Healthy is sexy: exploring health benefits of satisfying sex

Satisfying sex has a much greater impact than just the pleasure it provides; sex has an abundance of lasting mental and physical health benefits which means that a good romp in the sheets is actually good for you!

Physical health benefits

While only 63% of Americans agree that sex is beneficial for your general health, a whopping 91% of Brazilians share this sentiment. Coincidentally, Brazilians have the longest romps in the world, averaging thirty minutes each session. It may be because they realize that sex is exercise, and exercising makes for better sex, and a healthier life!

Sex is arguably the most enjoyable form of cardio, burning an average of 5 calories per minute while working multiple muscle groups. Cardio, as the name implies, strengthens our cardiovascular system, which can lower blood pressure, and even reduce the risk of heart disease.

In fact, men who have sex at least twice per week are 45% less likely to die of heart disease or a heart attack than men who rarely engaged in sex. This is because in addition to supporting a strong cardiovascular system, a healthy sex life maintains a healthy balance of estrogen and testosterone, a which keeps serious health problems at bay.

More sex may also mean fewer colds, according to one study. A sampling of college students was surveyed, and those who had more frequent sex had higher levels of immunoglobulin, or antibodies, and thus had stronger immune systems than students who rarely had sex.

For ladies, having sex, and more importantly, achieving orgasm, can reduce pain. Women have reported that vaginal stimulation can reduce chronic leg and back pain, as well as soothing arthritis and menstrual cramps. As for the gentlemen, those who ejaculate approximately 21 times per month are less likely to develop prostate cancer.

 

While getting more sleep leads to more satisfying sex, satisfying sex also leads to more satisfying sex. Satisfying sex typically, but not necessary, means that both partners are achieving orgasm, which releases prolactin, a hormone that promotes relaxation and assists sleepiness. There’s science behind falling asleep right after sex, and as it turns out, post-sex sleep tends to be more restful and rejuvenating.

Mental and emotional health benefits

While sex has a slew of physical health benefits, a healthy sex life is also wonderful for mental and emotional wellbeing. Sex and intimacy fulfils a natural need for human interaction, and makes us feel better and happier. A Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin indicates that sex “promotes a stronger and more positive connection with the partner.”

How often should you enjoy sex to feel happy? One study shows that individuals who have sex at least once per week are happier than those who have sex once per month. Both singles and couples can enjoy this health benefit because even casual sexual encounters (cuddling, kissing, and sex itself) are proven to boost happiness.

“Any stimulation of the genitals will drive the dopamine system, while orgasms simulate the production of oxytocin, which creates feelings of deep attachment,” says Kinsey Institute Senior Researcher, Helen Fisher. A release of dopamine and oxytocin decreases feelings of anxiety or depression, and promotes confidence, as sexual arousal instigates the brain’s pleasure reward system.

While sex boosts the production and release of our body’s feel-good chemicals, it simultaneously eases stress. Being close to your partner soothes stress by providing a comforting intimacy, and a good bout between the sheets boosts self-esteem.

How can you have healthier, better sex?

Better sex is more enjoyable, and helps you tap into the goldmine of health benefits that a healthy sex life offers. Whether you feel completely content in your sex life, or feel like you could use a little boost, here are a number of steps that you can implement to have better, more beneficial sex.

  • Aim for eight hours of sleep per night, and a minimum of six. The leading reason for avoiding a healthy romp is being too tired.
  • Your diet plays an integral role in your libido with boosters including watermelon, chocolate, figs, ginger, and ginseng, and depressors including dairy products, oysters, and processed baked goods.
  • Exercise often. People have better sex when exercising for an hour per day at least three to five times per week. Why? People who exercise tend to feel more confident because exercise releases endorphins, testosterone, and adrenaline, all which lead to increased sexual urges, and more satisfying sex. Exercise also improves stamina, which may allow for longer bouts of intimacy, or exploration in the bedroom to try new things.
  • Increase physical affection, quite simply meaning touch your partner more in both sexual and non-sexual ways. Instead of discussing your days sitting across from each other at the dinner table, try cuddling on the couch for the daily recap. When out and about, hold hands. Kiss your partner goodbye in the morning, and goodnight in the evening. A stronger physical connection makes for a stronger intimate connection.
  • Communicate with your partner. Sexual satisfaction dramatically increases for couples who are comfortable sharing what they enjoy in the bedroom, and for those who are willing to try new things. This also means not being afraid to initiate sex, even if it is your partner who typically does so. It takes two to tango, so don’t be afraid to take the lead every now and again.