While sex is something we all enjoy for pleasure and intimacy, it turns out we also get great health benefits from it too! Here are 10 surprising health benefits of sex that will keep you busy between the sheets.
1. You get sick less
People who have sex often have stronger immune systems to defend the body against germs, viruses and other intruders. Researchers found that those having sex once or twice a week had higher levels of the antigen immunoglobulin A (IgA) than those who had sex less often. IgA is the body's first line of defence against colds and flus.
2. Improves bladder control
A strong pelvic floor is important for avoiding incontinence, something that will affect 50% of women and 25% of men 65 years and over. Good sex is like a workout for your pelvic floor muscles. When you have an orgasm, it causes contracts these muscles, which strengthens them.
3. Supports heart health
A study in the American Journal of Cardiology (Ref 1) suggests that men who have sex twice a week have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease than men who have less frequent sex. A separate Massachusetts Male Aging Study (Ref 2), analysed the health records of 1,165 men who were monitored for 16 years and found that men who had sexual activity once a month or less were at 50 percent greater risk of cardiovascular disease than the men who had sex more than once a week.
4. Sex enhances libido
This may sound strange, but research claims that the more sex you have the easier it is to get aroused. However, particularly for women, if sex is stopped over a period of time, her body will decide to decrease the amount of hormones produced which can limit arousal and sexual desire. So in this situation, practice does make perfect.
5. Eases stress
Life is stressful and anxiety can be harmful to our physical health. Studies show that regular intercourse for two weeks helps keep stress levels under control. The body also releases hormones which act as a natural sedative and can trigger feelings of compassion.
6. Improves sleep
You may nod off more quickly after sex, and for good reason. After an orgasm, the prefrontal cortex winds down and the hormones oxytocin and serotonin are released, which are responsible for the feelings of relaxation and sleepiness.
7. Keeps you looking younger for longer
Can having sex keep wrinkles away? British neuropsychologist David Weeks, of Royal Edinburgh Hospital believes so (Ref 3). In a 10-year-long study, he interviewed 3,500 adults in England and the United States, and found that people who reported having sex four times a week looked about 10 years younger than they actually were. It seems that the pleasure derived from having loving sex releases hormones, including human growth hormone, is crucial in preserving youth.
8. May help reduce your risk of prostate cancer
Research has shown that men who ejaculate at least 21 times a month have a lower risk of prostate cancer. This link needs to be explored further, however, as there may have been additional factors involved in the association.
9. Love longer, live longer
An Irish study published in the British Medical Journal (Ref 4) in 1997 tracked the mortality of 1,000 middle-aged men over the course of a decade and concluded that sexual activity may help to extend your life. By comparing men according to age and health, researchers found that men who had the highest frequency of orgasms had a death rate 50-percent lower than men who did not (Ref 5).
10. Those who have more sex are—surprise—happier!
Happiness is priceless, right? During sex, oxytocin (a.k.a. the "love hormone") is released. This free brain chemical calms anxiety and fear and increases trust and contentment. Positive interaction with friends and family increases the chemical somewhat, self-arousal even more so and sex with a partner you care about tops the list.
In good health.