Kale, avocados, grueling gym classes and yoga – we’ve heard it all before. But instead of chomping down your 6 am greens, how about jumping back into bed with your partner for your morning health kick?
Sex is an important part of life and overall well-being. In relationships, orgasms play a significant part in bonding. Physical and emotional benefits like reduced risk of heart disease, pain relief, and more can come from having frequent sexual intercourse and orgasms.
So, as if you needed any further stimulation, check out our top five health benefits from having regular sex.
We often think of sex as something our bodies are doing, but a substantial part of our sex life takes place in our minds. It’s important to note that our thoughts and feelings play a pivotal role in getting us turned on.
It is well known that stress can have serious impacts on our wellbeing and health, and this includes our sex life. When your brain is fizzing with thoughts and feelings, it’s hard to devote yourself entirely to anything.
Yet, engaging in physical intimacy can actually reduce stress. There is evidence that being close, both physically and emotionally, to your partner can actually reduce cortisol (a hormone that is released when triggered by stress) levels in the saliva. Physical intimacy can actually initiate the release of three key hormones that impact our mood:
- Dopamine —a hormone that has a major role in reward-motivated behavior, focuses attention and increases motivation
- Endorphins — our body’s natural pain fighter
- Oxytocin —”the love hormone”, which can trigger feelings of compassion
And if that wasn’t enough, another hormone named Prolactin is released post-orgasm which contributes to better sleep. Prolactin can often lead to a feeling of relaxation and sleepiness which is the reason that many of us tend to fall into a blissful post-coital slumber.
Ecstasy versus pain – the two are at the opposite side of the spectrum, but did you know that an orgasm (essentially ecstasy, right?), whichever way it is induced, can actually reduce pain?
Just before an orgasm, the hormone Oxytocin, surges from the brain and is accompanied by the release our natural pain-killing hormones: Endorphins.
These hormones soothe nerve impulses that cause migraines, menstrual cramps or joint pain. According to a study by a professor at Rutgers University, when women have an orgasm, pain tolerance and pain detection threshold increases significantly, by up to 74.6 percent and 106.7 percent respectively.
No more, “Not tonight, I have a headache” excuses ladies!
That’s not to say that if you are in acute pain, jumping in the sack will relieve your symptoms. If you find yourself in chronic or acute pain, make sure you seek professional help immediately.
According to a 10-year study by Canada’s York University and the Center for Addiction and Mental Health, Oxytocin, one of the hormones released during sex, decreases food cravings, which in turn makes you lose weight! The researchers found that those who had higher levels of oxytocin didn’t binge eat, whilst those who had low levels of oxytocin were the binge eaters.
Combining a healthy sex life with a nutritious diet and active lifestyle can lead to weight control and reduce cravings and binge eating – so no more eating in bed people!
Your immune system is a connected web of systems that battles off nasty viruses and bacteria, to protect your body and keep you hopefully ‘sick-free’.
A study in Pennsylvania found students who had sex once or twice a week had 30% higher levels of Immunoglobulin A (IgA), an important illness-fighting substance than those who had no sex at all.
That’s not to say that lots of romping will keep you at bay, but teamed with a healthy lifestyle, it might just help ward off that winter flu.
Intercourse, depending on your level of enthusiasm, can be considered aerobic exercise, burning up to 200 calories per session. So gents listen up, this might be a good tactic to convince your partner that reverse cowgirl is for her benefit, not yours… well, you can only try!
Research has shown that men who have sex two times per week have fewer heart attacks than those who do not. The hormones released during sex (specifically Oxytocin and Oestrogen for women) cause an increase in blood pressure and heart rate which can reduce the likelihood of cardiovascular disease.
Lindau, S., Schumm, L., Laumann, E., Levinson, W., O’Muircheartaigh, C. and Waite, L. (2007). A Study of Sexuality and Health among Older Adults in the United States. New England Journal of Medicine, 357(8), pp.762-774.
Brody, S. (2006). Blood pressure reactivity to stress is better for people who recently had penile-vaginal intercourse than for people who had other or no sexual activity. Biological Psychology, 71(2), pp.214-222.
Ditzen, B., Hoppmann, C. and Klumb, P. (2008). Positive Couple Interactions and Daily Cortisol: On the Stress-Protecting Role of Intimacy. Psychosomatic Medicine, 70(8), pp.883-889.
Brody, S., Veit, R. and Rau, H. (2000). A preliminary report relating frequency of vaginal intercourse to heart rate variability, Valsalva ratio, blood pressure, and cohabitation status. Biological Psychology, 52(3), pp.251-257.