Besides the obvious reasons one might have for having sex – love, pleasure, procreation – science shows that there are quite a few health benefits to getting intimate. Sex can be good for you in more ways than one.
Here are 10 reasons why getting ‘busy’ can improve your health:
1. It strengthens your heart
A British study found that regular sex may benefit the cardiovascular system. Men who had sex at least twice a week over a period of 20 years were less likely to have died from heart disease than those who got it on less than once a month. In fact, their risk of sudden death was 50% less than that of the group that had less sex, although that gap lessened over the next decade.
2. It lowers your blood pressure and stress levels
Intimacy promotes better blood pressure control, and better stress management overall. According to a 2005 Scottish study, people who have sex before anxiety-inducing tasks, like public speaking or solving difficult problems, experienced smaller blood pressure spikes, and recovered from them more quickly, than those who hadn’t – Only penile-vaginal intercourse seemed to have this effect, not masturbation or other forms of sexual activity.
3. It burns calories
According to a 2013 study in which volunteers wore activity trackers during sexual intercurse, men burn about 101 calories per session, while women torch an average of 69. Depending on how physical you get, sex can strengthen muscle tone, increase your heart rate, and get your whole body working, says Justin Lehmiller, PhD, creator of lecturer in the department of psychology at Purdue University and author of The Psychology of Human Sexuality.
4. It helps you sleep
After orgasm, the body releases a relaxation hormone called prolactin. “If you’re not feeling particularly tired beforehand, having sex and reaching orgasm may certainly help you nod off a little more quickly than you would have otherwise,” , says Kristin Mark, PhD, director of the Sexual Health Promotion Lab at the University of Kentucky.
5. It makes you look younger
This can get a lot of people in the “mood”. Researches from the 2013 British Psychological Society found that people who had frequent sex (at least three times a week for people in their 40s and 50s) look between four and seven years younger than those who had less.
The reason? Researches believe that the endorphins and feel-good chemicals released during intimacy boosts blood flow and helps regulate hormones, plus sex’s beneficial effects on sleep and stress levels.
6. It may protect against cancer
A French study found that women who had sex regularly were less likely to develop breast cancer than those who didn’t. Some studies have suggested that men who ejaculate more frequently may have a reduced risk of prostate cancer—although the difference appears to be very small, and others haven’t found a conclusive link.
7. It boosts immunity
According to a Wilkes University study, Getting busy on a weekly basis stimulates the immune system. Researchers gave volunteers questionnaires about their sex lives, then tested their saliva for levels of immunoglobulin A (IgA), an antibody that helps fight off viruses. The study found that those who had sex once or twice a week had 30% more IgA than those who had sex less frequently.
8. It may extend your life
According to a Duke University study, sex actually helps people live longer. Researchers found that for men, frequency of intercourse was related to longer lifespans; while for women, enjoyment of intercourse was the most significant factor.
9. It strengthens relationships
Want to boost your relationship even more? Be sure to cuddle after sex. Physical intimacy and skin-to-skin contact can help release Oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone,” which increases romantic feelings between you and your partner, according to a University of Toronto study.
10. It amy be the key to lasting happiness
According to a 2014 study from Johns Hopkins University, couples who regularly engaged in sexual activity—even as little as once a month—reported greater marital satisfaction and happier relationships than those who hadn’t in a year or more.