Sex for better health? Believe it or not its true.
Sex is Great! But you already knew that. What you probably didn’t know was that sex isn’t just a hell of a lot of fun, it’s also great for your overall health. Now I’m going to start with what I hope is just a common sense reminder. Having unprotected sex with everything that crosses your path and walks upright is not healthy and leaves you vulnerable to a host of sexually transmitted diseases that range from mildly annoying to downright deadly. But modern science is finding that the act of sexual intercourse when practiced safely has a host of health benefits for both men and women.
1. Weight Loss and Improved Fitness Levels: Sex is after all a form of exercise. . Thirty minutes of sex burns 85 calories or more. It may not sound like much, but it adds up: 42 half-hour sessions will burn 3,570 calories, more than enough to lose a pound. Doubling up, you could drop that pound in 21 hour-long sessions. Speaking for myself this sounds like the kind of workout I don’t dread doing at the end of the day. The pulse rate, in a person aroused, rises from about 70 beats per minute to 150, the same as that of an athlete putting forth maximum effort. British researchers have determined that the equivalent of six Big Macs can be worked off by having sex three times a week for a year. Muscular contractions during intercourse work the pelvis, thighs, buttocks, arms, neck and thorax. If you engage in some of the more exotic positions the muscle groups involved expand exponentially. Sex also boosts production of testosterone, which leads to stronger bones and muscles. Men’s Health magazine has gone so far as to call the bed the single greatest piece of exercise equipment ever invented.” Sex is a great mode of exercise,” says Patti Britton, PhD, a Los Angeles sexologist and president of the American Association of Sexuality Educators and Therapists. It takes work, from both a physical and psychological perspective, to do it well, she says.
2. Improves Heart Health: In one of the most credible studies correlating overall health with sexual frequency, Queens University in Belfast tracked the mortality of about 1,000 middle-aged men over the course of a decade. The study was designed to compare persons of comparable circumstances, age and health. Its findings, published in 1997 in the British Medical Journal, were that men who reported the highest frequency of orgasm enjoyed a death rate half that of the men who had less frequent orgasms. Men who reported having sex three or more times a week, reduced their risk of heart attack or stroke by half. The co-author of the study, Shah Ebrahim, Ph.D. stated that “The relationship found between frequency of sexual intercourse and mortality is of considerable public interest.” I don’t know about you but as a member of the public I’m certainly interested!
3. Improved Immune Function: Good sexual health may mean better physical health. Having sex once or twice a week has been linked with higher levels of an antibody called immunoglobulin A or IgA, which can protect you from getting colds and other infections. Scientists at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., took samples of saliva, which contain IgA, from 112 college students who reported the frequency of sex they had.
Those in the “frequent” group — once or twice a week — had higher levels of IgA than those in the other three groups — who reported being abstinent, having sex less than once a week, or having it very often, three or more times weekly. Is it just me or does having sex a couple of times a week and getting fewer colds sound better than getting a cold and having a bowl of chicken soup? Just sayin’.
4. Stronger Teeth: Men, I suggest you print up this particular bit of information because without proof she isn’t going to buy it. But it’s true, I swear! Seminal plasma contains zinc, calcium and other minerals shown to retard tooth decay. In the interest of good taste (pun intended) I won’t go into the particulars of the mineral delivery system but I think most of you get the idea. Suffice it to say that it could be a far richer, more complex and more satisfying experience than squeezing a tube of Tartar Control Crest. Some researchers have noted that sexual etiquette usually demands the brushing of one’s teeth before and/or after intimacy, which, by itself, would help promote better oral hygiene.
5. Stress Reduction: A big health benefit of sex is lower blood pressure and overall stress reduction, according to researchers from Scotland who reported their findings in the journal Biological Psychology. In this particular study 24 women and 22 men were asked to keep records of their sexual activity. Then the researchers subjected them to stressful situations — such as speaking in public and doing verbal arithmetic — and noted their blood pressure response to stress.
Those who had intercourse had better responses to stress than those who engaged in other sexual behaviors or abstained.
Another study published in the same journal found that frequent intercourse was associated with lower diastolic blood pressure in cohabiting participants. Yet other research found a link between partner hugs and lower blood pressure in women. Sounds like it beats the hell out of Prozac!
6. Improved prostate health: Frequent ejaculations, especially in 20-something men, may reduce the risk of prostate cancer later in life, Australian researchers reported in the British Journal of Urology International. When they followed men diagnosed with prostate cancer and those without, they found no association of prostate cancer with the number of sexual partners as the men reached their 30s, 40s, and 50s.
But they found men who had five or more ejaculations weekly while in their 20s reduced their risk of getting prostate cancer later by a third.
Another study, reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that frequent ejaculations, 21 or more a month, were linked to lower prostate cancer risk in older men, as well, compared with less frequent ejaculations of four to seven monthly. Move over Saw Palmetto.
7. Improved Feelings of Intimacy & Pain Reduction: Having sex and orgasms increases levels of the hormone oxytocin, the so-called love hormone, which helps us bond and build trust. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and the University of North Carolina evaluated 59 premenopausal women before and after warm contact with their husbands and partners ending with hugs. They found that the more contact, the higher the oxytocin levels.
“Oxytocin allows us to feel the urge to nurture and to bond,” Britton says.
Higher oxytocin has also been linked with a feeling of generosity. So if you’re feeling suddenly more generous toward your partner than usual, credit the love hormone.
As the hormone oxytocin surges, endorphins increase, and pain declines. So if your headache, arthritis pain, or PMS symptoms seem to improve after sex, you can thank those higher oxytocin levels.
In a study published in the Bulletin of Experimental Biology and Medicine, 48 volunteers who inhaled oxytocin vapor and then had their fingers pricked lowered their pain threshold by more than half. So the next time your significant other tells you they have a headache suggest a vigorous cure.
And these are just a few of the positive benefits of sex, so don’t hold back have some (safe) healthy sex with your significant other tonight! And tomorrow morning, on your lunch hour, tomorrow night, and, well, you get the idea.