on sugary treats allow you to burn calories and lend a helping hand at the same time.
  • Put on your dancing shoes – If there’s a dance floor at the company Christmas party, get your butt out there and shake it. Dancing burns up to 8 calories per minute…so get out on the floor and move. You’ll burn calories and steer clear of the buffet at the same time.
  • Get over yourself – So what if you can’t get in your daily 5-mile run while you’re visiting your in-laws? Don’t let it ruin your stay. Simply get back to your routine as soon as you get home.

Serenity now. Serenity now…Strategies for hosting and guesting

Whether you’re the party thrower or the party guest, healthy holiday entertaining requires you to be flexible, resourceful, and above all gracious. Once again, planning is essential for avoiding stress and putting together a special night for your loved ones. But, no matter how well you’ve thought it through, be prepared for things not to go as planned. That’s half the fun – just roll with it.

How do you entertain without feeling drained?

  • Have a backup plan – Always have a plan B. No matter what the occasion. Call in advance to see if any of your guests have dietary restrictions or allergies. So many people today are lactose intolerant and gluten-free. Save yourself some undue stress by preparing (or purchasing) an assortment of dishes to accommodate their needs.
  • Delegate, delegate, delegate – You don’t have to be a hero. Most people actually like to feel useful. Make sure to spread the responsibilities around whether it’s sending someone to pick up celebratory libations or letting the kids arrange a makeshift centerpiece from the pine cones they found in the yard. You’ll be less stressed when you let others get involved.
  • It’s ok not to be perfect – If someone arrives with an unexpected guest, simply pull up a folding chair and make room for that exchange student who’s far from home. American holidays are a wonderful cultural experience for all of us to share. If you must surrender your own Christmas china for a paper plate, you’ll represent the embodiment of grace and the spirt of giving.
  • De-stress with aromatherapy – My holiday go-to’s are cinnamon, nutmeg, bergamot, and frankincense. Besides simply smelling amazing, essential oils are calming and have a multitude of health benefits. Essential oils can even provide support for your thyroid. For the millions of Americans with thyroid disorders the holidays can be especially stressful. If you’re concerned that you’re suffering from an undiagnosed thyroid problem, here’s a post that may help you get the help you need.
  • Give yourself a break – If you’re not feeling social, it’s ok to sit out an event. Just make sure you call your host and cancel and maybe send a nice gift. You know your limits. It’s up to you to honor them.

Now, you’re armed with the tools for a healthy holiday season. Get out there and share your cheer as you ring in the new year!

How Money, Media, and Mental Health are Making Millennial Life Less Sexy

More than fifty years after the sexual revolution, sex in America is in a free fall – especially among young adults who historically have the most sex. The children of baby boomers – who revolutionized American sexuality during the 1960s – engage in far less sex than their parents. Millennials not only do it less but they lose their virginity later than their parents and Generation X. The share of Americans saying they’ve had no sex in the past year is rising. Perhaps most surprising, young adults top this list.

Some have called these trends a “sexual counter-revolution”.They contend that, during the sixties, we saw a freeing up of attitudes towards sex. Whereas flower children pushed back at boundaries, millennials almost crave them. Now, sexual fear has replaced sexual freedom. Children have always rebelled against their parents. But, typically, they do so by upping the stakes. Today, young people are countering the freedom of boomers with a new more puritanical approach to sex.

Casualties of the “sexual counter-revolution”

Many factors are at play in the decline in sexual behavior among millennials – from social media to social anxiety. I recently attended an Anti-Aging Academy of America (A4M) conference. I was shocked to learn that 33% of millennials are infertile. This figure applies to both young men and women. And the consequences are dire. I see some sociological and health ramifications that are as clear as day:

  • less and later marriage – later marriage means greater difficulty conceiving
  • plummeting birth rates – in the U.S., lower than they’ve been in 30 years
  • libidos on the slide – largely the result of the hypothyroid epidemic
  • difficult pregnancies and more miscarriages – older parents encounter more challenges conceiving
  • lower testosterone which leads to lower sperm count. For solutions for low testosterone, read more here.
  • erectile dysfunction – yes, even among millennial males, 25% experience intermittent ED. To learn how we can treat ED, go here.
  • more mental health issues – anti-depressant and anti-anxiety prescriptions remain at an all-time high

So, the whole “Netflix and chill” thing?

