8 Health Benefits of Sex
As an immune booster or a form of exercise or simply as a soothing balm that relaxes you, sex can be a panacea with hardly any side effect if done in moderation
By Dr. Allison R. Quicoy
Could sex not only be good, but actually good for you? The chances of sex becoming the newest health fad are small, but researchers are discovering more and more reasons why sex is in fact, good for your health.
- Sex burns (some) calories
let’s start with the benefits of sex as a physical activity. Sorry ladies, but sex isn;’t a replacement for the treadmill. It does burn up to five calories per minute though, so half an hour of bed romping may be more than enough to negate that KitKAt you sneakily ate for a midnight snack. Plus, sex still burns a lot more calories compared to say, watching TV or repeatedly refreshing your Facebook timeline.
- Sex relieves stress
Whether it’s because sex provides a release for pent up anger and aggression, or because sex drowns you in endorphins (a.k.a. pleasure hormones) that make you feel better, the bottomline is: Having sex makes you more relaxed in stressful situations such as public speaking. The icing on the cake? Sex may actually help you perform better, too! So next time, instead of pacing back and forth in the bedroom before a big presentation, get busy in bed instead.
- Sex boosts your immune system
Having regular sex and bid the sniffles goodbye. According to a Wilkes University study, sex once or twice a week is associated with higher levels of immunoglobulin A (IgA)—an antibody found in all entrances of the body which serves as our defense against colds and other infections.
Does this mean “sex everyday keeps the doctor away?” Not really—the increase in IgA is absent in individuals who have sex more than three times a week—but doing it onece every three days might.
- Sex will keep your man alive (literally)
It’s an overused scene in movies and TV shows: A man in poor health has sex and dies (happy) of a heart attack or a stroke. In many cultures, it is believed that the pleasure of sex comes at the cost of health. However, recent studies seem to show the opposite: Sex is not related to stroke, and the risk of death from a fatal heart attack is actually lower in men who are having regular sex compared to those who have less sex than once a month.
Men who have more frequent orgasms (>100 per year) are also less likely to die, either from heart attack or other causes. It’s a win-win situation: Keep your man happy and keep his ticker healthy!
- Sex keeps you continent
Do you really have to go, when you have to go? Sex tomes your pelvic muscles, just like Kegel’s! This means better pee control, so you won’t have to take a bathroom break at the climax of the movie, or before a commercial. And you won’t have to dance around so much the next time you’re in line at a public restroom.
- Sex relieves pain
The oxytocin surge also causes a flooding of endorphions, which results in a decreased perception of pain and a higher pain threshold. Improvement of pain after sex has been described in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, chronic headache, and menstrual cramps. Inhaled oxytocin has been shown to decrease the intensity of pain in chronic headaches and the perception of pinpricks.
- Sex may promote faster wound healing
Time heals all wounds? Apparently sex does, too. An orgasm leads to a surge in oxytocin, or the “love hormone,” because it’s said to be responsible for feelings of trust, fondness and decreased fear. A study conducted in married couples found that couples with higher oxytocin levels were able to communicate better, which may aid in healing of impaired relationships and emotional wounds. Another study also found a correlation between high oxytocin levels and faster healing of blisters.
- Sex helps you sleep better
No more sheep-counting! Another effect of oxytocin released during orgasm; faster, and better sleep. Also, anxiety and depression for sleeplessness, and sex relieves stress, releases happy hormones and makes you feel better about yourself, which leads to a better and more restful slumber.
It’s unlikely that anyone actually thinks about antibodies, pee control, and wound healing while having sex, but consider these as the free toppings on your delicious low-fat ice cream.
This was published in Zen Health February-April 2012 issue