Sex and sexuality are both parts of life. Besides reproduction, sex may be about intimacy and enjoyment. Sexual activity, penile-vaginal intercourse (PVI), or masturbation can bring many unexpected benefits to all areas of your life:
- Physical condition
Sexual well being is more than preventing infections and unplanned pregnancy. It’s all about understanding that sex can be a very important part of your life, according to the American Sexual Health Association. There are many benefits of sex. Let’s look at them.
How can sex benefit your body?
This study indicates that sex may be a healthy cardiovascular exercise, a trusted source for younger men and women. Although sex is not enough exercise on its own, it can be called light exercise.
Some of the benefits of sex include:
- Blood pressure-lowering
- Burning of calories
- Increased heart protection
- Strengthen the muscles
- A reduced risk of stroke, hypertension, and heart disease
- Increased libido
Stronger immune system is one of the benefits of sex
People who had daily sex (one to two times a week) had more immunoglobulin A (IgA) in their saliva. This info was found in a study of immunity in intimate relationships. People who had little sex (less than once a week) had slightly less IgA.
IgA is an antibody that plays a part in disease prevention and is the first line of protection against human papillomavirus or HPV.
But those who had sex more than three times a week had the same amount of IgA as those who had no sex. The study suggests that anxiety and stress can cancel out the positive effects of sex.
A boost in your libido is one of the benefits of sex
Looking for more lively sex life? Lauren Streicher, MD, claims that having sex will increase the libido. She is an assistant clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
Having sex enhances vaginal lubrication, blood flow, and elasticity for women, she notes, all of which make sex feel better and make you want more.
Lowered blood pressure is one of the benefits of sex
Are you one of the millions who suffer from high blood pressure? Sex is going to make you lower it. A number of studies have recorded the correlation between intercourse directly (not masturbation) and lower systolic blood pressure, the first number that appears on the blood pressure test. That’s good news for people looking for simple lifestyle supplements (diet, exercise, stress reduction) and prescription methods to get blood pressure to a healthier range. Sex sessions may not be a replacement for blood pressure reducing medications to regulate high blood pressure, but they may be a valuable addition.
Improved Cardiovascular Health is one of the benefits of sex
Better cardiovascular health can be as near as the bedroom. Although some people may be worried that the physical exercise of sex may lead to a stroke, science suggests otherwise. In a 20-year study of more than 900 men, researchers found that the prevalence of sex did not raise the risk of stroke. They find that sex often protects against fatal heart attacks. Men who had sex at least twice a week decreased their risk of fatal heart attack by 50% compared to men who had sex less than once a month.
How sex benefits all genders
A recent study showed that men with more regular penile-vaginal intercourse (PVI) had a lower risk of developing prostate cancer.
One study showed that men who had an average of 4.6 to 7 ejaculations a week were 36% less likely to have a diagnosis of prostate cancer by the age of 70. This is compared to men who registered ejaculation on average 2.3 or fewer times a week.
For men, sex can also influence the mortality rate. A 10-year follow-up study found that men who had regular orgasms (defined as two or more per week) had a 50% lower risk of death than those who had sex less frequently.
Although the findings are contradictory, the quality and health of your sperm may improve with increased sexual activity, as some research suggests.
Orgasm increases blood flow and activates natural pain-relieving chemicals.
Sexual activity in women may:
- Improve control of the bladder
- Reducing incontinence
- Relief of menstrual and premenstrual cramps
- Improving fertility
- Building stronger pelvic muscles
- Support to create more vaginal lubrication
- Potentially protect you from endometriosis or tissue growth beyond your uterus.
The act of sex will help to reinforce your pelvic floor. Strengthened pelvic flooring can also provide benefits such as less discomfort during intercourse and a decreased risk of vaginal prolapse. One study shows that PVI can result in reflexive vaginal contractions triggered by penile clamping.
Women who continue to be sexually active after menopause are less likely to experience severe vaginal atrophy or thinning of the vaginal walls. Vaginal atrophy can cause pain during sex and urinary symptoms.
How Relationships Benefit From Sex?
Beyond individual benefits to you and your partner, normal sex promotes a healthy relationship in a variety of ways. For example, oxytocin produced during sex enhances a sense of bonding and improves emotional intimacy.
Sex in a monogamous relationship increases the level of engagement and emotional relationship with the other person. Expressing love by sex increases the probability that couples will stay together. As a consequence, sex is positively correlated with a lower rate of divorce.
How can sex benefit your mental health?
Sexual activity, with a partner or by masturbation, may bring major psychological and emotional benefits. Like exercise, sex can help to alleviate stress and anxiety and increase happiness.
Studies indicate that sexual activity (defined as PVI) may be associated with:
- Improved satisfaction with your mental health
- Increased levels of trust, intimacy, and affection in your relationship
- Improved capacity to interpret, recognize, and express emotions;
- Reduced use of the immature psychological defense system or mental mechanisms to minimize interpersonal conflict distress.
At an older age, sexual activity can affect your well-being and your ability to think. Research has shown that sexually active people between 50 and 90 years of age have improved memory. They were much less likely to feel lonely and depressed.
Having sex more frequently (or at least once a week) has many benefits for a caring and healthy relationship. That being said, increasing intimacy is still possible if you’re unable to have sex.
If you don’t have sex often, ask yourself why. Often seeing a sex therapist can be the best way to work on your relationship and your personal problems. Therapy supports both people and couples.