By Anna Elena Berlin
Certified Professional Coach, Experience of Life Researcher
Is there a more complex subject than that of intimacy? As humans we are built for connection, we even come out of the womb connected to our mothers. Here at Lakeside it’s a popular topic over meals and drinks, whenever people meet and talk. But, it’s rarely understood. Most of us deeply desire it even though we may not understand our own feelings about it, let alone those of anyone else.
We elders seem especially challenged by how to fill the hole that our need for intimacy has created deep within us. No longer fueled by the raging hormones of youth, negative self issues take over working to deprive some of what many believe is the best part of being alive. “Am I attractive enough”, “am I worthy enough,” “will I be hurt again” and a whole lot of other stories we tell ourselves that only serve to keep us from this joyful experience of life.
The lucky among us recognize that having a significant other to cherish helps them to feel more alive, content, and fulfilled. I know lots of fine and worthy people that would like nothing better than to have love in their lives. Others, however, aren’t aware that this is the source of their dissatisfaction or that it’s hiding in their subconscious mind. Even knowing does not make coming together with a good match any easier.
According to the book Fear of Intimacy, “The ideal combination of loving companionship and sexual contact in a long lasting relationship is conducive to good mental and physical health and is an essential goal for most people. Love is the one force that is capable of easing existential despair and the endemic pain of the human condition. To develop emotionally as well as spiritually, one needs to learn how to love, to continue to search for love throughout life, and to remain positive, not become cynical or despairing when love fails.”
Then there are the illnesses and disabilities for which experimenting with new positions for intercourse is healthy and desirable. For those that this won’t work for there is something called “outer-course” which refers to sensual activities like kissing, hugging, caressing, etc. This form of connection is ideal for those that want to feel young at heart despite health and physical limitations.
Chronic illness affects sexual and orgasmic dysfunction more than aging alone does. Chronically ill individuals experience greater deterioration in sexual and orgasmic quality at any age. Reasons for stopping sexual activity differs a lot between men and women, with loss of a partner in women and deteriorating health in men being the primary ones.
It is essential to know that many can heal and recover from chronic illness if they choose to focus their attention and efforts to treatments that assist the body to heal the way that it was naturally designed to. If for no other reason than to regain intimacy, healing and strengthening the body is more than worthwhile for the richness it adds to your experience of life.
Below are Web MD’s 10 Surprising Health Benefits of Sex:
1. People who have sex have higher levels of what defends your body against germs, viruses, and other intruders.
2. Having sex will make sex better and improve your libido. For women, having sex ups vaginal lubrication, blood flow, and elasticity, all of which make sex feel better and help you crave more of it.
3. Good sex is like a workout for your pelvic floor muscles and important for avoiding female incontinence.
4. Research suggests a link between sex and lower blood pressure.
5. Sex is a really great form of exercise.
6. Sex is a great way to raise your heart rate and helps balance estrogen and testosterone levels, low levels can cause osteoporosis and heart disease.
7. An orgasm can block pain. It releases a hormone that helps raise your pain threshold.
8. Men who ejaculated frequently (at least 21 times a month) are less likely to get prostate cancer.
9. After orgasm the hormone prolactin is released, producing feelings of relaxation and sleepiness.
10. Being close to your partner can soothe stress and anxiety, touching and hugging releases a lot of oxytocin, your body’s natural “feel-good hormone.” Sexual arousal releases a brain chemical that revs up your brain’s pleasure and reward system.
Finally in a study conducted at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital in Scotland found that those who were enjoying lots of intimacy with a steady partner—four times a week, on average—were perceived to be 7 to 12 years younger than their actual age. Regular sex promotes the release of hormones which can keep your body looking young and vital.
Sex and intimacy boost your self-esteem and happiness. It’s not only a prescription for a healthy life, but a happy one.