(Health Secrets) In the euphoria of giving and receiving sexual pleasure, one thing is probably overlooked — your health. But the truth is sex and health are intricately linked in many ways that may surprise you, and it’s all to the good. Here are seven ways that having sex frequently can promote a longer, healthier and more enjoyable life:
Sex and Bonding – Humans are social animals, and the bonding between two people in the act of sex is the ultimate social experience. During sex a cocktail of brain chemicals is produced, including oxytocin which is know as ‘the love hormone’. This hormone which is produced in the hypothalamus stimulates uterine contractions and breast milk production, but it also acts with other brain chemicals to influence positive bonding, behavior, emotion and cognition.
According to a review of research on oxytocin, it is able to increase:
- Positive social behaviors
- Psychological stability
That warm fuzzy feeling after sex is at least in part the result of these brain chemicals.
Sex and Stress – Researchers who studied 58 middle-aged women found that demonstration of physical affection or sexual behavior with a partner led to lower negative mood and stress, and even higher positive mood the following day. And they found a feed back loop, with being in a good mood to start with predicting more sexual activity to follow.
An even bigger benefit of sex is overall stress reduction. Researchers from Scotland found that participants in their study who had regular intercourse had better responses to stress than those who engaged in other sexual behaviors or abstained from sex.
Sex and Heart Health – In another study, men who make love regularly (defined as twice a week or more) were a whopping 45 percent less likely to develop heart disease than those having sex only once a month or less. This is because having sex produces the same elevated heart rate that a short cardio workout does.
According to Dr. Graham Jackson, president of the Sexual Dysfunction Association, in fitness terms having sex is the equivalent of going for a mile-long walk or climbing up and down two flights of stairs. A study from Ireland found that having sex three times each week can cut your risk of heart attack and stroke in half. Frequent sex also helps keep steroid hormones in balance and keeps away the man-breasts and pot bellies fueled by unbalanced estrogen.
Sex and Blood Pressure – Having sex may lead to a lessened stress response when faced with a challenging situation. A study evaluated blood pressure of participants as a measure of their stress levels while they were doing stressful activities such as public speaking or math problems. Those recently having intercourse had lower baseline blood pressure values, less of a blood pressure rise, or both.
A study published in Biological Psychology that focused on sex partners who live together concluded that frequent intercourse is linked to lower diastolic blood pressure.
Sex and Immunity – So strong is this link that researchers in Pennsylvania found a 33 percent higher immune response in people having sex two or three times per week compared to those having no sex. This is because the sexual body produces higher levels of an antibody (IGA) that can stop colds and flu at their point of entry — through the mucosal linings. This may explain why people who have frequent sex also take fewer sick days.
Researchers at Nottingham University found that men who kept up regular sex through their 50’s also had lower risk of developing prostate cancer. The suggestion here is that older men benefit most from the healthy effects of sex, and the bottom line is use it or lose it. Scientists in Finland found that those who had sex less than once a week were twice as likely to develop erectile dysfunction as those who had sex at least once a week. Other research has shown that menopausal women who have sex every week are able to maintain higher levels of steroid hormones that those who do not.
Sex and Weight – Thirty minutes of sex burns about 85 calories, which may not sound like much, but for those having frequent sex it adds up quickly. 85 calories is about what you would burn being on an elliptical machine for about ten minutes.
Regular sex can help keep cortisol, the high-anxiety hormone, in check. Too much cortisol leads to the overeating of high carbohydrate feel-good foods, and it tells the body to store the extra calories in your midsection. The endorphins generated by sex put a stop to this by putting a damper on your ‘flight or fight’ response, an innate response that occurs when you feel overly anxious or threatened.Sex and Nature – The primary agenda of nature is overseeing the reproduction of all living things. As a result, nature smiles on those creatures who are reproductive. But when those days come to an end, nature no longer smiles, and degenerative disease is often the result. Having frequent sex sends a powerful message to nature that you are still fertile and reproductive, whether you actually are or not. The message says you are the kind of person who should be kept around and continue to be smiled upon.
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