Both young adult men and women struggle with these new sexual health challenges. So, all that talk you hear about “Netflix and chilling”? It may be just that – talk. In real life, millennials are binge-watching more and more and, um, “chilling” less and less.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Less sex has lead to much positive social change – from fewer unplanned pregnancies to broadening the public discourse. Millennials have pushed issues of consent, sexual harassment, and rape to the forefront. Never before have we seen such unprecedented acceptance of LGBTQ community.  

Wait. What? Millennials aren’t hooking up like mad?

Yep. You read that right. Despite the buzz about “hookup culture,” from 2004-2012, young adults did the deed no more than their counterparts from 1988-1996. They were, however, less likely to be in steady relationships with their sexual partners. According to the General Social Survey, some 18- to 30-year-olds don’t do it at all. Time magazine puts the figure at one in three 20-somethings who have never had sex at all. Rather than sleeping around, many millennials focus on getting ahead.

No sex at all? What gives?

Explanations for this phenomenon abound – experts blame everything, including:

  • more time spent on smartphones and other devices
  • the millennial trend of living with their parents
  • anxiety about the future and anxiety in general
  • fear of missing out (FOMO) magnified by social media

While millennials may not be doing it in record numbers, they do their Sex Ed homework online.

The possibility that millennial conceptions of what constitutes “having sex” may skew the results. Anecdotally, in my practice, I’ve seen a rise in oral sex – especially among young adult patients. Even so, these numbers indicate an undeniable cooling off of sexual conduct.

Are millennials the most cautious generation?

If boomers are the sexiest generation, millennials are the most cautious by a landslide. Helicopter parents raised their millennial children to be risk-averse. From birth, they wore helmets and fastened seatbelts. But, risk-taking plays a major part in sexual experimentation. With unprecedented access to information about sex via the internet, millennials could easily learn about pregnancy risks and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Such access made an already anxious and serious generation more so. No generation before possessed so much awareness about sexuality and so little real-life experience.

Millennials grew up in the shadow of HIV and informed about STDs. When boomers had their day in the sun, such fears were nonexistent. Free love really felt freeing. Not for millennials, who use condoms more than boomers ever did. I see this positive pattern in my practice, as well.

Risk-averse over risky business

The millennial generation may view their parents’ comparatively fast and loose behavior as a cautionary tale. One they then apply when making their own life choices. These cautious millennials not only have less sexual partners than boomers. They also limit all sorts of risky behaviors:

  • millennials drink less – what once a rite of passage, they now consider reckless
  • they smoke less – the popularity of vaping may change this
  • teenage pregnancy rates have dipped dramatically – and condom use is up
  • they commit less crimes – 20 years ago, people committed double the number of crimes

Money and marriage: Are millennials choosing salaries over sex?

Some posit that sharing a roof with their parents accounts for the nosedive in sex among millennials. For the first time in over a century, more young adults live at home with parents than with a spouse or partner. Married people have greater access to sex than single people. Indeed, marrieds engage in more sex, more often. Since millennials tend to marry later, a decrease in sexual participation makes sense.

Studies show that, globally, millennials log some serious hours. Many are virtually married to their careers. So much so that they work crazy hours for job security and moving up the corporate ladder. The emphasis on preparing first for college and now for careers came at a cost. Many millennials simply missed out on romantic relationships and age-appropriate sexual experimentation. Just the behaviors that typically lead to marriage.

Millennials have an historically low marriage rate. And, obviously, since married people are less likely to be virgins than the non-married, it follows that a decline in marriage means an increase in virginity.

