The Benefits of Sex11.01.10
Viagra has shined the spotlight on sexual activity in men and women of all ages. Now that men are having sex later in age with the assistance of pharmaceutical agents, women are expected to keep up with the demand. Well here’s a tip for both sexes: if you want to improve your health, have more sex! Take a look at the reasons sex is GOOD for you.
Several studies published in Biological Psychology have demonstrated the benefits of sexual intercourse or physical touch in reducing blood pressure and increasing oxytocin activity. In one study, 22 men and 24 women who recorded their sexual activity –whether it was sexual intercourse, individual sexual activity or no sex– those who engaged in sexual intercourse with their partners had lower blood pressure and a better response to stress compared to those who engaged in other activity or no sexual activity.
Sex can actually burn 85 or more calories every half hour, depending on how hard you work. So, if you can’t make it to the gym, make up for lost time in bed with your partner. It can be a lot more fun, and two people can benefit from the burned calories. Definitely a bonus!
Helps Your Heart:
British researchers found that having sex twice or more a week decreased the rate of fatal heart attack or other coronary events by half for men when compared to men who have sex less than once a month. In addition, the frequency of sex was not associated with stroke in men followed for 20 years.
Powers Your Immunity:
Want to fight off colds and other infections? Well, having sex once or twice a week has been linked with higher levels of immunoglobulin A, or IgA, an antibody protective against infections. A study of 112 college students who reported a higher frequency of sexual activity than those who had sex less than once a week or were abstinent had higher IgA levels their saliva. Having sex may keep the doctor away!
Lessens Risk of Prostate Cancer:
A study examining ejaculation frequency and subsequent risk of prostate cancer published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that frequent ejaculations, 21 or more a month, were linked to lower prostate cancer risk compared with older men reporting less frequent ejaculations of four to seven times each month.
Oxytocin is a hormone in the brain shown to play a role in orgasm, pair bonding, social recognition and maternal behaviors. In a study of 59 premenopausal women, increases in hugs from spouses or partners were linked to higher oxytocin levels and lower blood pressures. So keep loving and hugging.
Serves as Pain Reliever:
While you are having sex, endorphins, your body’s natural painkiller is released and acts like a weak morphine to reduce headaches and generalized body pain. In a study of 48 volunteers published in the Bulletin of Experimental Biology and Medicine, inhaled oxytocin vapor lowered the pain threshold by half after participants had their fingers pricked.
Orgasms release oxytocin and other hormones that facilitate sleep.
Pumps Your Self-Esteem:
In a study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, researchers at the University of Texas at Austin discovered that boosting one’s self esteem was one of the 237 reasons to have sex.
Helps You Look and Feel Young:
DHEA increases in response to ejaculation and orgasm. DHEA keeps your skin looking young and healthy, improves cognition and repairs tissue. So who needs Botox when you have sex!
Written by Lisa C. Flowers, MD
Dr. Flowers is an associate professor, division of gynecologic oncology, department of obstetrics and gynecology, Emory University School of Medicine.