With Valentine’s Day today, it seems fitting today to talk about self love, particularly for us as women. Yes, this Hallmark Holiday can, and should, be celebrated by all the single ladies too! Self love is an all-encompassing term that impacts all the areas of our lives that we can put focus and energy into.  It is the care and nurturing of our physical well-being, our spiritual selves, our mental and emotional health, and our sexual health as well.

In the late 90’s I had the privilege of speaking to thousands of women and countless couples of all sexual orientations about intimacy; covering a wide range of topics from the importance of making that connection in relationships to the significant impact of it on our personal well being. I very quickly amassed a collection of stories and experiences from other women, men and couples and shared that knowledge as far and as wide and as often as I could.

Discussions often centered around the importance of making time to connect with your partner intimately, exchanging that energy between two people in a way that didn’t happen with anyone else (within a monogamous relationship).

Often, the conversations became about the importance of taking care of our individual sexual health, especially as women and especially when we don’t have a partner regularly participating! It is not uncommon for us as women, from caregivers to entrepreneurs, to put our families and careers ahead of our own needs to the point that we crawl into bed exhausted at night and wake up running in the morning – leaving very little time to nurture ourselves. In doing so, we may be negatively impacting our bodies in ways that we don’t even realize!

Case in point: there was an interesting article written in February of last year that discussed the potential health benefits of sexual pleasure through triggering the release of “feel good” hormones and chemicals.1 For example, oxytocin released from sexual activities can promote relaxation and lower stress hormones like cortisol.  Oxytocin also promotes behaviors associated with happiness and supports overall well-being and healing. Dopamine is connected to improved mood, but also improved focus, concentration and, according to Wright and Jenks, 2016:

Sexually active men and women, aged 50 to 89, have significantly higher scores on the number sequencing and recall tests than sexually inactive men and women.2

And don’t we all want to work against dementia and Alzheimer’s!

Additionally, the article explains that the release of other hormones like adrenaline and prolactin through sexual pleasure, along with chemicals like endorphins, can lead to other health benefits including improved sleep, reduced blood pressure, improved self-esteem, reduced stress and improved sexual function. Endorphins are also painkillers and prolactin plays a role in immune function. Both are aided by neurotransmitters called endocannabinoids (AEA and 2-AG) that will additionally help regulate processes like metabolism, cardiovascular function, anxiety and depression.

DID YOU KNOW: Cannabidiol (CBD) acts on our body’s endocannabinoid system, helping to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation; which in turn can enhance our most intimate moments.

Whether it’s a CBD-infused oil for a relaxing massage, leisurely bath with a fragrant bath bomb, or some me-time (or we-time) with a sensuous personal lubricant; making intimacy a focus in your day today, and in more days going forward, can reap benefits outside the bedroom!

1. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/masturbation-effects-on-brain

2. Wright H, Jenks RA. Sex on the brain! Associations between sexual activity and cognitive function in older age. Age Ageing. 2016 Mar;45(2):313-7. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afv197. Epub 2016 Jan 28. PMID: 26826237; PMCID: PMC4776624.