Monetary factors in declining marriage rates:

  • More and more women enroll in college and join the workforce before having children or getting married. The average age of first marriage for females in the U.S. has climbed to 27. Up from 23 in 1990, according to Pew statistics.
  • Millennial males remain less likely to hold down a job than the generation before them. However, women their age work at higher rates.
  • Student loan debt is through the roof, hitting the $1 trillion mark six years ago. Many millennials can barely keep their heads above water.
  • Some millennials may simply be more selective than past generations. Selectivity is not necessarily a bad thing. With increased economic participation, women play a more active part in the mate selection process than in the past.
  • Their baby boomer parents enjoyed free love but also suffered high divorce rates. Divorce is rarely cheap and often the result of financial friction.

Postponing marriage until you’ve got serious bank sounds smart. But it may impact your ability to conceive.

Making relationships work involves many facets – and money plays a fundamental part. However, putting off marriage until you get your financial house in order may impact your chance of conceiving. Later marriage correlates directly to women having babies later in life. Among those experiencing difficulty conceiving – and this number is higher than you think – many look into fertility treatments later, too.

Screen time vs. sexy time: New media and sexuality

Millennials grew up with new media pervading every aspect of their lives. The proliferation of smartphones and increased screen time undermine the development of non-virtual relationships. Today, we are witnessing a sexual disconnect not seen in prior generations. New technology encourages millennials to devote time to social media, video games, pornography and other virtual distractions. And spend less time with their human peers in person. Less flesh-and-blood encounters mean less sex.

Social media also contributes to the decline in sexual intimacy among millennials. According to the Pew Research Institute, 88% of 18- to 29-year-olds scroll away their days on social media. A majority report visiting Instagram every day. And 38% report visiting the app multiple times per day. Simply getting a “like” of one’s social media postings triggers a dopamine bump. This bump simulates an addiction cycle similar to drugs.

During their spare time, many millennials are choosing their screens over sex and selecting their devices over dating.

More media, more problems

Social media also takes a toll on millennials’ self-esteem. Seeing peers portrayed with flawless bodies, accomplishing enviable milestones, and advertising “perfect” love lives, amplifies feelings of insecurity. Social media rewards such displays with digital applause. While the less secure online spiral toward mental health issues, body dysmorphic disorders, and social isolation.

Those in previous generations found their stimulation face-to-face. Millennials continually immersed in an electronic world experience no human contact of any kind. A recent study found that, contrary to popular belief, older populations aren’t at the highest risk of feeling lonely. In fact, loneliness peaks among teenagers and young adults. Social isolation often dovetails with low self-esteem, particularly among young adults.

Dating apps and sexual appetites

Meanwhile, finding sex outside of relationships has never been easier. Dating apps allow singles to hookup with multiple partners – in shifts throughout the day, if they desire. With the help of smartphones, partnered-up people can keep illicit liaisons secret from their partners in ways not imaginable before. Extramarital sex is more widely accepted among millennials than any age group. In a recent study, compared to older generations, millennials reported the lowest disapproval of infidelity at 75 percent.

For millennial singles, online dating leaves much to be desired as well. Researcher Jean Twenge, a millennials-expert tells the Washington Post that the prominence of online dating contributes dramatically to their slumping rates of sexual activity. Twenge points the finger at dating apps’ emphasis on physical appearance which “leaves out a large section of the population.” This superficial component leaves many feeling left out and less likely to risk the emotional damage that comes with rejection. Many millennials would rather be safe and solo than suffer the consequences of “catching feelings.”

Many single millennials would rather be safe and solo than risk rejection or the possibility of “catching feelings.”

Porn and performance. Yes, they’re related.

Pornography is pervasive. No doubt about it. And its consumption is on the rise, especially among millennial males. But female viewers are picking up steam. Recent research team looked at shifting attitudes and behaviors surrounding porn from 1973 to 2012. The findings, published in the Journal of Sex Research, confirm porn viewership is escalating among young adults. Popular adult site, Pornhub, saw its viewership grow from 10 million daily visits in 2009 to 25 million in 2012. In 2017, 75 million viewers got their kicks on the site. A significant leap by any standards.

