According to Dr. Sandra L. Caron, PhD, sex therapist and professor of family relations and human sexuality at the University of Maine’s College of Education and Human Development in Orono, “There have been lots of studies describing the health benefits of sex”. These studies have shown that sex is extremely beneficial to our health. Sex activates a variety of neurotransmitters that impact not only our brains but several other organs in our bodies.
The benefits of sex for both men and women include:
- Better heart health, possibly including a lower risk for heart disease
- Better immune system
- Better sleep
- Decreased depression and anxiety
- Immediate, natural pain relief
- Improved self-esteem
- Increased intimacy and closeness to a sexual partner
- Increased libido
- Lower blood pressure
- Overall stress reduction, both physiologically and emotional
- Reduced prostate cancer risk
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.
Researchers once found out that people who had sex at least once a week were 44 percent more likely to be happy than people who didn’t. However not having sex the proper way can rubish all these benefits.
What is Safe Sex?
Safe sex is defined as having sexual contact while protecting yourself and your sexual partner against sexually transmissible infections (STIs) and unplanned pregnancy. Sexual contact that doesn’t involve the exchange of semen, vaginal fluids, or blood between partners is considered to be safe sex.
Having sex with only one partner who only has sex with you when neither of you has a sexually transmitted infection (STI) is also believed to be safe.
Unsafe sex may put you or your partner at risk of STIs such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, Mycoplasma genitalium, HIV, or hepatitis B, or may result in an unplanned pregnancy.
How To Have Safe Sex
Generally, the only way to be completely sure you won’t get an STD is to never have any kind of sexual contact with another person. But that doesn’t work for the vast majority of people most of us are sexually intimate or active with other people at some point in our lives. So if you’re going to have sex, making it safer sex is the best way to help you avoid getting or passing an STD.
According to Planned Parenthood, there are several ways to practice safe sex they include:
- Use barrier method: Using barrier methods like condoms, internal condoms, dental dams, and latex or nitrile gloves every single time you have oral, anal, or vaginal sex, or do anything that can pass sexual fluids (like sharing sex toys) can protect you and your partner from sexual fluids and some skin-to-skin contact, which can both spread STDs.
- Get tested for STDs: Another important way to practice safe sex is regularly testing for STDs. The CDC encourages all sexually active women younger than 25 years should be tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia every year. Women 25 years and older with risk factors such as new or multiple sex partners or a sex partner who has an STD should also be tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia every year. Most people with STDs don’t have symptoms or know they’re infected, and they can easily pass the infection to their partners. The best reason to get tested for STIs is that it encourages honest communication with your sexual partners about STI risks and safer sex. Unless you and your partners have been tested, there’s no way to know if you have infections you need to disclose. It’s a good idea to play safe even in low-risk situations. All adults and adolescents from ages 13 to 64 should be tested at least once for HIV.
- Avoid or limit Alcohol: Consuming alcohol makes it difficult to practice safe sex. From the Bible to pop music, the implication that alcohol works like some sort of love potion has been around for ages. It’s a common belief that alcohol gets you loosened up, horny, and ready for action. Recent reports have suggested that the use of alcohol or drugs is related to sexual behavior that is high risk for HIV infection. It’s also harder to use condoms correctly and remember other safer sex basics when you’re drunk or high. Avoid drinking alcohol or using drugs as this increases the chance that you will participate in high-risk sex.
- Stay with a faithful sexual partner: Being in a committed relationship where safe sex is practiced is a way to curb the risk of deadly infections. As estimated by the World Health Organization, every year, there are 357 million new cases of sexually transmitted infections. Limit your sexual activity to only one partner who is having sex only with you to reduce exposure to disease-causing organisms. Practicing learning how to have safe sex with your faithful partner has many benefits but infidelity can have harmful consequences for all those involved.
- Explore Non Contact sex: Exploring other forms of sexual activities other than vaginal, oral, or anal sex can be very beneficial. These are techniques that do not involve the exchange of body fluids or contact between mucous membranes. According to WebMD, the safest sexual activities involve things like:
- Caressing your partner with a nonsexual massage
- Fantasizing or having phone sex
- Rubbing against your partner’s body with clothes on
- Touching yourself (masturbation) while having your partner touch themselves (mutual masturbation)
How to Have Better Sex
Safe sex does not limit the enjoyment that comes with sex, you can practice safe sex and still benefit from the trill and full satisfaction and benefits that sex brings, even if you are having sex for the first time.
Here are a few tips you can adopt for a better sex life:
- Be Sexually Educated. Knowing what to expect during sex is not difficult especially with the sea of resources available today. For a woman, the first time you have vaginal sex, it may hurt or feel good, or both. There might be pain and bleeding the first time a penis or fingers go into your vagina, but it doesn’t happen to everybody. For a man, having sex for the first time can also be uncomfortable because of penetration and friction. But it should not hurt you. And if you feel hurt with every encounter, try lubricants to reduce the pain. If you still feel pain or discomfort, you should see a doctor as it might be due to some underlying medical condition.
- Be Patient. Everyone’s first time having sex is different and there’s no right or wrong way to do it. This may come as a surprise but it takes years to get really good at sex. In fact, the award-winning, much-celebrated sex guide Enduring Desire (by marital and sex therapists Michael Metz and Barry McCarthy) points to research that found that the best sex occurs in couples who have been together for 15 years or longer! Some women can orgasm during sex, but they don’t necessarily have an orgasm every time they have sex. Many women can’t reach orgasm through vaginal sex at all. Women experience orgasms in different ways, and they can feel different for an individual woman at different times. You can adapt the four-step program that helps women learn how to achieve orgasm and have a happy and healthy sex life.
- Effective Lubrication. Vaginal dryness happens when the tissues in your vagina are dry, thin, and not well-moisturized. This leads to discomfort, especially during sex. Vaginal dryness occurs at any age. This can be easily solved with lubricating liquids and gels. Use these freely to avoid painful sex — a problem that can snowball into flagging libido and growing relationship tensions. When lubricants no longer work, discuss other options with your doctor.
- Adopt different sex positions. When it comes to sex positions, you might have a few favorites that you rely on, from the standard (hello, missionary) to the more unique (like the pinball wizard). But, as with all things, variety can bring something fresh and exciting to your bedroom endeavors. For example, the increased stimulation to the G-spot that occurs when a man enters his partner from behind can help the woman reach orgasm.
- Promote touching. Sensual touch can help you re-establish physical intimacy without feeling pressured. This kind of touch promotes connection and relaxation, while also building intimacy. Researchers have found that by simply encouraging more touch, it was sometimes enough to solve a couple’s sexual problems.
- Practice Kegel exercises. Healthy pelvic floor muscles can help you have stronger orgasms, some women report that doing Kegels helps their sex life, in part because the stronger muscle might be easier to contract during orgasm and because this exercise promotes blood flow to the pelvic area. But if you’re not having sex, don’t write this off. Having healthy pelvic floor muscles is vital for both men and women to live a pain-free, incontinence-free, and healthy life, regardless of their sexual activity.Read: How To Treat Sexual Problems