Google “sexual health” and you’re most probably bombarded with pages from sexual norms and advice on relationships, birth control, and pregnancy, to information about STDs and how to avoid them. However, what isn’t easily found is the physical and psychological health benefits of sex. So, let’s explore more on that, shall we?
In exploring just how sex affects the mind and body, the list of potential benefits I researched into appears to be endless. Aside from reproduction, pleasure, and intimacy, sex seems to have a positive impact on many life areas, including work, physical and cognitive performance, marriage, and happiness into our senior years. Sex may also have a positive effect on certain organs and conditions, as well as a preventive effect on some diseases. Want an example? Keith Leavitt, Christopher M. Barnes, Trevor Watkins et al, produced a study called From the Bedroom to the Office: Workplace Spillover Effects of Sexual Activity at Home. They found out that by maintaining a healthy sex life at home, actually might boost job satisfaction and engagement at work.
Let’s dive a little deeper into the physiological side of things, shall we?
It appears that our immune systems are measured by levels of an antibody called immunoglobulin A within in saliva. With this is mind, the study ‘Sexual Frequency and Salivary Immunoglobulin A’ produced by Carl J. Charnetski and Francis X. Brennan found that those who had sex once or twice per week had a 30 percent increase in IgA. However, the same results were not seen in individuals who had sex more or less frequently.
Good for the heart
As we know already, physical activities that exercise the heart are good for your health, and this obviously includes sex. Being sexually aroused increases heart rate, especially with the number of beats per minute peaking during orgasm.
Lowers blood pressure
Research from the American Heart Association stated that high blood pressure increases the risk of heart attack sand strokes and can also affect your sex life. Why? Well, high blood pressure has an impact on blood flow throughout the body and can prevent enough blood flowing to the pelvis. In men for this matter, high blood pressure can lead to erectile dysfunction and in women, high blood pressure can lower libido and reduce interest in sex. However, a great way to reduce blood pressure? MORE SEX! (Well for women anyway) Michigan State University published in the Journal of Health, that women in the study aged between 57 and 85 years who found sex pleasurable or satisfying were less likely to have hypertension.
The University of Munster in Germany produced a study regarding sexual activity as pain relief for headaches and migranes. They found out that with the individuals involved in the study with a migraine, 60 percent of theme reported an improvement in pain after sexual activity, while 37 percent of people with a cluster headache reported an improvement. The reason? Endorphins! The release of endorphins is the mechanism behind pain relief. This hormone is the body’s natural painkiller and are released through the central nervous system, which can reduce or eliminate pain the experienced with a headache.
Insufficient sleep is a public health problem that is rapidly increasing, however sex could be the answer to help you achieve the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. During sex, a cocktail of chemicals is released in the brain, which includes oxytocin, dopamine, and a major rush of endorphins. Oxytocin, also known as the “cuddle hormone,” facilitates attachment and bonding, and it surges during sex in both men and women. it is thought that the effect of oxytocin, combined with the release of the hormone prolactin, which is linked to the feeling of satiety and relaxation, makes you feel sleepy.
Stress. The major hurdle in our lives. It can cause all kinds of health problems, from headaches, problems sleeping, muscle tension, and upset stomach, to more severe conditions, including a weakened immune system and chronic depression. However, what if I say that sex can reduce the effects of stress? Stuart Brody, a psychologist at the University of Paisley in the UK, speculated that the calming effect might be caused by the release of the “pair-bonding” hormone, oxytocin.
- From the Bedroom to the Office: Workplace Spillover Effects of Sexual Activity at Home. By Keith Leavitt, Christopher M. Barnes, Trevor Watkins et al,
- Sexual Frequency and Salivary Immunoglobulin A’. By Carl J. Charnetski andFrancis X
- American Heart Association
- Is Sex Good for Your Health? A National Study on Partnered Sexuality and Cardiovascular Risk Among Older Men and Women. By Hui Liu,Linda Waite, Shannon Shen, and Donna Wang, Michigan State University.