Good sexual and reproductive health according to UNFPA is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being in all matters relating to the reproductive system. It implies that people are able to have a satisfying and safe sex life, the capability to reproduce, and the freedom to decide if, when, and how often to do so. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the average age of first (vaginal) sexual intercourse has remained fairly stable at about 17 years for both men and women. In this article we will look at the health benefits of sex to both men and women
Health Benefits Of Sex for men
Reduced risk of Prostate Cancer in Men
A recent review found that men who had more frequent penile-vaginal intercourse (PVI) had less risk of developing prostate cancer. One study found that men who averaged having 4.6 to 7 ejaculations a week were 36 percent less likely to receive a prostate cancer diagnosis before the age of 70. This is in comparison to men who reported ejaculating 2.3 or fewer times a week on average. SEE: Prostate Massage Therapy for Erectile Dysfunction
Sex Makes Fertilization Easier
When it comes to expanding your family, practice makes perfect. A study performed at a fertility center found that men who had daily ejaculations for a week had higher-quality sperm than those who did not ejaculate daily. Men in the daily ejaculation group had sperm with DNA that was less fragmented than the DNA from sperm of men who ejaculated less frequently. Less fragmented DNA implies healthier DNA. And hearty sperm that have healthy DNA are more likely to fertilize an egg. SEE: Side Effects of Masturbation in Females
Increase Life Span in men
For men, sex may even affect your mortality. One study that had a 10 year follow-up reported that men who had frequent orgasms (defined as two or more a week) had a 50 percent lower mortality risk than those who had sex less often. Although results are conflicting, the quality and health of your sperm may increase with increased sexual activity, as some research suggests. SEE: How To Live Stronger and Longer
Improve Cardiovascular Health
Better cardiovascular health may be as close as the bedroom. While some people may worry that physical exertion from sex may lead to a stroke, science suggests otherwise. In a 20-year-long study of more than 900 men, researchers found that frequency of sex did not increase stroke risk. They found that sex protects against fatal heart attacks, too. Men who had sex at least twice per week reduced their risk of a fatal heart attack by 50% compared to gents who had sex less than once a month.
Health Benefits of Sex for Women
Sex improves women’s bladder control.
Urinary incontinence affects about 30% of women at some point in life. Having regular orgasms works a woman’s pelvic floor muscles, strengthening and toning them. Orgasms activate the same muscles that women use when doing Kegel exercises. Having stronger pelvic muscles means there’s less risk of accidents and urine leaks. SEE: What Are The Side Effects Of Masturbation In Males
Sex can lessen pain.
Sexual stimulation (including masturbation) and orgasm can help keep pain at bay. Both activities can reduce pain sensation and increase your pain threshold. Orgasms result in the release of hormones that can help block pain signals. Some women report that self-stimulation through masturbation can reduce symptoms of menstrual cramps, arthritis, and even headache.
In general having an orgasm for women increases blood flow and releases natural pain-relieving chemicals.
Sexual activity in women can:
- improve bladder control
- reduce incontinence
- relieve menstrual and premenstrual cramps
- improve fertility
- build stronger pelvic muscles
- help produce more vaginal lubrication
- potentially protect you against endometriosis, or the growing of tissue outside your uterus
The act of sex can also help strengthen your pelvic floor. A strengthened pelvic floor can also offer benefits like less pain during sex and reduced chance of a vaginal prolapse. One study shows that PVI can result in reflexive vaginal contractions caused by penile thrusting. Women who continue to be sexually active after menopause are less likely to have significant vaginal atrophy, or the thinning of vaginal walls. Vaginal atrophy can cause pain during sex and urinary symptoms. READ: How to Stop Masturbation Addiction Permanently
Health Benefits of Sex for men and Women
Sex is a confidence booster
Frequent sexual activity, whether with a partner or alone, can make you look younger. This is partially due to the release of estrogen during sex. One study found a correlation between frequent sexual activity and looking significantly younger (between seven to 12 years younger). The majority of these individuals were also comfortable expressing their sexuality and sexual identity.
