It looks as though intercourse with a partner is the most beneficial form of sex for stress relief but Crow says it's important for people to understand that many different kinds of intimacy can help us distress. "Skin to skin contact can be extremely soothing, says Crow. "It's not like something has to happen that's erotic." She says that showering with a partner or taking a nap with them are other forms of intimacy that confer their own valuable physical and mental health benefits. In a 2006 study, fMRI scans showed that women's brains reacted less to stressors if they were holding hands with their husbands while being stressed.
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