Ever wondered what happens to your body during a steamy session between the sheets? From the good (happy hormones! increased sensitivity!) to the not-so-good (increased risk of urinary tract infections, for example), here are eight things that happen when you’re having $ex.
1. Happy hormones are released. $ex stimulates the secretion of hormones such as oxytocin, which makes you feel connected to others, and dopamine, which activates the brain’s reward center. The result: You feel satisfied and close to your partner.
2. Blood vessels widen. What do dilated blood vessels do for you? “Your clitoris and vulva become engorged, as do the vessels in the vaginal wall,” says urologist and $exual-health expert Jennifer Berman, MD. “This leads to more secretions and lubrication.” Your face and chest can also download flushed.
3. Sensitivity skyrockets. Your erogenous zones, including the Tips, ears, neck, and genital area, become extra sensitive because of increased blood flow and the release of sensation-enhancing neurotransmitters.
4. Bacteria may build up. During $ex, bacteria from the vagina and anus can download into the urethra and multiply, leading to a urinary tract infection. Tip: Pee immediately after the act to flush out bacteria.
5. You burn (some) calories. A study in The New England Journal of Medicine found that a 154-pound person would burn 21 calories during six minutes of $exual activity. So a roll in the sack isn’t as effective as spin class, but a $exy half hour could torch around 100 calories.
6. Your heart races. Like any aerobic activity, $ex raises your heart rate. It peaks when you orgasm and settles back to its baseline within 10 to 20 minutes, research shows.
7. Your muscles tense. “During orgasm, the pelvic floor muscles involuntarily contract,” says Dr. Berman. Actively tensing and releasing those muscles during $ex can help boost engorgement, arousal, and pleasure. Kegels, anyone?
8. You feel relaxed. Your big O may be the ultimate chill pill: Orgasms trigger an increase in prolactin, a calming hormone that reaches its highest levels when we’re asleep.