Sex therapy (including clinical, licensed sex itself) is a treatment option for sexual health issues - when there are problems and goals pertaining to sex itself.

Sexual health tends to be studied from the angle of being on the 'receiving' end of health, merely being 'improved' as a benefit of good health, or hampered as a result of bad health.

But I wonder whether there have been examples of, any research on, or plausible basis for, sex (whether just orgasm as the common denominator, specific sexual techniques similar to Tantra, and whether solo or with a partner) being a 'medical treatment' mechanism for anything non-sexual in nature also.

In other words, considering the opposite - sex helping to not only improve health itself - but actually be a legitimate and studied field of (alternative) medical treatment for a whole range of scenarios whose goals have nothing to do with sex.

I have no collated research to offer up-front in the question, but only one particular angle of inquiry of my own, which is that sexual activity is part of the parasympathetic nervous system and that, given the involuntary and powerful nature of sexual function, perhaps it might assist in nervous system balance/repair/damage/even issues with PTSD/fight-or-flight sympathetic nervous system issues (e.g. maybe it is the strongest way to activate and train the parasympathetic system where a patient has issues relating to it), if studied.

There are many studies that show sex (and especially intimate sexual activity with a partner) has many direct health benefits, proven mechanisms to relieve mental stress and certainly regulate hormones of the endocrine system which then has further beneficial domino effects itself.

But is there basis to suspect it could do more? (Similar to well-understood exercise and body movement therapies having massive positive and thus often healing effects on the body?) Has this been studied at all?

Obviously in our current society the principal reason for a lack of such study would be the cultural and 'moral' taboos associated with this idea - sex always being an end, but hardly ever a means.

1 Answer 1


Unquestionably, sexual activity has several benefits for the body and mind.

People who have a satisfactory sexual life tend to be happier, friendlier, calmer and sleep better. People who are happier, friendlier, calmer and sleep better, tend to need fewer medical appointments. Then again, sex is a touchy subject. Unless you are a psychyatrist, most medical professionals would find it very difficult to find out if an individual patient has a regular and normal sexual life, and even more difficult if they are as pleasurable as they should be. Trying to find out may induce some patients to lie. Worse than that, some may say the doctor is too nosy and never return.

Even if an occasionally uninhibited and outspoken patient says that they have no sexual activity and think they would be much happier if they did, to advise "go and have sex to improve your general health or to help treat these disorders" can be risky. If the patient makes wrong choices and unexpected problems are created, malpractice actions may follow.

All a doctor can do is mention that pleasurable sexual activity is good for one's health. So are a good night's sleep and healthy meals, everybody knows that. I'm sure those who enjoy sex, and know where to get a good partner, will have it whenever they want. For those who cannot find a partner or who do not enjoy sex at all, it's no use telling them to go and have it for the sake of their health. They simply won't.

ps - Even if a medical professional were sure some sort of sexual therapy would be of great benefit to an individual patient, any sort of prescription would have to be approved by the FDA or an official Secretary of Health.

  • 3
    You make several assertions of facts in this answer. Some supporting sources would be expected.
    – Carey Gregory
    Dec 2, 2016 at 16:27

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