This Is What Having Sex Does To Your Skin

Photographed by Brayden Olson.
We're guessing you don't need another reason to be having sex more often. Knocking boots is pretty fantastic on its own. But since we're givers here at Refinery29, we're here to let you in on one more reason to slip between the sheets: Sex is clutch for your skin.

"Sex is good for so many things — and your skin is definitely one of them," says Eric Marlowe Garrison, a clinical and forensic sexologist. "It gets the blood flowing and that can create a more youthful appearance. People talk about a post-sex glow. That's just a result of the increased blood flow."

And that increased blood flow (also known as an "orgasm flush") is helpful in a bunch of ways. The biggest bonus is that the blood-vessel dilation leads to a flood of oxygen to your system, which equals a boost in collagen production. Basically, an orgasm is like a bottle of the best anti-aging serum on the market — except it's so much more fun.

According to dermatologist Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, founder and director of Capital Laser and Skin Care, sex can help combat inflammation in the body — and inflammation equals acne, wrinkles, and just about every other thing that can happen to your skin. "It's really simple — sex decreases stress, which, in turn, reduces stress hormones in the body, which helps to lower inflammation," she says. That means getting down on the regular can help you look more glowing and youthful. We're in.

All the benefits of masturbation are the same as sex, but you tend to be a little more relaxed when you masturbate.

Eric Marlowe Garrison, clinical and forensic sexologist
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All that's well and good, but what if you don't have partner sex at the moment? Is masturbation also helpful? Garrison says yes, yes, yes. "All the benefits of masturbation are the same as sex, but you tend to be a little more relaxed when you masturbate," he explains.

"There's also a ritual that goes along with masturbation," Garrison continues. "The people who typically masturbate tend to have it as part of their daily routine. They do it regularly — they aren't just masturbating once or twice a month. Sometimes, they do it in the shower or the bath, and all of this equals increased relaxation."

A study from We-Vibe confirms this
: 62% of respondents reported that they follow a "routine" each time they masturbate. And if you're having sex or pleasuring yourself often, the benefits just compound.

Whether you realize it or not, that post-sex glow follows you throughout the day. "I deal a lot with older clients. The ones who have regular sex, they look younger," Garrison says. "I've never done a study on it before, but I can always tell when a person comes into the office how often they have sex or masturbate." Garrison says the telltale signs of regular masturbation or sex are glowing skin, radiance, and a more youthful appearance. Who doesn't want that?

All of this adds up to one thing: sex and masturbation can help you achieve an amazing glow. (If you're prepping for a big event, maybe work a quickie into your getting-ready session.) "Just 20 minutes of sex does a lot of good for the body — and it doesn't have to be partner sex," Garrison says. "We're all sexual beings, which means we all have the opportunity to reap the benefits of sex, as well."

So, give your partner a call for some mattress mambo tonight or pick up a new vibrator for some solo action. It's all in the name of good skin, people!
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