I recently read in an article that Lady Gaga attributes her beautiful skin complexion to lots of orgasms. That statement sounds a little exaggerated, but might there be a drop of truth in it? What actually happens in our skin during an orgasm?
There are in fact lots and lots of physiological processes happening in our skin during sex and in particular with orgasms. We all know that on a systemic level our heart rate, breathing rate and blood pressure goes up during sex, which allows our body to pump more oxygen around the body. The skin’s blood circulation will also go up and with it the skin’s oxygen and nutrient supply. The skin becomes warmer and might look flushed, as adrenaline dilates the body’s superficial blood vessels.
With skin temperature going up, our sweat glands will increase their perspiration rate. And this applies not just to our ‘normal’ sweat glands, but also special types of gland called ‘apocrine sweat glands’. They secrete pheromones in sexual arousal and are located in our skin around the nipples, in armpits and genito-anal area. But not only our sweat glands work harder during sex, the skin’s oil glands also tend to produce more skin nourishing oils.
About half of all women or even more may develop a peculiar looking ‘sex rash’ (‘sex flush’) with sexual arousal or orgasm. This measles-like appearance with pink spots and patches on tummy, chest, face or even the entire body is caused by a temporarily increased blood flow in the skin and is nothing to worry about. It typically disappears minutes after orgasm, but in some cases may stay for an hour or two.
After orgasm, our muscles relax, blood pressure drops and the body slows down from its excited state. A study showed that women have lower stress and cortisol levels after an orgasm, which can only be good for our skin, as high cortisol is known to contribute to collagen degradation.
So, Lady Gaga was right then, in that orgasms lead to short-term benefits in our skin. But what’s going on in our skin in terms of long-term effects with regular orgasms? There isn’t much scientific research published, I am afraid. However, looking at the proven short-term benefits, regular orgasms can’t be a bad thing if you ask me …