Increased pornography consumption represents a serious factor in declining millennial sexual behavior. Young men particularly dedicate a significant amount of screen time to virtual sex rather than the real thing. Twenge accounts for such devotion to porn like this: “Why risk rejection, sexually transmitted diseases, relationship arguments or having to meet up with someone when you can watch porn in the privacy of your own bedroom and do things your way?” I’ve got more on the increase in “self-love,” below. Keep reading for that.

How does porn affect sexual performance?

Excessive porn viewing affects more than the mental wellbeing of millennials – it also affects physical performance. Sexual perfectionism represents an emerging problem. One firmly rooted in watching porn. Young men and women expect real-world sex to be seamless…just like it appears to be in the porn they’ve watched since they were teens. In reality, sex is messy and unpredictable. Sexual perfectionism can lead to all types of sexual dysfunction in men and in women. Serious issues like from the inability to orgasm to erectile dysfunction.

I’m not in the mood: Millennial sexuality and mental health

It’s not hard to imagine how the challenges of 21st-century life would spawn an epidemic of anxiety among this generation. A survey published earlier this year by the American Psychiatry Association found that millennials are by far the most anxious generation. Women tend to be more anxious than men, and people of color scored 11 points higher on the anxiety scale than Caucasians. Millennials are reporting these and other mental health conditions at higher rates than any generation before. Such awareness may not necessarily mean that they are suffering any more than their previous generations. However, they are considerably more vocal – and less judgmental – when it comes to mental health.

For the “anxious generation,” life in a digital world is complicated and many millennials feel overwhelmed. Constantly. All of the benefits of technology come at a toll. Higher educational demands and pressure to earn hefty incomes also lead to an inflated quest for perfection. Because they spend so much time online, millennials cannot resist the urge to compare their personal and professional achievements to everyone else’s. This practice leads to low self-esteem, insecurity, and a host of other unhealthy mental habits.

Is sexual perfectionism a thing?

Specifically, a dramatic increase in perfectionism – even when it comes to sex. Perfectionism often manifests as a fear of failure – or not performing constantly at your best. Fear of failure in the bedroom is very real. I talked about sexual perfectionism above and I hear these concerns from my patients almost daily. Taking pharmaceuticals is not always the solution and, in some instances, may even compound problems.

One in six Americans are on antidepressants, and the rate is even higher among millennials. Many medications used to treat anxiety and depression decrease libido and sexual activity.

If that’s not depressing, I don’t know what is. For those of us in the medical profession, now is the time to start having different conversations with our patients.

Millennials are doing their Sex Ed homework

Millennials may not be hitting the sheets en masse. They are, nevertheless, highly informed about sexuality. Since most millennials grew up with easy internet access, the way they learned about sex differs vastly from past generations. Whereas boomers had their first intimate encounter with a Playboy magazine, many millennials found early thrills online.

Sure, both generations likely heard some version of “the talk” from their parents. However, millennials could consult Google for any follow-up questions rather than press their parents for embarrassing details. Millennials are also a more open and less judgmental group. They came of age with important issues like LGBTQ rights, consent, and sex positivity as part of the national conversation.

Self-love is the ultimate in safe sex. And the most “cautious generation” is practicing more than most.

Self-love is de-stigmatized

And “self-love” is broadly accepted. The stigma surrounding masturbation has never been less pronounced. Across all generations, millennials masturbate the most often. A recent study comparing the “self-love” practices between the generations found:

  • Millennials masturbate an average of 18 times per month
  • Gen Xers get after it about 13 times per month
  • Boomers loosen their own belts about 7 times monthly

Most millennials openly discuss masturbation and routinely enlist the help of sex toys. Some even identify as “solosexual,” meaning that they engage exclusively in solo sex rather than sex with partners.

Say what you will about the millennials but at least the “cautious generation” is practicing safe sex. And lots of it.

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