Sexual pleasure can be important to our emotional and physical health and well-being. A healthy sex life, with or without a partner, has been associated with:

  • better reproductive and sexual health
  • better general health
  • better sleep reduced stress and tension
  • increased self-esteem
  • a more youthful appearance
  • better fitness
  • a longer life

It is unfortunate that many of us have grown up hearing only about the risks and dangers of expressing ourselves sexually. While those risks are real, it is also true that having sex play, with or without a partner, can be a positive and powerful force in our lives. It helps us create connections to other people and it helps us enjoy our world.

  • Sexual pleasure is the feeling we get when we are sexually aroused.
  • The sexual response cycle is the pattern of changes in our bodies and in what we feel when having sexual pleasure.
  • Sexual pleasure enhances health and well-being.

Many of us find that sexual pleasure is one of life’s most rewarding experiences. But there are a lot of mixed messages about sexual pleasure in our culture. So we may not have a clear understanding of how it works for us or for our partners. We may have many questions: What is happening to my body when I’m feeling sexual? Do all people experience sexual pleasure in the same ways? How is a woman’s experience of sexual pleasure different from a man’s? And just what is sexual pleasure, exactly?

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