Why do people have sex?

Well, for one, sex feels good and it’s a lot of fun for consenting adults. Besides that, having sex regularly can not only make you feel good and closer to your partner, but also physically healthier. Many scientific studies have found a loving relationship, physical touch and passionate sex can bring health benefits, such as lower blood pressure. In fact, anything that exercises your heart is considered good for you, including sex. Here are 10 surprising benefits of having sex that might make you crave more.

1.   Sex gives you a radiant, youthful glow.

A study conducted at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital in Scotland gathered a panel of judges and asked them to view participants through a one-way mirror and then guess their ages. Participants who were enjoying lots of sex with a steady partner (on average four times a week) were perceived to be seven to 12 years younger than their actual age. Why? Because they had a radiant, more youthful glow about them. Regular sex does this for you: it promotes the release of hormones like estrogen and testosterone, which help keep your body looking young and vital.    

2.   Sex improves your fitness.

Yep, sex counts as exercise. According to a 2010 study published in The American Journal of Cardiology, sexual activity is comparable to a modest workout on a treadmill. A good romp keeps your body fit and can burn anywhere from 85 to 250 calories, depending on the length and vigor of the session. Not only will an all-night pleasurefest workout your ticker, but also workout your back, butt and thigh muscles. Breaking a sweat in bed as you thrust during sex can also help sculpt your abs and ensure you are physically fit and ready for the day.

3.   Sex reduces stress.

People who have sex at least once every two weeks are better able to manage stressful situations in life, such as public speaking. That’s according to findings of a study conducted by the University of the West of Scotland. Study author and psychology professor Stuart Brody, Ph.D. explains that during sex endorphins and oxytocin (feel-good hormones) are released and these hormones activate pleasure centers in the brain that create feelings of intimacy and relaxation, which help stave off anxiety and depression. You don’t have to get an orgasm to reap the benefit, but you do get the biggest surge of stress-busting hormones when you climax. All the more reason to aim for a stellar finish!

4.   Sex gives you sounder sleep.

Have you noticed how after an orgasm you fall into a deep, peaceful sleep? That’s because the same endorphins that help you de-stress and relax are also responsible for priming you for deep slumber. Cindy M. Meston, Ph.D., director of the Sexual Psychophysiology Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin explains that not only are endorphins released during orgasm, but also another hormone called prolactin. “Prolactin levels are naturally higher when we sleep, which suggests a strong relationship between the two,” she says. If you are aiming for sounder sleep, skip the vigorous acrobatics and opt for a subdued session, otherwise you might feel more energized than sleepy after sex.

5.   Sex fights acne.

As farfetched as it may sound, a healthy sex life can actually help fight acne in some instances. Acne is often a manifestation of an internal hormonal imbalance, specifically the imbalance of sex hormones estrogen, progesterone and androgens/testosterone. Having sex eliminates toxins and balances your hormone levels, which may help keep your skin clearer. Sex also improves blood circulation in the body and helps to deliver oxygen to your skin, which can also help give you a healthy glow and keep your skin smooth and supple. You really are helping your skin to stay healthy and acne free when you have regular sexual intercourse.

6.   Sex fends off colds and flues.

A Pennsylvania study found that students who had sex once or twice a week had higher levels of Immunoglobulin A (IgA) in their bodies. IgA is a disease and illness-fighting compound that helps fend off illnesses like colds and flues. This compound was about 30% higher in participants who had sex at least once a week than those who did not have sex at all. Interestingly, IgA was at its lowest level in people who had sex more than twice a week. More research is needed before conclusions on weekly sex can be made, but researchers agree there is a link between how strong your immune system is and how often you have sex. Try weekly sex to boost your immune system, combat disease and keep your body healthy.

7.   Sex eases annoying aches and pains.

Have a migraine? Before you reach for an aspirin, try an orgasm. What? The surge of hormones released after an orgasm can help ease any annoying aches and pain you have, be it a headache or strained back. This is according to findings of study conducted at the Headache Clinic at Southern Illinois University. In the study, half of women who suffered migraines reported relief after climaxing. Cindy M. Meston, Ph.D., explains: “The endorphins that are released during an orgasm closely resemble morphine, and they effectively relieve pain.” Talk about flipping the script. This is how the script should read whenever you have an ache or pain and your man is around: “Yes, honey. I want it now—I have a headache.”

8.   Sex lightens monthly periods and cramps.

You may not like the idea of having sex during your period, but it might not be such a bad idea. Sex while menstruating can ease cramps and help end your period faster. This is according to a study conducted at Yale University School of Medicine, which also found that sex while menstruating decreases the risk of endometriosis, a common condition in women that causes the uterine tissue to grow outside of the uterus, causing pelvic pain and sex that hurts. If you decide to do the deed on your period, stick to missionary. Apparently, when you’re lying down your flow tends to be lighter.

9.   Sex strengthens bladder control.

About 30% of all women will be affected by urinary incontinence at some point in their lives. It is important that you have a strong pelvic floor, if you are going to avoid incontinence. Sex acts like a workout routine for your pelvic floor muscles and when done regularly can be very beneficial. Moreover, when you have an orgasm, the contractions in pelvic floor muscles strengthens them and also helps you fend off incontinence.

10. Sex reduces risk of prostate cancer.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that men who ejaculated frequently (at least 21 times a month) were less likely to get prostate cancer. The study revealed you don’t even need a partner to reap this benefit since masturbation and nocturnal emission were also factored in the equation. Obviously, there are many factors that affect the risk of cancer, but having more sex won’t hurt.

Featured photo credit: coffeyjenphoto via flickr.com

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