Sex is an important factor in your life
Sex and sexuality are a part of life. Aside
from reproduction, sex can be about intimacy and pleasure. Sexual activity,
penile-vaginal intercourse (PVI), or masturbation, can offer many surprising benefits
to all facets of your life:
Sexual health is more than avoiding diseases
and unplanned pregnancies. It’s also about recognizing that sex can be an
important part of your life, according to the American
Sexual Health Association.
How can sex benefit your body?
This study suggests that sex can be good cardiovascular exercise in younger
men and women. Though sex isn’t enough exercise on its own, it can be
considered light exercise.
Some of the benefits you can get from sex include:
- lowering blood pressure
- burning calories
- increasing heart health
- strengthening muscles
- reducing your risk of heart disease,
stroke, and hypertension
- increasing libido
People with active sex lives tend to exercise
more frequently and have better dietary habits than those who are less sexually
active. Physical fitness may also improve sexual performance overall.
Stronger immune system
In a study of immunity in people in romantic relationships, people who had frequent sex (one
to two times a week) had more immunoglobulin A (IgA) in their saliva. People
who had infrequent sex (less than once a week) had significantly less IgA.
IgA is the antibody that plays a role in
preventing illnesses and is the first line of defense against human papillomavirus,
But those who had sex more than three times a
week had the same amount of IgA as those who had infrequent sex. The study
suggests that anxiety and stress can possibly cancel out the positive effects
Your body releases oxytocin, also called the
“love” or “intimacy” hormone, and endorphins during an orgasm. The combination
of these hormones can act as sedation.
Better sleep can contribute to:
- a stronger immune system
- a longer lifespan
- feeling more well-rested
- having more energy during the day
Another study shows that sexual activity can
provide full or partial relief from migraines
and cluster headaches.
Of people who were sexually active during
- 60 percent reported an
improvement during a migraine
- 70 percent reported moderate to
complete relief during a migraine
- 37 percent reported improvement
of symptoms in cluster headaches
- 91 percent reported moderate to
complete relief in cluster headaches
How sex benefits all genders
A recent review found that men who had more
frequent penile-vaginal intercourse (PVI) had less risk of developing prostate cancer.
One study found that men who averaged having
4.6 to 7 ejaculations a week were 36 percent less likely to receive a prostate cancer diagnosis
before the age of 70. This is in comparison to men who reported ejaculating 2.3
or fewer times a week on average.
For men, sex may even affect your mortality. One
study that had a 10 year follow-up
reported that men who had frequent orgasms (defined as two or more a week) had
a 50 percent lower mortality risk than those who had sex less often.
Although results are conflicting, the quality
and health of your sperm may increase with increased sexual activity, as some research suggests.
Having an orgasm increases blood flow and
releases natural pain-relieving chemicals.
Sexual activity in women can:
- improve bladder control
- reduce incontinence
- relieve menstrual and premenstrual
- improve fertility
- build stronger pelvic muscles
- help produce more vaginal lubrication
- potentially protect you against
endometriosis, or the growing of tissue outside your uterus
The act of sex can help strengthen your
pelvic floor. A strengthened pelvic floor can also offer benefits like less
pain during sex and reduced chance of a vaginal prolapse. One study shows that PVI can result in
reflexive vaginal contractions caused by penile thrusting.
Women who continue to be sexually active
after menopause are less likely to have significant vaginal atrophy, or the
thinning of vaginal walls. Vaginal atrophy can cause pain during sex and urinary
How can sex benefit your mental health?
Sexual activity, with a partner or through
masturbation, can provide important psychological and emotional benefits. Like
exercise, sex can help reduce stress and anxiety and increase happiness.
Studies suggest that sexual activity
(defined as PVI) may correlate with:
- increased satisfaction with your
- increased levels of trust,
intimacy, and love in your relationships
- improved ability to perceive,
identify, and express emotions
- lessened use of your immature
psychological defense mechanism, or the mental processes to reduce distress
from emotional conflict
At an older age, sexual activity may affect your
well-being and ability to think. Research found that sexually active adults
between 50 to 90 years old had better memory. They were
also less likely to feel depressed and lonely.
Frequent sexual activity, whether with a
partner or alone, can make you look younger. This is partially due to the
release of estrogen during sex.
One study found a correlation between frequent sexual activity
and looking significantly younger (between seven to 12 years younger). The
majority of these individuals were also comfortable expressing their sexuality
and sexual identity.
Sex can help you connect to your partner, thanks
to oxytocin. Oxytocin can play a role in developing relationships. You may find
that consistent, mutual sexual pleasure helps with bonding within a
Coupled partners often have increased
relationship satisfaction when they fulfill one another's sexual desires. You
may find positive growth in your relationship when you’re able to express yourself
and your sexual desires.
What are the benefits of masturbation?
Masturbation can offer many of the same benefits
as sex, but also has its own advantages, including:
- enhanced sex between partners
- understanding your own body
- increased ability for orgasms
- boosted self-esteem and body
- increased sexual satisfaction
- treatment for sexual dysfunction
Masturbation is considered entirely safe and
with fewer health risks attached. When practiced alone, there is no risk of
pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (STIs). According to Planned Parenthood, it
increases mental well-being not mental illness or instability like some myths
Celibacy and abstinence
Sex isn’t the only indicator of health or
happiness. You can still lead an active and happy life without sex. The
benefits of sex come from the feeling of pleasure, which studies show can also come from listening to music, interacting with
pets, and having strong religious faith. According to the National Health Service in the United
Kingdom, a long-term study of nuns reported that many of them lived well into
their 90s and past 100 years old.
Sex is an important part of life and overall
well-being. In relationships, orgasms play a significant part in bonding.
Physical and emotional benefits like reduced risk of heart disease, improved
self-esteem, and more can come from having sex.
You can still have similar benefits without sex.
Engaging in other pleasurable activities like exercising, interacting with a
pet, and having a strong network of friends could potentially offer the same
benefits. Sex is just one way of improving your quality of life.
But if sex is part of your life, due to a
relationship or desire, it’s important to be able to communicate and experience
sexual satisfaction. You may find relief and an increase in happiness when you
take the time to have sex.