How has your sex life been? Are you having enough? These questions might be too taboo for some people. But you should know that sex is natural, and we all need it. Sex is an integral part of human life and is beneficial to our overall well-being. Some argue that sex should fall under basic human needs, and rightfully so. After all, humans as species cannot survive without sex.
However, sexual health is more than mere procreation and population growth. Several studies suggest that regular sex promotes better heart health, positive mental state, immunity, intimacy, and longevity. It also has social benefits that can help you build a strong relationship with your partner.
People, of course, have different lifestyles, situations, and preferences when it comes to sex. Fortunately, sex and orgasm are not limited to couples. Everyone can experience its benefits, including individuals who prefer to be single. That said, let’s explore the reasons why improving your sex life is good for you, aside from the fact that it can be fun and pleasurable.
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How much sex do you need?
No right amount of sex is universal to everyone’s needs — what feels right for you and your partner is enough, so long as you’re having sex at all. A 2017 study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior found that the average adult currently enjoys sex 54 times a year, or an average of about once a week. It also found that the number remained almost the same with married couples — 51 times a year.
Interestingly, though, the Social Psychological and Personality Science published another study — which surveyed more than 30,000 Americans over 40 years — and discovered that having sex once a week was the gold standard for happiness. But more does not necessarily mean better. Couples who had sex more than once a week did not claim to be any happier, and those who had it less than once a week reported feeling less satisfied.
Nonetheless, the frequency of sex has a much better impact on your physical health than it does on your emotions. Since sex counts as an exercise, the more you do it, the better the benefits.
How can sex benefit your body?
A 2013 study suggests that sex is a good cardio exercise among younger men and women.
Like any other physical activity, sex can help keep your heart healthy, can help you reach and maintain a healthy weight, and can even add more years to your life. Depending on the intensity, sexual activity can potentially be considered a significant exercise. And while it isn’t enough exercise on its own, it is more enjoyable and appreciated than the 30 minutes exercise session in the gym.
Here are some health benefits you can gain from regular sex:
- Lowers blood pressure
- Burns calories
- Improves heart health
- Strengthens muscles
- Reduces your risk of heart diseases, stroke, and hypertension
- Increases libido
Since physical fitness may help improve overall sexual performance, it’s not surprising that people who have active sex lives are likely to exercise more often and have healthier eating habits than those less sexually active individuals.
10 Health Benefits of Sex
Sex activates a variety of neurotransmitters that can affect your brain and body. It also promotes bonding and feelings of intimacy with your partner. To go further into details, here are ten healthy reasons why you need to improve your sex life:
1. It Contributes to a Stronger Immune System
Engaging in sexual activities at least once or twice a week can help boost your immune system. A 2004 research — which shows the relationship between immunity and sexual frequency — has defined sexual encounters as infrequent (less than once a week), frequent (one to two times per week), and very frequent (more than thrice a week).
This study of 112 college students found that people who had frequent sex had significantly more immunoglobulin A (IgA) in their saliva than those who had it less than once a week. IgA is an antibody that gives you protection from illnesses. IgA also acts as the first line of defense against human papillomavirus (HPV), the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). Since having it often may also predispose you to STIs, having more IgA is crucial in keeping you healthy.
Strikingly, those who copulate more than three times a week did not have better IgA than those who had it less than once a week. But then again, this study was never repeated since it was published. Thus, more research on the matter might yield a better conclusion.
2. Sex Affords a Better Heart Health
Some might worry that the exertion involved in sexual activity might cause heart problems. But the American Heart Association’s Scientific Statement on Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease say that having sex is safe if you have no existing heart condition and can perform mild to moderate physical activities. Such activities include brisk walking and climbing two flights of stairs.
A 2015 study published in the American Journal of Cardiology suggests that men having sex as often as twice a week or more had a lesser risk of stroke and heart attack than those who rarely had mated. The same goes for women. A 2016 research found that sexually active women, especially with a regular partner, have a lower risk of cardiac events later in life than sexually inactive women. With all this evidence, it’s safe to say that having a healthy sex life can be good for your heart. Plus, it is a rather enjoyable form of exercise than running on a treadmill.
3. It Lowers Blood Pressure
Many studies suggest a link between rolling under the sheets and lower blood pressure. One Scottish study found that sexual activity can help reduce blood pressure during stressful events. However, the study has emphasized that low blood pressure is achieved only in sex with penile-vaginal intercourse (PVI). While this effect is not as pronounced in non-penetrative sex and masturbation, these sexual acts still have other benefits.
4. Sex Relieves Pain
Endorphins are the body’s natural pain killers, and copulating can trigger their release. According to experts, sexual activity can relieve head pain associated with migraine or cluster headaches in some people. A study published in 2013 shows that 60% of people with migraine reported an improvement in pain after sexual activity. In people who have cluster headaches, 37% of them reported an improvement in pain after an amorous congress. Furthermore, around 70% and 91% of sexually active individuals have reported moderate to complete relief in migraine and cluster headaches, respectively, after doing it.
