Candles lit? Check. Barry White on deck? Oh yeah. Dark chocolate-covered strawberries and a glass of wine? Pouring now. Last…Alexa, dim the lights. We all knows what comes next. But do you know the many health benefits that accompany a vibrant sex life? Hold on to your hat, these facts are mind-blowing. Once you know how intimacy enhances your longterm health, sex becomes even more pleasurable. Let us take you on a tour through the multitude of benefits sex provides for your health: physical, mental, emotional, and psychological.
12 Health Benefits of Sex
Aside from the obvious – reproduction, pleasure, and intimacy – sexual activity elevates your quality of life in a great number of ways. Sex promotes cardiovascular health, sharpens cognitive performance, extends your healthspan, boosts your mood, and beyond. So, what are you waiting for? Here are 12 healthy reason to have sex…tonight!
1. Strengthens your immune system
That’s right. People who have more sex get sick less often. Studies show a direct correlation between sexual activity and higher levels of immunoglobulin A – an antibody that fights the common cold and infections. Researchers found that university students who engaged in sexual activity twice per week possessed high levels of immunoglobulin A. By contrast, levels were lowest among couples who had no sex at all. Sexual frequency factors largely in our overall health. So, if you’re not coupling up a couple of times per week, get busy. The more time you spend in the bedroom, the less time you’ll spend in the examining room.
2. Improves mental health
If you’re feeling a little off but can’t quite put your finger on it, try to remember the last time you were intimate. People with lively sex lives report higher self-esteem and general wellbeing. Hooking-up decreases overall psychological stress as it reduces cortisol, the stress hormone, and releases oxytocin, the “cuddle hormone.” Both chemicals benefit out overall mental health. For women, contacting semen during intercourse even acts as an antidepressant. One psychologist recently hypothesized that the post-coital calming effect may be attributed to oxytocin. Orgasms trigger the release of endorphins, which are your body’s feel-good chemicals. So, not only do you want greater sexual frequency – you want to have great sex.
3. Sex boosts brainpower
Having a hard time remembering names or finding your glasses? Might be time for a tumble. Research published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior suggests that frequent sex may improve women’s memory. Sexual activity likely sharpens memory by stimulating new neuron production in the hippocampus – the region of the brain involved in learning and memory. In addition, sex may also enhance cognition. A University of Amsterdam study found that sexual encounters improve our analytical thinking. This boon applies to both men and women. Since fooling around makes you smarter…don’t be a dummy, have more of it.
4. Sex works out your body
Yes, sex counts as exercise. Physical activities that get your heart pumping are good for your health, and this includes sex. Depending on how, um actively, you’re going at it, a half hour of sex can burn close to 150 calories. Plus, you’ll make up for a handful of those chocolate-covered strawberries. By the way, the reverse is also true: vigorous exercise also boosts sexual performance. Working out works in your favor. Exercise boosts desire, arousal, satisfaction, and self-confidence. Challenge your love to a race to the bedroom. Last one to bed does the heavy-lifting.
5. Reduces pain
Headaches are often used as a reason to avoid intimacy. But, a cure may be right under your nose. During sex, your body releases serotonin, endorphins, and phenylethylamine. These hormones generate intense feelings of pleasure while at the same time killing pain. This chemical surge is likely the explanation for studies showing that intercourse can stop migraines. Before you reach for the painkillers, try reaching for your bedmate instead. Research suggests that sexual activity may reduce pain from migraine or cluster headaches. Among migraine sufferers, 60% reported a reduction in pain after sexual activity, while 37% of those with a cluster headache saw improvement. I’ve got a headache is no longer a valid excuse, but rather an invitation.
6. Sex deepens relationships
It’s called making love for a reason. Lovemaking plays a fundamental role in preserving happy relationships. Remember the “cuddle hormone”? Oxytocin makes you want to snuggle up to your partner after sex. For women, it helps them bond, trust, and also feel more generous towards their partners. And that “afterglow” we’ve heard so much about? For couples, this positive vibe lasts for up to 48 hours following sexual intercourse. This glow is associated with higher levels of long-term relationship satisfaction. Physical intimacy helps couples reduce stress and feel more secure, leading to more emotionally stable relationships. Turns out that the more love you make, the better you make your partner feel about your pairing.
