As if having an orgasm wasn’t enough motivation, sex can also be a major stress reliever, especially if you’re practicing mindfulness and using specific positions. Orgasms cause your body to release endorphins that help you get rid of the stress-causing hormone cortisol. Endorphins have a chemical structure that is similar to morphine, which can help control the body’s response to stress and boost your mood in the process.
A study published in Biological Psychology discovered that sexual activity can help prevent increases in blood pressure during stressful times. While this effect was more noticeable in people who were having penetrative sex, non-penetrative activity and solo play can also help you stay calm. So with that in mind, here are seven sex positions for stress relief.
1. Set the Mood
Lighting candles, especially if you pay attention to which scents you’re using, does more than set a romantic mood for a sexy time. It can also be really effective for helping you relax and destress. Scents like lavender, rosemary, sage, sandalwood, or orange can all help relax you or relieve anxiety. Since stress is the number one libido killer, you might have to be proactive. What does that mean? Instead of waiting for desire to come to you (which is sometimes called “spontaneous desire”), you take the lead and do things that will turn you on. Things like watching porn, reading erotica, using a sex toy on yourself, or even putting a stimulating oil on an erogenous zone and letting it make things sensitive.
In this position, one person gets behind the other and can stimulate them with hands or by penetration. This position is great to enhance intimacy and the feeling of being held can be incredibly comforting and stress-relieving. This is also a great position for edging or incorporating toys.
Sometimes comfort is key! Missionary is a classic for a reason. It’s great for reducing stress because most people are so familiar and comfortable with it. When you are most relaxed, you are more likely to reach orgasm, which releases hormones that can help with stress.
If you’re the receiver when you’re doing it doggy-style, you can really let go and let your partner take control. In this position, let the animalistic side out and let the grunts and moans out. Don’t be afraid to really get into it – that’s the whole point. This position can be particularly cathartic to let out some pent-up stress and emotions. If you want a more connected experience, lay down on the bed and have more skin-to-skin contact while you’re having sex in a modified doggy position. Focusing on physical touch can help ground you in the present.
In lotus position, one partner sits while the other partner straddles them. Or, if you’re able to, your partner can sit cross-legged and then you sit in their lap facing them with your legs wrapped around their lower back and your arms around each other.
This position can be particularly intimate because couples can gaze into each other’s eyes, kiss deeply, or synchronize their breathing to help connect more deeply. Practicing these elements focuses you so you can get lost in the intimate power of mindful sex. It also offers great G-spot stimulation and the opportunity to take more control by setting the pace and depth.
6. Any physically demanding position
The more challenging a position is physically and the more concentration it needs, the easier it will be to forget whatever is stressing you out, because your mind will be focused on what your body is doing. That position might be standing and holding your partner while penetrating them, or maybe it’s the wheelbarrow position or riding on top.
You can also just add more stimulation in the form of a vibrator, a dildo, a butt plug, or even just a feather tickler. If you’re looking for a distraction, why not try something totally new and exciting to get your mind completely off the topic that’s stressing you out?
7. Pleasure above all else
Being so focused on reaching orgasm can be counterproductive. So let your stress relief goal be pleasure before anything else. Prioritize things that feel good for your body and treat it all as self-care.
Sex and orgasms can help with stress relief but, unfortunately, it’s not a guaranteed cure-all for what’s bothering you. RIf your stress is affecting your daily life it might be time to reexamine what’s causing your stress or speak to a mental health professional who can help with stress-reduction and management tips.