Sex doesn't just feel good; it can also offer a number of important health benefits, according to a growing body of research. Sex is important to both men and women to add strength, bonding and connection in a relationship as well. Here are the many ways in which sex can improve your life -- and why you should strive for the healthiest sex life possible in the new year.
Why Sex Is Important for Your Health
Research has found that a healthy sex life can do everything from strengthen your immune system to lower your risk of a heart attack. Here are some of the most surprising benefits you may enjoy.
It Lowers Your Blood Pressure
Research has found a link between blood pressure and how often someone has sex. According to several studies, sex, not masturbation, helps reduce systolic blood pressure.
Sex Supports A Healthy Immune System
It may seem counterintuitive as close contact usually increases the risk of transmitting a cold, but it turns out sex actually helps you fight off cold germs. According to a study conducted at Wilkes-Barre University in Pennsylvania, people who had sex at least one to two times per week had 30 percent higher levels of an antibody that helps defend the body against viruses and bacteria compared to people who reported having sex less often. This may be because lovemaking in a relationship is a type of social support, which has also been found to boost the immune system.
It Reduces Pain
The surge of hormones released during sex, and especially during orgasm, have been found to help minimize pain, including pain from a migraine or a backache. Migraines which typically do not respond well to over-the-counter medication are especially receptive to sex. A study conducted at the Southern Illinois Unversity Headache Clinic found that half of women who suffer from migraines report pain relief after an orgasm.
Sex Lowers Stress Levels
According to research from the University of the West of Scotland, people who had sex at least once over a period of two weeks reported they were better able to handle stressful situations. This is likely caused by the rush of oxytocin and endorphins released during sex. These feel-good hormones work to activate the brain's pleasure centers to create a sense of relaxation and bonding. This can reduce depression, anxiety and stress.
A separate study, conducted at the University of Gottingen in Germany, also found that sexlessness tends to push people to take on more work as compensation for their frustration. This increases stress levels and further reduces how often people have sex.
Other Health Benefits
Research has found other interesting health benefits of sex:
- It counts as cardio by burning calories, increasing heart rate, and engaging muscles.
- It reduces the risk of heart attack.
- It helps balance testosterone and estrogen.
- Sex may reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
- It can result in lighter periods, fewer cramps, and a lower risk of endometriosis.
- Sex can improve sleep quality and help you fall asleep faster.
- Sex can improve bladder control for women and reduce the risk of incontinence.
- Having frequent sex can actually boost your libido.
While these health benefits are important, sex of course matters for many other reasons. Men and women typically view sex differently and value it differently.
Why Does Sex Matter for Men?
For many men, sex is one of the most important aspects of a relationship. Unlike women, who may be interested in sex less often in a long, committed relationship, men rarely feel this way. Factors that make sex so essential for men include:
- It helps men connect. To a man, sex can be a way for a partner to show he is a priority.
- It helps men stay close in a relationship. Sex can be a type of reassurance and shows that you are aligned as a couple.
- It's tied to the male ego. Men take a lack of interest in sex very personally and their egos are often wrapped in sex.
- Men love praise and knowing that they are pleasing the person in their life.
Why Does Sex Matter for Women?
Women often view sex differently than men. For women, sex may go beyond pleasure; it's a way to bond and express appreciation and love. Most women attach sex to their emotions. The closer women feel with their partner, the higher the satisfaction they tend to experience from sex. For women, unlike men, good sex usually begins in the head.