10 Surprising Health Benefits of Sex

November 12, 2012

10 Surprising Health Benefits of Sex

So you think Sex is only Good Fun – Well think again!

Sex has so many health benefits that are only now being discovered. Having a healthy sex life can be so good for your physical and psychological state.

Sex can be a very enjoyable pastime, many people indulge but it is probably safe to say that very few people are thinking about its benefits as they copulate. However sex has many benefits other than the obvious good fun factors. Did you know that there has been research which suggests that sex can boost your immune system? And if you do it with a little bit of vigor then it can help maintain a healthy weight, it could also be classed as a mildly aerobic exercise to help keep you fit.

Joy Davidson, PhD, is a New York psychologist and sex therapist and says that many people are surprised to hear about all of the benefits having sex has. She says, “Of course, sex is everywhere in the media. But the idea that we are vital, sexual creatures is still looked at in some cases with disgust or in other cases a bit of embarrassment. So to really take a look at how our sexuality adds to our life and enhances our life and our health, both physical and psychological, is eye-opening for many people”.

In Davidson’s opinion, along with other experts, sex can be beneficial for your body in a number of ways. All of the benefits here have withstood academic scrutiny and are much more than just stories or feelings.

Let’s start with something that is talked about everywhere nowadays, controlling weight. Sex burns calories, and there can’t be too many more enjoyable ways to do that. An average of 85 calories is used during a 30 minute period of sex. Well sex is good fun so why stop at 30 minutes, if you can remain active for an hour then you have lost 170 calories. You would have to be on the exercise bike pedaling relatively energetically for 15 minutes to use up that number of calories. What would you rather be doing?

Patti Britton, PhD, is the president of the American Association of Sexuality Educators and Therapists and is a Los Angeles sexologist. She argues that good sex requires the body to work on a physical and psychological level. Britton adds, “Sex is a great mode of exercise”.

If you are getting on in years then researchers from England have some good news for you. The Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health published a report which found that having regular sex did not increase your risk of having a stroke. The study, which was conducted on 914 men over 20 years did not find any negative issues relating to stroke but did find that there were benefits associated with regular sex.

The researchers found that men who had sex less than once a month were twice as likely to have a heart attack as those who had sex twice or more every week.

The journal Biological Psychology has published a study conducted by researchers from Scotland who found that lower blood pressure and less stress resulted from sex. The study was small scale and it involved 24 women and 22 men who were required to maintain a log of their sexual experiences. The participants were then subjected to stress and then their blood pressure reading was taken. The stress was generated by making the participants carry out public speaking or doing mental arithmetic.

It was found that the participants who had recent sex responded better to stress than those who had not had sex recently.

An additional study also discovered that a lower diastolic blood pressure reading was more common in participants who had frequent sex with their partner. Some further studies also found that in women a hug from her partner could help to lower blood pressure in women.

There is an antibody which has been found to give protection from infections such as colds. The antibody is known as immunoglobulin A or IgA and the good news is that the levels of IgA rise if you have regular sex, say one or two times every week.

This was found by researchers from Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., who conducted a survey which was small scale. The researchers used samples of saliva from the participants to test for levels of IgA. The participants were also put into groups depending on how often they had sex. The participants had varied levels of IgA depending on how much sex they had. The group having sex once or twice a week had the highest levels of IgA.

Depending on your point of view this is good news or bad news because the other three groups, abstinent, having sex less than one time a week or those who had sex three or more times in any week all had lower levels of IgA.

Researchers from the University of Texas have published a report in the Archives of Sexual Behavior. The report noted that some people have sex to help their self esteem. In all the report found that people have sex for over 200 reasons.

Gina Ogden, PhD, is a sex therapist and marriage and family therapist in Cambridge, Mass., and she concurs with the report’s findings. But she points out that those who have self esteem already will feel even better after good sex when she says, “One of the reasons people say they have sex is to feel good about themselves. Great sex begins with self-esteem, and it raises it. If the sex is loving, connected, and what you want, it raises it”.

Oxytocin is a hormone which has an association with how much trust we have with each other and how well we can bond. It is sometimes known as the ‘love hormone’. Researchers carried out a small scale study involving 59 women who were all premenopausal. When the women had close and warm contact with their husbands and partners, such as hugs, then it was found that their oxytocin levels were elevated.

The researchers from the Universities of Pittsburgh and North Carolina are not alone in looking for benefits of higher levels of oxytocin. Other researchers have found that it also reduces pain. Their report which is published in the Bulletin of Experimental Biology and Medicine, found that if people inhaled oxytocin vapor then their pain threshold increased, increasing their ability to withstand pain.

Patti Britton, PhD, believes that, “Oxytocin allows us to feel the urge to nurture and to bond”. Other observations noted about oxytocin is that it may increase feelings of generosity.

The British Journal of Urology International reported that Australian researchers found that younger men who have more ejaculations have a lower risk of prostrate cancer in later years. The study says that men in their twenties, when ejaculating frequently reduced their risk of developing prostrate cancer by about 33%.

By checking on men with prostrate cancer the researchers found that those between 30 and 50 had no apparent link between frequency of sex and prostrate cancer. However as the men got older the researchers noticed that men who had sex more than five times a week in their twenties had a reduced risk of developing prostrate cancer.

In a separate study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association it was found that if men had sex 21 times or more in a month then their risk of prostrate cancer decreased when compared with men who ejaculated only four to seven times every month.

There is a pelvic muscle exercise called a kegel which consists of the woman tightening her muscles in the same manner as she would when stopping herself from urinating. If the woman carries out a few of these exercises during sex then sex can be more pleasurable and at the same time the woman is reducing her risks of incontinence in the future.

Women may tune in to this finding more easily than their partners. Research has found that the hormone oxytocin, which is released during an orgasm aids sleep. So now you know why men are always nodding off too quickly during the ‘pillow talk’ period. And the good news for men is – now you have a reason for dropping off so quickly – it’s the hormones.

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