Health & Wellness: Winter is for lovers…

It’s no secret that September is the most popular birthday month. Have you ever wondered why that is? Turn the clock back nine months from September and you’ll find yourself in the middle of the December holiday season.
Many people, students and the working class alike, take the most vacations during the holidays; more time for relaxation and of course — baby making!.Statistically couples have more sex during vacation anyway regardless if it’s a holiday or not. Besides having more time to couple, our bodies may be biologically disposed to winter conceptions. In 2001, researchers at the University of Texas School of Medicine summarized the science community’s various theories:
“Biologic hypotheses include deterioration of sperm quality during summer, seasonal differences in anterior pituitary-ovarian function caused by changes in the daylight length, and variation in quality of the ovum or endometrial receptivity. Increased sexual activity associated with end-of-year holiday festivities has also been postulated as a possible behavioral explanation for the December peak in conceptions. The exact reasons remain unknown.”
However, there are some other theories that you might relate to. The holidays are a time for being social, celebrations, increased alcohol consumption and so forth. People who don’t want to be alone during this time may end up seeking out partners during the season.
Christmas is family-oriented and involves gift-giving so this may give those who are family planning that extra push they need to get started; it’s hard not to feel encouraged to grow the family when surrounded by this nostalgic and giving environment. Researchers are finding that this can have public health implications and could help officials plan more effective campaigns around safe sex at certain times of the year.
Speaking of safe sex, if you are single this holiday season, here are some tips to be followed:

  • Avoid drinking excessively. You need to stay in control of your mind and your decisions. Getting drunk can make you a target for sexual predators and if you are not alert, you may not be able to escape risky situations.
  • Your sexual health is your responsibility so don’t allow yourself to be in the heat of the moment without condoms.
  • Communicate with your partner about your sex life. In some circumstances, someone might have an STI and not show symptoms and pass it on without knowing it. Talk about getting tested and be open with each other.
    STIs and unfavorable situations can be prevented. Avoid multiple partners and be cautious while drinking especially during the festivities.
    Couples during this time of year also need to be cautious. Let me explain why. Although men and women may have more interest in sex when they’ve had a few drinks — it doesn’t mean their bodies will be. It’s best not to get soused if you want to reach climax after a partnered sexual activity or masturbation. When you are aroused your body prepares for intercourse by increasing blood flow to your genitals but if you’ve drunk too much, that alcohol can stop these physiological responses, making love-making uncomfortable. For women, self-lubrication is affected, causing friction (ouch).
    And for men, alcohol can affect their ability to get and maintain an erection which in turn makes them prone to performance anxiety. Increased angiotensin, a hormone linked to erectile dysfunction, and delayed ejaculation (or absence of climax at all) are the most common issues with excessive drinking.
    I’m not saying not to let loose and have a drink or two, but stay modest this holiday season. Stick to one drink — two if you weigh more than 190 pounds. That should get you in the mood. But any more than that and your sex drive might take a nosedive. And we don’t want that because sexual activity during the winter months is also good for your health.
    On a positive note, getting intimate with your partner increases the endorphins and oxytocin levels in the brain and helps promote positive feelings which can lead to bonding and wellbeing.
    Sex during the holiday season can help ease stress, and for many this is a very stressful time of year so what better way to manage your mental well-being? More sexual activity can relax your respiratory and nervous systems as well. Frequent sex can help boost the immune system which could help fight off seasonal flu and colds.
    One of the final reasons why we tend to have an improved sex drive during the winter is because we sleep a bit more. Notice how we tend to get sleepier a bit earlier after the time change? There is a pretty strong connection between sex and sleep for both sexes. Couples where one or both partners are sleep deprived experience infertility and there is a proven connection between sleep disorders and erectile dysfunction as well. Plus, poor sleep can decrease hormone levels in men and women.
    So, take advantage of the rest you’re able to get during the holidays not only for your mental health but as a way to improve your libido. And if you’re trying to increase the size of your family, you may just end up with a joyful September arrival.