5. It Relieves Stress
Did you know that sex can be a natural stress reliever? A 2019 study explored the effect of a couple’s expression of intimacy on cortisol levels in response to stress. Cortisol is a steroid hormone released by the body when stressed. Researchers found that the expression of intimacy does help in bringing cortisol levels back within the normal range. In other words, having sex and intimacy time with your partner can help reduce stress.
6. It Reduces the Risk of Prostate Cancer
An early study published in 2004 suggested that frequent ejaculation may reduce the risk of prostate cancer. The study looked into men aged 46 to 81 years and how often they ejaculated at different points in their life. The conclusion was that men who ejaculated more than 21 times per week had a lower risk of prostate cancer than those who ejaculated 4-7 times per month.
A more recent study published in 2016 in the journal European Urology conducted an additional 10-year follow-up to the original analysis on the association between ejaculation frequency and prostate cancer. This follow-up confirmed the initial findings that the more you ejaculate, the better your prostate health.
7. It Gives You Better Sleep and Increased Sexual Desire
If you have insomnia, having sex may help you sleep better. That’s because sex and orgasm facilitate the release of the hormone prolactin, which is responsible for feelings of relaxation and sleepiness. Orgasm also stimulates the release of oxytocin and endorphins. And when these two hormones combine, they can act as sedation.
In addition, sleep can help improve sexual desire as well. According to a 2015 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, getting enough sleep can promote healthy sexual desire and increase your likelihood of engaging in regular sex. The same 2015 study found that women who slept more hours reported greater sexual desire the next day.
8. It Increases Lifespan
Believe it or not, having a healthy sex life might be the secret to living longer. In a decade-long study of about 1,000 middle-aged men, the mortality rate was 50% lower for those who had frequent orgasms. Of course, many other factors can contribute to longevity. However, there aren’t many ways to make extending your lifespan as easy and as pleasurable as having an active sex life.
9. Sex Gives You Glowing, Younger-Looking Skin
Forget surgery and anti-aging products; sex is a more natural and a better way to look younger. That fabled “after sex” glow is not just your imagination; sex can keep you younger-looking by causing a combination of stress relief, better mood, and a flush of blood under the skin (a natural part of the arousal process).
Regular sex also triggers the release of estrogen and testosterone, hormones that make you look young and vibrant. What’s more, a 2013 research by Dr. David Weeks claims that regular activity can make both men and women look five to seven years younger! Isn’t that amazing?
10. It Leads to a Happier Mood and Stronger Relationship
Relationships are complicated, and the experience is unique to everyone. But one common thing about relationships is that sex creates bonding and intimacy between partners, thanks to oxytocin. This “love hormone” plays a role in developing relationships by helping build feelings of love and trust.
The stress-relieving effect of sex can already put you in a happier mood. It’s not surprising that constant and mutual pleasure promotes a connection that brings you closer to your partner; this is especially true if couples can fulfill each others’ sexual desires. A 2017 report published in the journal of Psychological Science indicates the significance of sexual afterglow in married couples; and found that satisfaction remained for 48 hours after sexual activity. Sexual afterglow is a feeling of intense relaxation and happiness right after having sex and orgasm. Not all couples can experience afterglow. But those who are lucky enough to experience it reported happier relationships several months later.
What about those who don’t have partners?
You don’t need a partner to masturbate, which is considered sex. However, masturbating alone won’t trigger the release of as much oxytocin or other mood-boosting hormones as having partnered sex, which means a little less benefit when it comes to mood and relationships. That said, even without a partner, you can still enjoy physiological benefits like pain relief, better sleep, and a lower risk of prostate cancer.
While being sexually active can be a pleasurable way of living healthy, it is essential to remember that unprotected sex has potential health risks. If you are not careful and do not use contraceptives, you may be at risk of unplanned pregnancies or having sexually transmitted infections (STIs) – unless, of course, you’re strictly monogamous.
But for those who have multiple partners, using a condom is recommended to minimize the risk of contracting HIV or AIDS. If the experience becomes painful or causes bleeding, you should seek medical advice as soon as possible.
Sex is an essential part of life and overall well-being. In relationships, orgasms play a significant role in building stronger connections thru increased bonding and feelings of intimacy. Physical and emotional health benefits like reduced risk of heart disease, better mood, stress relief, stronger immunity, and more can come from having sex.
Those who don’t have partners can still have similar benefits without sex. Engaging in other activities like exercising, interacting with pets, and spending time with friends and family could potentially offer the same benefits.
Sex is just one of the many ways to improve your quality of life. Be that as it may, not many are as fun, pleasurable, and healthy as having sexual activity. For couples who want to grow old happier together with their partner, consider doing it at least once a week. For individuals who wish to remain single, masturbation is the next best thing to sex. And for those who are single, but not by choice, it’s never too late to find someone out there. So, let’s get busy!