Let’s talk about sex, baby… Not only is it fun and makes us feel great, but it also turns out sex can boost our health.
With many of us leading hectic lives, intimate time with our partner can be few and far between. Daily stresses centred on work, family and limited free time means we often put sex on the back burner. But perhaps if more of us knew of the fantastic health benefits to having sex, we’d prioritise it.
Like running or going to the gym, sex is an aerobic form of exercise that unleashes a dose of the body’s feel-good hormone serotonin – except this workout is much more enjoyable than 30 minutes on a treadmill.
Not only can sex help to improve our relationships, but science shows us that it can help to keep us healthy in both the emotional and physical sense too.
Here are some of the health benefits that come from heading to the bedroom, besides putting a smile on your face:
Sex is good for the heart
Around 30 minutes in the bedroom increases your pulse rate and helps keep your ticker fighting fit.
This is because sex is a good form of exercise: on average, men burn 4.2 calories per minute during sex, and women burn 3.1 calories per minute.
Sex reduces stress
Sex can help you to relax, and take your mind off everyday worries and anxieties.
During sex your body releases endorphins and oxytocin, and these feel-good hormones create feelings of relaxation and intimacy, as well as helping to stave off anxiety and depression.
In a small study of 46 men and women, participants were asked to do stress tests, including public speaking and doing mental arithmetic out loud. People who had no sex at all had higher stress levels than people who had either penetrative or non-penetrative sex. However, more studies are needed before we can draw any definite conclusions.
Sex could stop us getting sick
One study in Pennsylvania found that weekly love-making aids the body’s production of immunoglobulin A.
This is an antibody that strengthens our immune systems, therefore helping us to ward off disease.
However, more research is needed to work out whether sex really could stop us getting sick.
Sex stops us getting headaches
Although headaches are often used as an excuse not to head under the covers, orgasms actually provide a quick rush of blood to the head that keeps those brain aches away.
In one study of women who were complaining of migraines, 50% reported relief after climaxing.
Sex helps you sleep
Women often complain about their partners nodding off after intercourse, but science is actually on men’s sides.
Oxytocin, a hormone that promotes relaxation, is released by both sexes when they get passionate, research has found.
Sex improves fertility
Experts have shown that frequent ejaculation reduces damage to sperm. They think that this happens because the longer sperm stays in the testes, the more chance there is of its DNA becoming damaged.
Sex makes our brains sharper
A study from the University of Pavia in Italy found that regular sex encourages new nerve growth, which in turn makes us more alert. This is particularly so during the early stages of a relationship.
Sex prevents incontinence
Having sex is great exercise for women’s pelvic floor muscles.
They’re the ones that, among other things, help to control the flow of urine, so the stronger they are, the less likely it is you will become incontinent in later life.
Sex improves wellbeing
Like meditation, sex gives us a good, all-round feeling of being healthy and happy.
In a study of 3,000 Americans, those who had sex regularly rated their general health higher than those who did not.
Sex makes you happier
Endorphins are hormones which are naturally released during sex. They are known to improve your mood, thereby boosting your happiness levels, and helping you to stay emotionally healthy.
Remember that good sex – and good sexual health – should be an all year-round practice. LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor provides discreet, reliable home STI kits for when you need peace of mind.