Sex is an important part of most people’s life, and can add to a sense of well-being. Having sex releases feel-good chemicals that boost your mood, reduce stress, improve sleep and relieve pain.

However, if you are feeling sexually frustrated it may be worth talking to a therapist or getting treatment for depression as this can help.

Physical Intimacy

Physical intimacy is sensual closeness that involves emotional and physical contact. It can include kissing, touching, hugging and cuddling. It can also include sex, though it may be part of a nonsexual relationship. For example, you might hold hands with your partner when going for a walk or snuggle together while watching a movie.

Sex can be a way to show affection, and it can boost your mood and feelings of closeness. However, sexual arousal and orgasm do not necessarily lead to intimate moments immediately afterward.

In fact, the intimacy-desire link decreases as the time lag between intimacy and desire increases. At longer time lags, the relationship between intimacy and sexual desire is no longer significant. The study found this pattern for both men and women.


Arousal refers to increased physiological activity inside the body including heart rate and perspiration. It’s the feeling that you’re energized, alert, and ready to go.

Sexual arousal is another form of arousal that involves the physical sensations of being turned on. It includes erection of the nipples, swelling of the testes and vaginal lubrication.

Arousal can be a great thing, if it is optimally regulated. But if you are overstimulated, it can decrease your motivation and performance. This is known as the Yerkes-Dodson law. Arousal can also transfer from one event to another, influencing approach behaviors. For example, people who are happy when their university basketball team wins a tournament can turn that joy into aggression by rioting in the streets.


The sex we experience can make us feel good physically, emotionally, and socially. Pleasure is a powerful motivator that can help us achieve goals, including healthy habits.

The fact that diligent introspection often fails to disclose a momentary feeling cognitively is not decisive against the possibility of pleasure as a single experiential kind, as Sidgwick thought; Ryle found it a behavioral disposition; and Feldman a pure propositional attitude like belief, whose contents may vary.

Rather, contemporary philosophers might argue that, as with other bordering mental states, pleasure is sometimes integrated and bound to a particular content or object but sometimes seems to be an underlying stance of openness toward experiences generally (and their contents) that can waver. Nevertheless, this view might be too narrow in its focus on what makes an experience pleasurable.

Unexpected Outcomes

A great sex life doesn’t just help you feel good, it can also boost your self-esteem. This is because sex reduces stress hormones and increases the production of mood-boosting endorphins, which can improve your outlook.

On the flip side, a lack of intimacy can lead to sexual frustration and depression. And if you’re struggling to cope with your feelings, seeking help may be the answer.

In addition to sex therapy, you can take steps to boost your mood outside of the bedroom, like getting enough sleep and exercise. Exercise can stimulate arousal and boost your circulation, while a good night’s sleep is key for mood stability. And don’t forget about healthy nutrition and a positive mindset. INSIDER’s guide to improving your sex life has more tips to try.

Taking the Pressure Out

It’s important to remember that sex is more than just the physical act. Cuddling, laughter, clumsiness, creativity and differing levels of desire are part of the experience too. Reminding yourself of this can decrease anxieties and intrusive thoughts and increase pleasure, connection and intimacy.

If you are feeling frustrated by a lack of libido it may be a sign of depression and you should talk to your doctor about this and possible treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy which can help with mood and anxiety. Some antidepressants can also affect libido so make sure to discuss the side effects with your doctor.

Research shows that sex ushers in a rush of feel-good chemicals that can improve mood, lower stress, boost libido and promote overall health. It can help with everything from sleep, appetite and memory to sex drive and sexual enjoyment.