When you’re in the mood, you’re probably not thinking about how sex can boost your immune system or improve your cardiovascular health. Yet sex offers these health benefits and more.
Good sexual health may mean better physical health. Frequent sex increases the level of the immune-boosting antibody immunoglobulin A, which can protect you from getting colds and other infections.
Improves cardiovascular health
In one study, researchers found that having sex twice or more a week reduced the risk of fatal heart attack in men by half, compared with those who had sex less than once a month.
Studies such as this suggest sex is part of an overall heart-healthy lifestyle. And if you’re too out of shape to enjoy sex, that may be motivation for lifestyle changes.
It could improve your memory
As we get older, brain function naturally declines.
But a 2018 study by Australian researchers, published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, found that sex could improve your memory when you’re older, with results showing a direct correlation between more frequent sexual activity and memory performance.
The link was strongest among older participants in the study of more than 6000 adults over the age of 50, suggesting that sexual activity has a positive effect on memory.
It keeps you sharp
Frequent sex is good for verbal fluency, language, visual fluency, and visuospatial ability.
A 2016 study found that older adults who had sex weekly performed better on cognitive tests around memory, attention, word recall, and visual and verbal recognition. An additional 2016 study by researchers at McGill University in Canada found that sex helps with nervous tissue growth in the hippocampus, the part of the brain that controls emotions, memory, and the nervous system.
Everybody’s heard the old headache excuse, but sex can actually relieve pain. Before an orgasm, the hormone oxytocin surges, endorphins increase and pain declines.
In a study published in the Bulletin of Experimental Biology and Medicine, 48 volunteers who inhaled oxytocin vapour before having their fingers pricked lowered their pain threshold by more than half.
Builds emotional intimacy
Sex can strengthen the emotional bond between you and your partner. The increase in oxytocin (the so-called ‘love hormone’) sparks feelings of intimacy, affection, and closeness with your partner.
Higher oxytocin has also been linked with a feeling of generosity.
Not only will having sex improve your mood in the moment, but one study found people who have more sex to be less anxious when faced with stressful tasks.
The Scottish researchers reported their findings in the journal Biological Psychology. They studied 24 women and 22 men who kept records of their sexual activity. The researchers then subjected them to stressful situations such as public speaking and noted their blood pressure. It was found that those who had sex more frequently had lower blood pressure and a higher overall reduction in stress.
A hormone called dehydroepiandrosterone is released when you orgasm. This improves immunity, repairs tissue and keeps the skin healthy. One study suggested that married women who climaxed more often had a slight tendency to live longer. Another study found men who orgasm at least twice a week live longer than those who have sex a few times a month.
To be fair, researchers aren’t sure if sex actually lengthens life or if having sex is a sign of a healthier person. But why take any chances?
If you have an active sex life in middle age, you’re more likely to keep it up as you get older, which is linked to better health and happiness.
It could help you sleep
When all those hormones that spike during sex wear off, it can leave you feeling really tired. This is the reason behind that feeling of wanting to doze off in your partner’s arms after a session between the sheets.
Oxytocin production is often accompanied by melatonin production too, the primary hormone that regulates our body clocks. Melatonin has a calming effect on our brains.
Sex burns calories
It’s not as good as a full workout but sex typically raises your heart rate about the same as a brisk walk or a slow bike ride.
Half an hour of lovemaking burns more than 80 calories. It may not sound like much, but it adds up.
Do you have a healthy sex life? Are there any other reasons you’d add to the list? Why not share your thoughts in the comments section below?
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