The Health Benefits of Sex
People who are
dissatisfied with their sex lives often report not being able to find time for
sexual expression. Whatever the cause (fatigue, children, work, etc.), it is
possible to find time to engage in sexual activity, whether it’s with a partner
Aside from reproduction, though, sex is
ultimately about intimacy and pleasure. Sexual expression has many positive
physical, intellectual, emotional, psychological, and social benefits. Here are
some findings from the scientific literature about the health benefits of sex.
An active sex life may yield benefits
such as a more youthful appearance. In addition, sexual activity burns calories
and fat, and it has been suggested that people with active sex lives tend to
exercise more frequently and have better dietary habits than those who are less
sexually active. Likewise, physical fitness can improve sexual health.
The intimacy hormone, oxytocin, is
released during orgasm. Studies show that oxytocin promotes better sleep. And
better sleep has been linked to stronger immunity and longer lifespan.
Disease Prevention and Management
Your chances of having heart problems
decrease if you stay sexually active. This is due to higher levels of oxytocin,
a neurotransmitter (brain chemical) that is produced during arousal and orgasm.
Research has shown that sexual
activity and orgasms may bolster the immune system in women and men.
In men, high frequency of ejaculation
(more than 21 times per month) is related to a decrease in the risk of prostate
Although results are conflicting, some
studies have shown that the quality of sperm motility decreases with
abstinence. In healthy men these declines can take effect after only five days
Men who have frequent orgasms, whether
through masturbation or sex, may experience a lower risk of developing prostate
Sexual activity and orgasm during
menstruation has a potentially protective effect against endometriosis.
Women who continue to be sexually
active after they reach menopause, with a partner or through masturbation, are
less likely to have significant vaginal atrophy and are more likely to report
sufficient vaginal lubrication.
Emotional Well-Being and Relationship Improvement
Sexual experience and satisfaction are
closely correlated with overall quality of life. They increase your sense of
well-being and personal satisfaction. Sexual activity is negatively correlated
with the risk and incidence of psychiatric illness, depression, and suicide. Sexual
activity and orgasm reduce stress.
Sexual satisfaction is also associated
with the stability of relationships. Consistent mutual sexual pleasure
increases bonding within a relationship. It has also been demonstrated that
coupled partners have increased relationship satisfaction when they fulfill one
another's sexual desires. A study of young married women found that those who
reported masturbating also reported greater marital satisfaction.