Sex has many social benefits
Sex can help you connect to your partner, thanks to oxytocin. Oxytocin can play a role in developing relationships. You may find that consistent, mutual sexual pleasure helps with bonding within a relationship. Coupled partners often have increased relationship satisfaction when they fulfill one another’s sexual desires. You may find positive growth in your relationship when you’re able to express yourself and your sexual desires.
Get Less Colds & Boost Your Immune System
More sex equals fewer sick days. That’s what the results of studies comparing sexually active people to those who are not sexually active say. Sex boosts your body’s ability to make protective antibodies against bacteria, viruses, and other germs that cause common illnesses. Of course, there’s more to cultivating a robust immune system than having a healthy sex life. Eating right, exercising, getting adequate sleep, and keeping up to date with vaccinations all contribute to having strong and healthy defenses against contagious illnesses.
Sex boots your libido.
Believe it or not, the best antidote for a waning libido is to have sex! Having sex actually boosts desire. And if pain and vaginal dryness make it challenging for some women to have sex, sexual activity can help combat these problems, too. Sex boosts vaginal lubrication, blood flow to the vagina, and elasticity of the tissues, all of which make for better, more pleasurable sex and heightened libido.
Sex lowers your blood pressure.
Are you one of the millions of people who suffer from high blood pressure? Sex can help you lower it. Many studies have documented a link between intercourse specifically (not masturbation) and lower systolic blood pressure, the first number that appears on a blood pressure test. That’s good news for individuals looking for an easy adjunct to lifestyle (diet, exercise, stress reduction) and medication strategies to get blood pressure into a healthy range. Sex sessions cannot replace blood-pressure lowering drugs to control high blood pressure, but they may be a useful addition.
Sex counts as exercise.
Like every other kind of physical activity, sex burns calories, too! Sitting and watching TV burns about 1 calorie per minute. Having sex increases your heart rate and utilizes various muscle groups, burning about 5 calories per minute. Regular sex cannot replace sessions at the gym, but a having an active, healthy sex life is a nice way to get some extra physical activity.
Sex can lower heart attack risks.
Want a healthier heart? Have more sex. Sexual activity helps keep levels of hormones, like estrogen and testosterone, in check. When these hormones are out of balance, conditions like heart disease and osteoporosis may develop. When it comes to protecting heart health by having sex, more is better. One study in men showed that those who had sex at least 2 times a week were 50% less likely to die of heart disease than their less sexually active peers.
Sex can help ease stress
Sex is a great stress reliever. That’s because touching, hugging, sexual intimacy, and emotional attachment stimulate the release of “feel good” substances that promote bonding and calmness. Sexual arousal also releases substances that stimulate the reward and pleasure system in the brain. Fostering intimacy and closeness can help relieve anxiety and boost overall health.
Sex burns calories and helps lose weight
Add sex to the list of activities that burns calories. One study in young men and women showed that sex burns about 108 calories per half hour! That’s enough to burn off 3, 570 calories – that’s a little more than the number of calories in one pound – in 32 half-hour sessions.
Sex makes you look younger
Forget surgery and anti-aging creams, sex keeps you younger looking, too. Regular sex stimulates the release of estrogen and testosterone, hormones that keep you young and vital looking. Estrogen promotes younger-looking skin and lustrous locks. In one study, judges viewed participants through a one-way mirror and guessed their ages. People who had sex at least 4 times per week with a regular partner were perceived to be 7 to 12 years younger than they actually were.
Sex improves brain function.
The benefits of sex truly extend from head to toe. An active sex life might actually make your brain work better. Researchers found that sex switches the brain into a more analytical mode of and thinking processing. And animal studies suggest that sex enhances areas of the brain involved in memory.
Sex boost mental health
Sexual activity, with a partner or through masturbation, can provide important psychological and emotional benefits. Like exercise, sex can help reduce stress and anxiety and increase happiness. Studies suggest that sexual activity (defined as PVI) may correlate with:
- increased satisfaction with your mental health
- increased levels of trust, intimacy, and love in your relationships
- improved ability to perceive, identify, and express emotions
- lessened use of your immature psychological defense mechanism, or the mental processes to reduce distress from emotional conflict
At an older age, sexual activity may affect your well-being and ability to think. Research found that sexually active adults between 50 to 90 years old had better memory. They were also less likely to feel depressed and lonely. READ How to Improve Your Sexual Performance