Sex Doesn't Just Feel Good, It's Good For You
We all know that sex feels good, but did you also know that sex has a myriad of health benefits from lowering your blood pressure, to improving your mood, to helping your immune system work better, to making you feel closer to your partner? As if we needed any more reasons to get busy!
This article will go into the specific benefits of sex to your body, mind, and relationships and explain the science behind them. It should go without saying, however, that in order to be beneficial, sex needs to be consensual and protected from STIs and unintended pregnancy. It’s also important to note that some of these benefits (though not all) can come from masturbation as well, so don’t worry if you don’t have a partner right now.
Here are some of the things that sex can make better:
Sex can enhance physical fitness. No matter how hard you go at it, sex is not exactly a workout—studies show we burn an average of 4 calories a minute when we have sex which is not that many more than what we burn just sitting still (1 or 2 calories per minute). But sex does get your heart rate up and stretches your muscles and as such it’s one way to stay physically fit.
Sex can be a natural pain reliever. Next time you have a headache you could reach for your partner instead of the bottle of pain reliever. Orgasms release endorphins, a brain chemical that is known to block pain and stress. Studies have found that women’s pain tolerance goes up 75% during an orgasm. Men can be helped too. A study found that 30% of men and women who suffered from migraines found relief by having sex during the episode as did 60% who suffered from cluster headaches.
Sex lowers your blood pressure and increases heart health. One small study found that the day after a good orgasm, participants’ blood pressure was lower. The better the orgasm (yes, participants were asked to rate the big O), the lower their blood pressure was. Other studies have shown that men and women who have frequent satisfying sex are at lower risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
Sex boosts your immunity. Having sex might keep you healthy. In a study of college students, those who had sex once or twice week had levels of immunoglobulin A, an antibody that helps your body fight off germs, that were 30% higher than their peers who had no sex. It might not just be about the sex, though; the study also found that students who were in satisfying, long-term relationships had the highest levels of this antibody.
Sex decreases the risk of prostate cancer. Frequent ejaculation may prevent prostate cancer. Two studies have found that men who ejaculate more than 21 times a month are less likely to get prostate cancer than those who only get off four to seven times a month. This one isn’t tied to partnered sex; you can get the same benefit from masturbation.
Sex is good for your brain. We all lose a little cognitive function (brain power) as we age but those who have regular sex may have an advantage. A British study found that having sex at least once a week was predictive of improved brain function (especially in verbal ability) later in life.
Sex lowers stress and improves your mood. Orgasms release a lot of feel-good brain chemicals. There are endorphins like those that get released when you exercise; dopamine which is the brain’s reward for a job well done; and oxytocin which is referred to as a bonding hormone because it can flood you with feelings of love. (Oxytocin is the hormone that’s released after birth and during breastfeeding to help a mother bond with her baby.) All of these things together help make you feel relaxed and happy after sex.
Sex can help you sleep. There’s another hormone released during an orgasm called prolactin and it’s a natural sleep aid. While masturbation might help you get sleepy, sex with a partner may be better—a study found that people released 400% more prolactin after sex with a partner than after a solo session.
Sex can make you feel closer to your partner. There is a chemical reason for this as oxytocin helps you feel bonded to your partner. But that’s just part of the story; the cuddling, kissing, touching, and even the vulnerability that happens during sex also helps you feel closer to the person you’re having sex with. That closeness can extend into life outside the bedroom.
All of these are great reasons to keep having sex, but there’s another more obvious benefit to doing it—it feels good. Sometimes, it feels great!
Of course, sometimes things go wrong with sex—one partner can’t orgasm or another one comes too quickly. Don’t let this throw you off course, look for solutions instead. If you or your partner is climaxing too soon, consider the in2 patch, for example. This innovative, wearable patch is proven to help men last longer by gently contracting the pelvic floor muscles. (Click here to try the starter pack which includes one high intensity and one low intensity patch.)
There are very few things in life that both feel good and are good for us, but sex is definitely one of them. If it’s not feeling good or you find yourself giving up before you get started because you fear having a problem, talking to a health care provider or sex therapist can help.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical or professional advice, nor shall be considered, used, or relied upon as a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always consult with your physician about any health-related condition, as well as risks and benefits of any treatment.