Leandie Buys Realtionship Therapist & Clinical Sexologist

Why great sex is actually good for you…

Medically speaking, sex is good for you: physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. But, having “great” sex is even better.

“Great” sex is a holistic experience. It happens in the brain as much as in the body and involves a complex interaction of emotional, relational, social and physiological factors.

Once you know how to balance your relationship and your physical, emotional, psychological and environmental health, you need to identify what really turns you and your partner on.

Did you know that your brain is you biggest sex organ?

Right at the back of the brain, are the hypothalamus and the limbic system. These are the most ‘primitive’ areas of the brain. The hypothalamus helps regulate things like emotion and behaviour. The Limbic system is involved in emotional experiences and the basic drives of sex, aggression, hunger and thirst. Emotions at their most basic level are chemical reactions in your body. These chemicals affect your brain, and therefore affect your mood, behaviour and levels of desire.

For example, when you have an argument with your partner, your levels of adrenalin increase. Adrenalin is the ‘fight or flight’ chemical, so naturally, your levels of desire will decrease.

When you are feeling loved and appreciated by your partner, your levels of serotonin – a ‘happy’ chemical – increase. It makes sense then, that your levels of desire increase.

What turns you and your partner on?

In my practice, I’ve often heard women say “he just doesn’t get it.” And the men will say “I don’t understand her, why doesn’t she want sex?”

Holistically, there are a variety of factors that influence libido, but there are other factors within a relationship which could also influence sexual desire.

Women are typically ‘turned on’ by:

  • Romantic gestures – cards, flowers, gifts, compliments
  • Communication
  • Intimacy
  • Non-demanding affection
  • Sensuality
  • Quality time spent with partner
  • Low level of conflict

Men are typically ‘turned on’ by:

  • Varied lovemaking
  • Novelty
  • Spontaneity
  • Nudity – the female form
  • Lingerie
  • Positive sexual responses in partner
  • Erotica
  • Pornography

Women often allow other life roles such as wife, mother, housewife, daughter, friend and career woman to overwhelm the role of lover. For women, these other roles are much more of a priority than sex. I’ve often heard my female patients say that they can actually live without sex.

A man’s sex life can be affected by hobbies, careers, work commitments, stress and his general health. However, for men, sex is an integral part of their lives, and they see sex as one of the ways that their partner shows their love and appreciation for them.

Here are some tips on how to get your partner in the mood for Great Sex:

Ladies: Make him feel like your Superman

Believe it or not, men have their own insecurities too. As their hair becomes thinner and their abs become flabs they feel age creeping up on them. They worry about retirement, they worry about providing for their families now and their safety. They worry about work and they worry about worrying too much. It is well known that men have few close friendships where they could share all of these worries. Their partners are usually the only people they confide in, if they share their feelings at all. Ladies, tell him he’s your hero. Tell him how much you appreciate everything he does for you and the family. Building up his ego will also boost his testosterone – ensuring that you also benefit later!

Couples: Put your worries aside

Make a decision to put all your worries aside for the evening. Your precious ‘alone’ time is for you two only. Leave work at work. Turn your cell phones on vibrate, turn the TV off. Focus on connecting. Remember those days when you could talk until 3am, and it felt as if only 20 minutes had passed? Or you could just sit on the couch together in silence, without any awkward moments? Try to re-kindle that flame. Take a deep breath. Relax.

Couples: Get cozy

This is one of the most important parts of intimacy that is lost when couples are together for a long time. Remember how you used to snuggle on the couch and just “smooch” for hours? Remember how you used to explore every inch of each other, just appreciating the closeness of your bodies together? Take time to get close again. I teach my patients “outercourse” before “intercourse”!

Couples: Spice things up

Once you’re nice and cozy, spice things up a bit. So you’ve lost the luxury of spontaneity, where you used to be able to have sex anywhere at any time, but your sex life can still be far from boring. Try different positions, different rooms, toys (if you’re both comfortable with that) and just try to make it as new and different as possible. If you’re really feeling romantic, or want to celebrate a special occasion (anniversary, birthday etc…) book a hotel room for the night. Take a bubble bath together, massage each other… get creative! This is the most intimate thing you and your partner can do, it’s between you and your partner only, so don’t feel embarrassed about telling them what you want, how you feel and what they could do to make it better.

What happens when “great” sex happens?

Relieve stress: The relaxation that typically follows orgasm is often one of the few times people actually allow themselves to completely relax and let go of the day's stresses.

Boosts fitness: Sex 3 times a week for a year = running 120 km’s

Boosts self confidence

Makes you look younger: Average of 4 times a week makes you look 10 years younger!

Helps you sleep better: Why do men fall asleep almost immediately following an orgasm? They usually experience a quick drop in blood pressure and then fall into sudden relaxation. For women the effect is more progressive but just as powerful.

Reduces depression and improve mood: An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but who wouldn't be happier with an orgasm a day? Many hormones are positively affected by the act of sex and orgasm, which can lead to a lighter mood.

Strengthens your body: Muscle contraction as a form of exercise is generally good for any muscle. The muscle contraction associated with orgasm can also address issues such as erection problems and incontinence.

Helps you lose weight: There are 3500 calories in half a kilo of fat. For every 3500 calories you burn you will lose half a kilo of fat. Sexual intercourse burns approximately 150 calories per half hour.

Helps you to live longer: A British study of 1,000 people found those who had at least two orgasms a week had half the death rate of the rest of the country which admitted to indulging in sex less than once a month.

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Sexology is a professional and specialised area of therapy which explores the many physical and emotional reasons for sexual difficulties.


Anyone who has experienced relationship or sexual difficulties for a long period of time would benefit from seeking professional counselling.


According to a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 3 out of 10 men, and 4 out of 10 women, experience sexual problems.