Physical Intimacy After Divorce: A Cause for Nervousness or Joy?
After your divorce, there will come a time when you start thinking about having a sexual relationship with someone new. This can be an exciting time for new singles. It can also feel a little uncomfortable.
Sex with someone new after going so long sleeping with the same person brings its own anxieties. You may be self-conscious about your body, sexual skillset, or about connecting with someone new in such an intimate way. You may cry, feel vulnerable, angry, excited, or even disappointed afterward.
This is all part of the process.
There’s no doubt that being physically intimate after getting divorced is scary. It can also have many positive effects on your confidence and overall wellness. Here are five important facts you should know about physical intimacy and what it does for your post-divorce mindset.
1. You’re Going to Feel Conflicted
Even if you’re jumping for joy to finally be separated from your ex, being with someone new may bring up a host of confusing emotions.
It can be nerve-wracking to be intimate with a new partner after your divorce. Your marriage obviously had its issues, but you still felt comfortable getting naked in front of your partner. You also knew each other’s sexual likes and dislikes.
Being physically intimate with someone new after your divorce can also be heartbreaking if you weren’t the one who wanted your marriage to end. You may feel insecure or unsure, or even like you’re cheating on your ex.
There is an air of mystery that surrounds a new sexual relationship. It might be intimidating to undress in front of someone new but being intimate post-divorce can also reinvigorate your sexual passions in your single life.
These confusing emotions are normal. They are part of the process of breaking up and finding out who you are when you’re no longer in a couple.
2. It’s Good for your Health
Being sexually active has many benefits to your health, even when it comes to fighting off the common cold or flu.
Research from Pennsylvania’s Wilkes University surveyed 112 college students for how often they had sex each week. The results revealed that students who had sex regularly (up to twice a week) had the highest levels of the disease-fighting immunoglobulin A.
Sex after divorce also triggers the activation of your brain’s reward system. This can substantially reduce pain in humans. A study published in the PLOS journal found that when participants were shown photos of a new love interest they experienced a significant reduction in pain.
Regular sexual activity can also decrease a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer. The British Medical Journal researched the sex lives of more than 50,000 men, ages 40-75. The results showed that men who ejaculated 21 times a month or more were less likely to develop prostate cancer.
Sex can also promote a healthy heart. Studies show that men who had sex twice a week or more lowered the risk of dying from coronary heart disease.
Regular physical intimacy may also lower your systolic blood pressure, which is great for those going through a stressful divorce.
3. Physical Intimacy Improves Sleep
Going through a divorce can cause many sleepless nights. Some of the best relationship advice you can follow for having a refreshing sleep? Be physically intimate with a new partner.
After having an orgasm, the hormone prolactin is released into the body. This hormone is responsible for sleepiness and relaxation, which can help you fall asleep easier.
You don’t have to have sex before bed to benefit from physical intimacy. When you sleep next to someone, your body releases the cuddle hormone known as oxytocin. This hormone can help the body relax and lower stress which could otherwise cause you a sleepless night.
4. It’s Good for your Mental Health
Divorce is a hard pill to swallow. Even if you are the one who wanted the relationship to end, the process of getting a divorce is arduous and mentally taxing.
Physical intimacy after divorce can do wonders for your confidence and happiness as a newly single individual. One study done by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology found that people who had sex on a weekly basis showed increased morale.
Physical intimacy releases feel-good hormones such as oxytocin and dopamine. Both of these can have a positive effect on your mental health. For a start, oxytocin is shown to lower the stress hormone cortisol.
Even non-romantic physical touch can release oxytocin. Hugging a family member or holding hands with a friend can have the same calming effect. Oxytocin can also reduce anxiety that could otherwise lead to depression.
5. It Promotes a Healthy Body
It used to be a common thought that couples who had sex regularly could count it as exercise. Is this still the case? The answer depends much on the physical health of the couple and the intensity of sexual activity.
Whatever your motivation for more intimacy in your relationship, what better revenge is there after a nasty divorce than rocking a new, bangin’ body?
About the Author: Rachael Pace is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples. She has helped countless individuals and organizations around the world, offering effective and efficient solutions for healthy and successful relationships. She is a featured writer for Marriage.com, a reliable resource to support healthy happy marriages.