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How a Microbiologist Is Turning Orgasms into Art for Stress Relief

written by Carrie Borzillo - Apr 5, 2021
medically reviewed by Dr. Christine Bishara, MD - Aug 4, 2021

Photo Credit: by Jay Lucas / Hannah Sanford Studios
Photo Credit: by Jay Lucas / Hannah Sanford Studios

To reduce stress, people will do anything from listening to music to meditation to going for a run or opening that perfectly chilled bottle of Rosé and chatting with a friend. And, let’s face it, we all need a little stress relief after the year we’ve all had in lockdown, which is still not quite over. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a lot of stress resulting in people drinking more alcohol, sleeping less, and eating more - and packing on that “COVID 15.”

But, Washington, D.C.-based microbiologist Hannah Sanford, who is also a fine artist and visual process professional, is taking a much more creative, and way sexier, approach to stress relief this year. To celebrate April’s Stress Awareness Month, she’s encouraging people to do what she did for the past 100 days, which is to have an orgasm a day, create a painting that expresses how it feels in her body, and then sharing what she calls, “Orgasm Art,” with the world.

“After spending 13 years as a microbiologist at Harvard Medical School, the NIH [National Institutes of Health], and others, I was profoundly unhappy having science as my only creative expression, so I started drawing and painting. Now I show others how living true to their deepest desires can pay off big time,” says Sanford, who is sharing her experience and methods with others through her website and on her social media platforms.

Her Orgasm Art journey initially began as a 30-day experience to get in tune with the divine feminine in her. Then with the continued stress of the coronavirus pandemic and the tragic events at the United States Capitol on January 6, she was inspired to expand her experiment to a 100-day personal challenge. “It was a way to connect with, and ground, myself during a stressful time for everyone, especially here in the Washington, D.C.-area as we’re hoping for a peaceful transition of power following a failed insurrection, storming of the U.S. Capitol, second impeachment of a U.S. President, and with COVID-19 rates at all-time highs too,” she explains.

“This daily practice not only reduces my stress levels, but it also increases my immunity, sleep and mental health amongst other benefits,” continues Sanford. “Partnering a daily orgasm with art-making further amplifies those health benefits to include enhanced creativity, higher self-confidence and greater spirituality. As well as fresh, frisky art for your walls: it’s a win-win-win,” she explains.

And, no, this is not click-bait. This is real and there’s science behind how orgasms are a great stress reliever. Studies have long shown that orgasms relieve stress by releasing oxytocin, dopamine and endorphins, which are two brain chemicals associated with feeling good. When we feel good, we’re less stressed, our bodies don’t release the stress hormone cortisol that’s associated with everything from depression to heart disease, and we sleep better. Having an orgasm has also been shown to increase our pain threshold and even alleviate pain, also believed to be due to these brain chemicals. “It’s way more important to your health than having an apple a day!” quips Sanford.

And on the artistic side of things, creating art — whether it’s painting on a canvas, crafting, or even just doodling — is another stress reliever in and of itself. “Research has also shown that creating visual art can reduce stress and promote relaxation in people who are hospitalized or homebound due to illness,” reports Harvard Health Publishing.

Whether you try this for 7 days, 30 days, or go 100 days like she did, this is how she does it...

Step 1: Have an Orgasm

This can be with a partner, or solo masturbation. “An orgasm is a meditation, a prayer! When we pray, we go beyond ourselves. During sex, to have an orgasm we must also go beyond ourselves, we must lose ourselves in the moment for the orgasmic bliss. Deliberately surrendering to it every day brings us closer to God and raises our energetic state,” explains Sanford.

She also encourages people to masturbate as they meditate. Here’s how and why: “Sexual energy is creative energy - use it! As you stimulate yourself, breathe deeply to circulate the orgasmic energy you’re building throughout your whole body. At the same time, visualize the future that you want for yourself and the world,” she says.

Step 2: Paint About It

Don’t worry, if you’re not a painter, you can use any other creative way to express how you feel. “Right after your orgasm, paint it, or create any kind of artistic visual to show what the orgasmic experience felt like in your body. No words though, we want to tap into our bodies’ wisdom only (words come from our heads). Because you’re also meditating on the future, those elements will show up in your artwork,” she explains.

Step 3: Write It Up

When your art is complete, sign it and hit your journal right away while it’s fresh in your mind. “Write down, stream-of-consciousness: how the experience was for you and any ideas or information that came to you. End this with appreciation to your body for sharing it’s wisdom,” she says.

Step 4: Take Inspired Action

Act on the ideas you wrote down in your journey. “Those ideas that you wrote about in your journal, they are gifts from God and the Universe, received by you in your state of surrender. They were sent to you to be fulfilled upon! Taking these inspired actions as they are sent will bring you step-by-step towards realizing your future vision (and more, that only God and the Universe can yet see for you),” says Sanford.

Step 5: Share It

Share your orgasmic artwork with the world. “Celebration is the highest energetic state to create from. Tag me on Instagram and Twitter, I’ll repost it,” she says.

For more ideas on how you can reduce stress for April’s Stress Awareness Month, check out their official site:



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