sex helps ease pain

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To Ease Those Won't-Quit Aches, Even if It's Only Temporary

How sex helps: It blocks pain signals.
The science: It's more technical than simply distracting you from your discomfort. "There's a neuropeptide that gets released into the spinal cord in response to pain. We found in rats that vaginal stimulation blocked that release, and we suspect it's probably the same mechanism at work in humans," says Komisaruk, whose research has shown that vaginal stimulation, in particular, has a powerful pain-blocking effect, lasting anywhere from a few minutes to over a day. Clearly, some women are already in the know: When men and women were asked to give reasons why they have sex for a study in Archives of Sexual Behavior, the researchers came away with 237 different answers, and for women, many included pain relief, says study co-author Cindy Meston, PhD, a professor of clinical psychology and the director of the Female Sexual Psychophysiology Lab at the University of Texas at Austin.