For many people, it's hard enough to wake up with enough time to brush your teeth and put on shoes that match, let alone set the alarm early enough for intimate sexy time before the day starts. But there are some real health benefits to making sex a part of your early morning routine.
Here, licensed sexologists and functional medicine experts explain the beyond-feel-good benefits of morning sex and tips for making it your preferred morning exercise.
Benefits of morning sex
You'll feel more connected to your partner.
One of the main (and most obvious) benefits of morning sex is the positive impact it can have on your relationship. It's easy to let physical intimacy take a back seat as relationships progress, especially when you're contending with competing busy schedules and stress pouring in from other parts of life. Making time for morning sex is a great, tangible way to prioritize your relationship, no matter what else is going on.
"Our morning actions can set an intention for the whole day," Alexandra Fine, co-founder of Dame Products and licensed sexologist, explains. "You will be choosing to love, to desire each other, to fulfill your bodily needs first thing in the morning."
You'll start the day with a burst of feel-good hormones.
Oxytocin, often referred to as the "love hormone," is a neurotransmitter released by your brain's pituitary gland. "This hormone peaks in both partners during orgasm and is so powerful that studies have actually shown it increases bonding in couples," Will Cole, D.C., functional medicine expert and mbg Collective member, explains.
As if that weren't enough, studies have shown that increased levels of oxytocin are correlated with higher levels of life satisfaction and lower levels of depression.
Another chemical benefit of morning sex? Endorphins, hormones that trigger positive feelings and actually reduce your perception of pain. "It's not uncommon for sex, pleasure, and orgasm to lead to reduced tension and stress...as your body and mind reset after orgasm," says sexologist Jess O'Reilly, Ph.D.
Morning sex is equivalent to a light workout.
If your tendency to hit snooze has crushed all of your well-intentioned plans to hit the gym, morning sex could kill two birds with one proverbial stone. Morning sex brings with it the same benefits as a light workout, according to Fine. "Any physical benefits of doing a light workout in the morning—boosted metabolism, stress relief, etc.—will also hold true for morning sex," she says.
Your body is primed for morning sex.
A lot of factors contribute to good sex, and your hormone levels are a part of that puzzle. Since estrogen and testosterone levels are highest in the morning, both Fine and O'Reilly say that this increases levels of sexual desire and makes the early hours prime for sex.
Of course, making the shift from evening sex to morning sex might take a little time, but after a few good sessions, it will likely be easier to maintain.
Morning sex often feels better.
In addition to having a stronger urge to have sex in the morning, your body might be more primed to have great sex in the morning—particularly women. "Some studies have shown that women have stronger orgasms in the morning," says Fine.
Morning sex gives you a literal glow.
An early morning romp can set you up not only to feel good but to look your best for the rest of the day, too. "Morning sex may give you a fresh glow, as increased circulation and spikes in DHEA have been linked to glowing skin and healthy hair," O'Reilly explains. Added bonus: DHEA also helps build muscle and bone.
In addition to the circulation and DHEA benefits O'Reilly points out, other experts have called sex in general (not just in the morning) the key to looking younger, thanks to its role in releasing oxytocin, beta-endorphins, and other anti-inflammatory molecules.
Morning sex relieves stress levels.
Is there anyone who couldn't benefit from some stress relief? As you've probably guessed from all the feel-good perks above, sex relieves stress—but we wanted to point out that there's actually research to back this up: According to one 2010 study, pleasure (including the sexual variety) can reduce stress hormone levels in a similar way to eating comfort food. So, not only are you busting stress, you're probably saving yourself a few mac-and-cheese calories in the process.
How to make morning sex happen
Like anything else that's good for your body, making time for a daily dose of morning sex takes a concerted effort, especially if you and your partner work different schedules or if you struggle with waking up in the morning. So, how can you make morning sex happen every day?
Set the intention together.
Fine says it's vital to communicate the desire for more morning sex to your partner and really engage in a conversation about making time for it. Don't simply initiate one morning and then get disappointed when they don't reciprocate your enthusiasm.
Don't wait until you're in the mood.
If you expect to wake up totally aroused and ready to go, you might be setting yourself up for failure, O'Reilly cautions. So, instead of waiting until you're in the mood, proactively work to get in the mood when you wake up.
"Most of us aren't spontaneously in the mood—we have to get ourselves aroused and then the desire follows," she says. "You may find that waking up to a two-minute body scan or taking a few minutes to fantasize will increase your odds of getting it on in the morning."
Wake up your partner with a sensual massage.
Just like with any kind of sex, there will be times when you're in the mood and your partner isn't. To gauge his or her interest, O'Reilly suggests waking them up with some sexy touching. "Consider waking them up with a sensual massage to gauge interest," she says. "You might also want to keep their favorite lube or toy in your bedside drawer to heighten interest, arousal, and pleasure first thing in the morning."
Don't hold yourself to goals.
Even if you'd really love to have morning sex every single day, Fine advises against thinking of that as an explicit goal. There will be days when your partner just isn't feeling it, and that's OK. Plus, Fine adds, thinking of it as a goal to accomplish actually takes some of the fun and romance out of morning sex, and it can set you up for disappointment. "Nothing kills the mood like a goal," she says. "Don't force it."
Make it a quickie.
On days when you are both in the mood for morning sex, O'Reilly says it's important not to feel pressure to go for something long and drawn out. If you want morning sex to be a sustainable routine, it will probably have to become something that's pretty quick, at least during the workweek. "Not everything has to be a marathon," she says. "Sometimes it's just maintenance sex, like an oil change. Get it done."
Do what you need to do if you're self-conscious.
If your "woke up like this" look isn't one that you totally love, or if you're painfully self-conscious about your morning breath, that's OK. You don't have to fake sexy confidence. "If you feel self-conscious in the morning, keep a few sleep masks to use as blindfolds, or do it under the covers," O'Reilly says. "Grab a glass of water or keep mints by the bed if you're worried about morning breath."
Know that sex isn't the only way to be intimate in the morning.
Morning sex is great, but it's not the only way to reap the relationship and health benefits listed above. "If you don't have time for sex, consider other forms of physical connection, like a long hug," O'Reilly says. "Hugging not only releases the feel-good hormone oxytocin, but it also reduces stress and anxiety and may lower your blood pressure. A 10-second hug can actually reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol and encourage trust through its relationship with the vagus nerve, which is affected by our sense of touch."
Kayleigh Roberts is a freelance writer and editor living in Los Angeles, California. She earned a B.S. from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She covers culture, entertainment, and health and has written for several notable publications including Elle, Marie Claire, and The Atlantic.