Researchers at the University of Zurich in Switzerland have found that intimacy can lower levels of stress hormones in the body and improve psychological health. But, there's a catch — you need to be in a close relationship, preferably a marriage, to benefit from these effects.
The Swiss team studied 51 German couples, the majority of who were married, for a period of a week to determine the impact that physical contact, from holding hands to sexual intercourse, had on levels of cortisol in the body.
Studies found that the couples who had more physical contact recorded lower levels of the hormone which is secreted in higher levels during the body's 'fight or flight' responses to stress.
Dr Beate Ditzen, lead author on the report published in the journal of Psychosomatic Medicine, said that intimacy can lower levels of stress hormones in the body simply by improving mood, and found that couples who experienced work-related troubles benefited the most from using intimacy as a stress relief technique.
While this study sheds some new light on why the warm and fuzzy feeling of snuggling truly does make us feel good, Dr Ditzen advised that it's not as simple as couples just 'upping the anti' in the bedroom, but rather that they should try to share more interests and activities together that create a feeling of positivity for both partners.