Valentine’s mood is still here and what better way to crown it by exploring one of the most fundamental basic needs — sex.
Last month, a study conducted and analysed in Canada, linked regular sexual activity to emotional wellbeing, reduced migraine pain and even a lower risk of prostate cancer.
The Canadian researchers’ findings chime with past survey by the British Heart Foundation. The cardiovascular centre confirmed that 30 minutes of daily sex is as good for you as brisk walking.
Buried deep in its realm, sex offers a workout for the heart and lungs. Hormones released effectively engulf stress. The trifecta is made complete by the fact that sex catalyses production of new brain cells.
IT IS HOLY
“It was created by God; it is holy and right and meant for both man and woman to enjoy as they live in a committed union,” states Pastor Barnabas Achoki, a clergy at a Nairobi-based evangelical church.
The subject of sex — for a very long time — has been the outright anathema in our society (and in majority of Africa). Our days as children growing up were poignantly devoid of the right conversations. The yardstick has always haunted us back when the children become adults and have to play ‘mom and dad’.
As sex is intricately interwoven into the survival of humanity as well as the society, debate is opening up.
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As it turns out, a romp between the sheets — in its own way — offers palliative benefits.
GIFT FROM GOD
“Sex is healthy,” concurs pastor Achoki, who, together with his wife, specialise on marital counselling. “Most of illnesses are actually as a result of some form of psychological imbalance connected to intimacy. Sex may actually hold a solution to many of these illnesses — it has to be clear though, that it is only for legally married individuals.”
His wife Grace adds: “It is a gift from God: He understood why He created it and that it would be important for both husband and wife. Through sex, a couple is able to synch. They are connected emotionally and they feel fulfilled in their bodies. Scientifically, we know that feel good hormones are released — which contribute in different ways to psychological, emotional and physical health.”
Dr John Ong’ech, a practicing gynaecologist at Kenyatta National Hospital, is objectively clear on the benefits of sex. “With the right person, at the right place, and at the right time, sex has lots of benefits. I can equate sex to a session at the gym. It’s a form of exercise that aids your body because of its physical nature. A combination of chemicals released into the blood stream during sex and at climax contribute very much to being healthy; lowered cholesterol levels, good blood pressure, cardiovascular fitness and emotional conditioning.”
Married for more than eleven years, John and Mildred Rotich still find awe at the prospect of hitting the sack. They hold a unanimous thought: “It is pure goodness.”
Every time he has hit a snag going about life, John confesses to finding solace and relief in getting together with his wife. After a burnout session of tantalising oneness, John’s muscles are upbeat with just the right amount of “energy and power to get me through the day.”
Mildred, on the other hand, can allude to joie de vivre — the joy of relaxation and emotional relief.
She conjectures: “There are times I come home feeling depressed and very low. At such times, I don’t want to work, handle the children or do any chores. The one thing I crave for is my husband’s approval and closeness — to tell me that I am still beautiful and desirable.”
A steamy evening and private dinner would ultimately smother her nefarious thinking and proffer some peace of mind.
The added plus for women is a toning effect on the muscles in the pelvic floor. “A stronger pelvic floor also reduces the risk of incontinence, which affects quite a number of women ageing towards menopause,” says Dr Ong’ech.
“New brain cells?” you are probably wondering.
Yes. Just last month, another team of scientists at the University of Maryland in the United States discovered that middle-aged rats made more brain cells after mating.
The process, known as neurogenesis, is thought to restore brain function lost through ageing.
For Wahu Kagwi, the Kenyan songstress married to showbiz bigwig David Mathenge (Nameless), intimacy has a profound effect on her general wellbeing.
“It is true that sex has restorative value,” she says. “It’s a fun thing for married couples. You put a good sweat out and exercise amidst the fulfillment.”
Wahu admits that at times, after a bad day, she has recaptured the sparkle — ultimately after a romp with her beau.
“Intimacy draws us close to each other. After every moment of being together we blossom in a glow. It’s always a good experience,” she concludes.
Susan Wachira, a counselling psychologist at East Church in Westlands, goes further to suggest that at times, men and women who act and behave stressed at work, are merely reacting to low amounts of intimacy or lack thereof. “With today’s schedules of work and parenting, a couple’s sex life may take a dive to the ground. This, more often than not, manifests emotionally and psychologically — even at work. Many don’t realise it but sometimes a solution to a happier life is reigniting the lost intimacy with your spouse,” says Susan.
And while women can revel in a toned pelvic muscle, men have reasons to celebrate tenfold for a good sex life.
According to a study from Nottingham University, regular sex has a connection to lowered risk of prostate cancer. The researchers questioned 840 men about their sexual histories, concluding that those who kept up a regular sex life in their 50s — ejaculating more than ten times a month — were at a lowered risk of prostate cancer, the most common form of cancer in Kenyan men.
A study published in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour, conducted by Stuart Brody, professor of Psychology specialising in sexual behaviour at the University of the West of Scotland confirmed that sex is a stress reliever.
“Couples who have sex at least once over two weeks, were better able to manage the stress of public speaking and recorded lower blood pressure.
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