Sex for Weight Loss: Can "Doing the Deed" Help Shed Holiday Pounds?
The statistics are dire: Millions of adults worldwide are overweight or obese and the number is quickly growing. Many people turn to fad diets or specialized workout programs in hopes of losing a few pounds or more. However, these approaches are rarely effective. Researchers have found that simply dieting does not work, with most people putting on lost pounds immediately after stopping the diet. Instead, doctors and scientists now advocate for making sustainable lifestyle choices and getting more activity in our daily lives. According to several new studies on sex for weight loss, having a healthy sex life could contribute to overall good health.
Winter Weight Gain: A Common Issue
The average person gains around a pound over the holidays and even more over the entire cold weather season. As many as 10 percent gain 5 pounds or more. There are many causes of this weight gain. First, the holidays are time for rich food and drink, so many people throw moderation out the window. Second, winter is a time of less light, leaving many people feeling more tired due to out-of-sync circadian rhythms or seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Last, the cold temperature and precipitation make outdoor activities difficult and uncomfortable.
Although a pound does not seem like a lot of weight, pounds can accumulate over years. Despite the popular advice about getting back into shape for the less-dressed summer months, many people do not lose their winter weight. With so many people in industrialized nations already facing health effects from being overweight, winter weight gain is more than just a matter of looking good in a bikini this summer. Losing weight can make people feel fitter, healthier, and more energetic in addition to improving the fit of clothing.
Sex for Weight Loss: Does It Work?
According to several scientists, having a healthy sex life may contribute to weight loss in several ways. First, sex is a great source of exercise. Most people raise their heart rates during sex, making it moderate-intensity aerobic exercise that raises the metabolism and supports good cardiovascular health. In fact, a recent study found that men burn an average of 101 calories and women 69 calories in a single sexual encounter. In addition, participants in the study unsurprisingly rated sex as more pleasurable than burning the same number of calories on a treadmill, making it a more sustainable and desirable way of getting much needed physical activity.
There are other effects as well. The oxytocin released in an orgasm has been shown to decrease appetite for a considerable period of time after the encounter. Oxytocin is especially effective in reducing the carb cravings that plague many people during the holidays. Sex also increases self-esteem, which leaves many people more likely to make good lifestyle choices. Over the long winter months, making an effort to have regular and pleasurable sex indeed could take off that stubborn holiday pound, and perhaps more weight in addition to that.
Benefits of a Healthy Sex Life
Weight loss is not the only reason to enjoy a healthy sex life. Couples who have pleasurable sex on a regular basis tend to rate their relationships as happier and more fulfilling. Sex also can raise the immune system, lower blood pressure and even prevent incontinence. Although our society often shames people who have copious amounts of sex, it is indeed part of being a healthy and happy adult.
Working toward a healthy weight and otherwise improving your physical condition also can make sex better and more fulfilling. In fact, just a 10-pound weight loss can have a beneficial effect. People who lose weight report having a better body image, which contributes to a healthy sex life. Losing weight also increases libido by stabilizing the sex hormones that drive libido. People who have a healthy BMI are at lower risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, both of which can contribute to sexual dysfunction. Weight loss improves sex while having more sex encourages weight loss, creating a very healthy and pleasurable cycle.
Stoking Your Libido for Lifelong Good Health
If you want more frequent and more pleasurable sex, whether for health benefits or simple enjoyment, there are several natural ways to increase your libido.
- Take a daily supplement with vitamins, minerals and other ingredients known to increase sexual drive and libido-related performance.
- Avoid alcohol, tobacco and other substances that can reduce libido.
- Get moderate exercise.
- Visit your doctor for regular preventative care to identify and treat any physiological causes of sexual dysfunction.
- Communicate with your partner about your sexual needs and wishes.
- Eat a diet rich in antioxidants.
Most people, even those with a healthy sex life, would like to improve the frequency and quality of intercourse. Many people also could benefit from even a minimal weight loss. Using sex to lose weight and improve physical condition is a win-win situation that will help more people to lead happier, healthier and more fulfilling lives.