Shirtless man and woman in underwear kissing on bed at home

7 Reasons Why You Should Have Sex

Just as reaching an orgasm isn't enough to motivate people to engage in sexual activity, the benefits of sex go far beyond just hitting the "big O."

Want to boost your mood, reduce stress, and reduce your risk of health conditions ranging from cancer to heart disease? The solution may not lie in a magic pill, but in intimacy between your partners and even between yourself. Yes, you read that right: engaging in sexual activity, whether with a partner or through self-pleasure, can significantly enhance your overall health in a variety of unexpected ways.

Sex can have a positive impact on your health in a variety of ways. Some of these benefits include improving sleep, reducing stress levels, increasing self-esteem, lowering blood pressure, and even reducing pain.

Whether you're in a relationship or enjoying some alone time, you'll discover the countless health benefits that regular sexual activity can bring.

1. Improve heart health—yes, sex counts as exercise

Just like any physical activity, engaging in healthy sexual activity can be good for your heart. A population-based longitudinal study published in the American Journal of Cardiology found that men who had sex at least twice a week were more likely to have a stroke or The risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease is lower.

Additionally, an observational study conducted in 2020 found that sex may aid long-term recovery after a heart attack. The study compared two groups of heart attack survivors: one group who lowered their level of sexual activity or stopped it entirely during the first six months after recovery, and another group who resumed or increased sexual activity. Interestingly, people who had more sex had a 35% lower risk of death over the next two decades.

Regarding safe sex for people with heart disease, the American Heart Association (AHA) assures that sex is generally safe as long as the condition is stable. A helpful guideline is that if you can climb stairs or walk a mile without difficulty, it's probably safe to engage in sexual activity as recommended by the Johns Hopkins University Medical Center.

Additionally, sex is considered a beneficial form of exercise. One small study showed that during sex that lasted about 25 minutes, men burned an average of 4 calories per minute, while women burned about 3 calories per minute. This finding suggests that engaging in sexual activity can be a more enjoyable alternative to traditional exercise such as treadmill workouts.

2. Sweet pain relief, including menstrual pain

Just gazing at your partner, or even a picture of them, can relieve pain. In a study involving individuals in the first nine months of a relationship, participants suffered thermal pain in a laboratory setting. They also played word games to distract themselves when they saw pictures of romantic partners and other attractive people. Interestingly, participants reported that viewing images of romantic partners significantly reduced the experience of pain. Brain imaging further revealed increased activity in areas associated with the brain's reward system. Therefore, taking a moment to stare at your partner may help alleviate any pain that may be preventing full intercourse.

Additionally, there is evidence that women can relieve menstrual pain through orgasm. 70% of women reported that frequent masturbation affects the intensity of period pain. Of these women, 62% reported that regular masturbation somewhat reduced the intensity of menstrual pain, while 31% reported a significant reduction in intensity.

3. Reduce stress and regulate blood pressure

Sexual activity can effectively reduce stress levels by increasing the release of endorphins and other mood-boosting hormones. Additionally, research shows that sex helps reduce stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline.

Additionally, there is evidence that sex may play a role in lowering blood pressure. A small study published in Sexual Medicine found that people who had sex the night before their blood pressure was measured showed lower systolic blood pressure levels. Interestingly, the study noted that the more pleasurable the sexual experience, the greater the observed reduction in blood pressure.

4. Potentially reduces prostate cancer risk

A large prospective cohort study involving nearly 32,000 men in the United States revealed an interesting finding: Men who ejaculated more than 21 times a month had a 20% lower risk of prostate cancer compared with men who ejaculated four to seven times a month. Although further research is needed to confirm this association, there is evidence that frequent ejaculation may be associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer.

5. Improve sleep quality and increase sexual desire

After a satisfying sexual encounter, both partners usually fall into a peaceful sleep. This post-coital drowsiness is attributed to the release of hormones such as oxytocin, prolactin, and endorphins, which have sedative effects. Interestingly, the link between sex and sleep goes both ways: A study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that getting enough sleep can enhance sexual response and may increase the likelihood of having sex regularly. Researchers observed that women who slept longer had higher sexual desire levels the next day.

Young lovely couple lying in a bed, happy sleep

6. Improve mood and strengthen relationships

The surge of positive emotions you experience after sex isn't just a coincidence; there's a scientific explanation behind this mood boost. From the neurotransmitters released during intimate moments to the mood-enhancing properties found in semen, there are several factors that contribute to improving your appearance.

Additionally, engaging in fun and intimate behaviors with your partner can have a profound afterglow effect, promoting a deeper connection between the two of you. A study of newlyweds who kept sex diaries for two weeks showed that the satisfaction from sexual activity lasted an astonishing 48 hours. Those lucky enough to experience this afterglow phenomenon report greater relationship happiness in the months that follow.

7. Radiant, youthful skin

That “morning after” glow you experience isn’t just a figment of your imagination.

During sex, an increased heart rate causes increased blood flow to the face. The dilation of blood vessels gives your skin a rosy complexion. While this effect may be temporary, the overall benefits of sex, such as improved sleep and reduced stress, can contribute to healthier skin in the long run.

Knowing that intimacy not only brings pleasure but also long-term health benefits can make the experience even more satisfying!

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