7. Helps you sleep better
Does it seem like you’re always chasing a good night’s sleep? Maybe you just need to sleep around. Following an orgasm, and even during sex, the brain releases hormones including norepinephrine, serotonin, oxytocin, and vasopressin. All of these hormones can help you sleep. In women, a rise in estrogen levels during sex enhances their REM cycle, which means more restorative sleep. Men are especially likely to succumb to the sleep-inducing effects of sex because the prefrontal cortex slows significantly in males after orgasm. This happens to be the part of the brain responsible for interpreting and responding to new information. So, if your man falls asleep when you’d rather snuggle, don’t be insulted.
8. Makes you look younger
Tired of going broke on skincare products? Research shows sex is more potent than any anti-aging cream. Couples who have intercourse three or more times weekly appear, on average, ten years younger than their chronological age. Yes, you read that right: ten YEARS. Orgasms trigger the release of estrogen in both men and women, which improves hair and skin quality, making people look more attractive, too. That fabled “morning after” glow? It’s not just your imagination. You really do look amazing after having sex. This glow is the result of a combination of factors: stress relief, better mood, and the flush of blood under your skin that’s a natural part of the arousal process. So, skip the makeup counter and head straight to the bedroom.
9. Sex extends longevity
Sexual activity may hold the key to a longer life. A 25-year study determined that, in men, frequent intercourse was a significant predictor of longevity. Among women, those who reported enjoying sex lived longer. Another recent study determined that sexual activity may have a protective effect on men’s healthspan. Researchers tracked the mortality of almost 1,000 men aged between 45 and 59 over the course of 10 years. They found that risk of death was 50 percent lower in men who frequently had orgasms than men who did not ejaculate. For women, it’s quality over quantity. High quality sex seems to protect women in later life. Aim for longevity in the bedroom to extend longevity as you age.
10. Your heart loves sex
Sexual arousal increases heart rate, with the number of beats per minute peaking during orgasm. Men who have regular sex are 50 percent less likely to develop heart disease. Evidence suggests that men with better overall health have higher drives and therefore more sex overall, which creates a positive feedback loop that further builds a healthy cardiovascular system. Interestingly, results from most studies suggest that high frequency of sex is correlated with later onset of cardiovascular events for men. For women, better quality of sex is more cardio-protective. Both men and women should follow their hearts when it leads them to the bedroom. Get it pumping. Your heart will love you for it.
11. Lowers blood pressure
High blood pressure stresses out your blood vessels, leading to damage and narrow, hardened arteries. These same dangers to your cardiovascular system can also cause erectile dysfunction in men and reduced arousal and inability to orgasm in women. Reseach published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior found that sex in later years might reduce the risk of high blood pressure – at least for women. In men, studies have shown a link between low testosterone and high blood pressure, while the spikes in testosterone associated with sexual activity might help lower blood pressure. Testosterone stokes sexual desire – for both men and women. If you’re suffering from low libido, bioidentical hormone pellet therapy could be a solution. Have more sexy time and surprise your cardiologist on your next visit when he checks your vitals.
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12. Lowers prostate cancer risk
Research shows that men who frequently ejaculate could be protected against prostate cancer, the most common cancer among men in the United States. Research from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD, and published in JAMA, discovered that men who ejaculated 21 times per month or more were a third less likely to develop prostate cancer than men who ejaculated between four and seven times per month. Some studies suggest sex “flushes out” any carcinogens in the prostate gland. On the flip side, a recent study showed that very frequent sexual activity in young men (20s and early 30s) could actually increase the risk of developing prostate cancer. But frequent ejaculation in middle-aged or older (50+) men decreased disease risk. For Boomers, this is good news. Keep getting it on like you’ve always done. Not in mood, guys? Get into it and start getting busy.
Sex is an important part of life and overall well-being. In relationships, orgasms play a significant part in bonding. Physical and emotional benefits like reduced risk of heart disease, improved self-esteem, enhanced mental health and more are correlated with and lively and loving sex life. Not only can lovemaking be a pleasurable and exciting activity, sex may make you live longer.
Cue the Barry White…You just got in the mood.