Sex can be so many things: romantic, stimulating, messy, exhilarating, fun, bonding, the list goes on! But did you know that sex can also have a number of important health benefits?
It’s true, and that pertains to all kinds of sex: by yourself, with others and all types of bodies! A healthy sex life can have health benefits beyond your sexual health, including your physical, mental, psychological and social well being. But if you're not into sex, that's totally cool, too.
Without further ado, here are the health benefits of sex!
Cardiovascular Health: Hearts <3 Sex
Well, firstly, studies show that sex can be a great source of light cardiovascular exercise for people who have sex! During your next sexual experience, take a moment to listen to your heartbeat. Chances are it’s beating a little faster than normal. However long your experience lasts, it’s a good start (and finish) towards the recommended 30 minutes of daily exercise that experts recommend.
What that translates to is tangible health benefits for your overall health, including lowering blood pressure, increasing heart health, lowering heart rate, diminishing risk for heart attacks, and reducing your risk of heart disease, stroke, and hypertension. It's cardiac rehabilitation & your heart will thank you for having regular sex!
Immune Health: A Healthy Sex Life May Keep the Doctor Away
Most people would agree that a healthy sex life generally feels good, but did you know it may also help you feel well and stay well? Sexually active people in a study showed evidence of a stronger immune system. While this study was limited to people within romantic relationships, the respondents who had frequent sex (1-2 times a week) showed higher levels of immunoglobulin in their saliva than those who had sex less than once a week.
Why does this matter? Well immunoglobulin, as the name may suggest, plays a key role in preventing illnesses! While there are of course other factors that may influence immunoglobulin levels, it’s still a pretty compelling coincidence – why not test out the hypothesis yourself? *wink*
Sleep Cycles: Sex Can Help You Snooze
Ever heard the phrase “sex you to sleep”? Yeah, science can actually back that up! During an orgasm, your body releases a combination of hormones that can work in tandem as a sort of sleep aid. It’s that lovey dovey, content feeling you may experience after an orgasm, and you can thank oxytocin (aka the “love” or “intimacy” hormone) and endorphins for that.
“After orgasm, the hormone prolactin is released, which is responsible for the feelings of relaxation and sleepiness" after sex, says Sheenie Ambardar, MD. She is a psychiatrist in West Hollywood, Calif.
Better sleep is more important than you might think for your overall well-being. For example, healthy sleep patterns have been linked to day-to-day benefits like feeling more well-rested and having more energy, but also a stronger immune system (see above too!) and living longer. Seems pretty great to us!
Mental Health: Sex to Soothe the Mind, Psyche and Soul
There are some who say the most important sexual organ is the mind, and based on the numerous mental and psychological benefits, they may be onto something. Whether it’s with a partner, partners or just solo, sexual activity can provide relief from stress and anxiety and even boost your happiness.
While research generally points to a better emotional and psychological state of being for those having frequent sex, additional research has also found benefits in expressing emotion, communicating and avoiding interpersonal conflict. Pretty impressive! For those who are older (the research was focused on people between 50 and 90 years old), sex has even been linked to better memory and lower levels of depression and loneliness.
Part of this is because the hormones released during sexual activity, especially frequent sexual activity, are especially potent (in a great way). For example, the release of estrogen during sex can actually make you look anywhere from seven to twelve years younger according to some studies, which can be a source of increased confidence or self esteem. There’s also oxytocin, the “love” hormone, which can make you feel closer and more connected to your partner, giving you a sense of trust, intimacy and bonding during sexual experiences together.
Physical Fitness: Sex to Flex
It’s not just your internal organs that are treated to perks from your sex life. Sex can help you improve your physique and physical fitness by burning calories and strengthening muscle.
In fact, studies have shown that exercise and healthier diet both go hand in hand with higher frequency sex. One study concluded that people engaging in sexual experiences more often also tended to exercise more frequently and have better dietary habits than those who have sex less frequently. And so begins the cycle: more sex, generally can lead to better physical fitness, which can in turn improve sexual performance, and then lead to more sex. Who doesn’t love that?!
Increased Libido: Doubling Down
Recent research indicates that regular sex can in some cases increase libido. That’s right, sex in fact, can drive the desire for more sex!
More benefits of sex
Ok, so we’ve discussed some of the health benefits more generally for those having regular sex. There's some different benefits, too, depending whether you have a vagina or penis. Here are some of the highlights of recent medical research into men's health:
- A recent study found that men who have sex two or more times a week had a 50% lower mortality risk.
- Men who had more frequent sexual intercourse (specifically penile-vaginal intercourse) had a lower risk of prostate cancer – in comparing the number of weekly ejaculations between 0 and 7, those ejaculating more than 4.6 times per week were 36% less likely to receive a prostate cancer diagnosis than those reporting 2.3 or fewer ejaculations per week.
- Speaking of ejaculations, some research suggests that the health of sperm may actually increase with greater sexual activity. Basically, more sex can mean stronger swimmers!
The research into women’s health proves a much more exhaustive list of benefits, but here are some of the most exciting ones:
- For those who experience regular cramping during menstrual cycles, sex may actually help relieve muscular discomfort by activating key muscles in the uterus and releasing endorphins (the “feel good” hormone).
- Regular sexual intercourse is proven to build stronger pelvic and vaginal muscles, specifically the pelvic floor (a group of muscles that support the bladder, bowel and uterus) and vaginal walls (especially in post menopausal women), both of which are key in avoiding muscle loss or prolapse.
- Bladder health and urination is closely tied to more frequent sexual activity, including improved bladder control and reduced incontinence.
- Some studies have indicated that more frequent sex can also lead to more the natural production of more vaginal lubrication, improve fertility, and potentially protect against the growing of tissue outside of the uterus (aka endometriosis, which can be incredibly painful) .
Not into sex?
While sex can be an important part of one person's life, there's many people who choose to practice abstinence or who identify as asexual. That's perfectly fine, too! Sex is not the only indicator to a happy, healthy life.
Sex isn’t the only indicator of health or happiness. You can still lead an active and happy life without sex. There are many things in life that bring us pleasure and joy, from friendship and food to music and traveling. You do you!
Practicing safer sex
Have no fear, ONE® Condoms is here! We have all the sexual health products and resources to help you start having more sex and unlocking all of the many health benefits. Check out our condom and lubricant products here and some of our recent articles here.