Surprising Facts About Sex
Beyond the obvious, sexual intercourse has many healthy benefits. It can help you feel happier, be healthier, and live a longer life. It can also protect against disease and possibly prevent cancer. Here, we explore some of the additional benefits that having sex can give you.
Sex Slashes Stress
Intercourse may cut your stress level. A Scottish study asked participants to take part in a stressful activity, such as giving a speech or taking a complicated math quiz. The participants who had vaginal intercourse before a stressful task had lower levels of stress and lower blood pressures compared to people who had no sex, those who masturbated, and those who had sexual contact without intercourse.
Less Sex, More Work
Researchers at the University of Gottingen in Germany found that people with a less-than-robust sex life tend to take on more work to compensate for their lack of fulfillment in the bedroom. The study asked 32,000 people to describe their sex and work habits. The researchers found that 36 percent of men and 35 percent of women who have sex only once a week plunge themselves into their work. The more work you have, the more stress you have—and the more stress you have, the less sex you have. It’s a truly vicious cycle.
Sex Is Good for Your Ticker
Intercourse certainly gets your heart beating, but that’s not where the heart health benefits end. A British study found that sex can actually decrease a man’s risk for a fatal heart attack. Researchers found that men who had sex two times or more each week were less likely to die from a heart attack than men who had sex less often. Another healthy discovery: This study found no relationship between the frequency of intercourse and the likelihood of dying from a stroke.
The sex and self-esteem street has two sides: people who have sex feel good about themselves, and people have sex to feel good about themselves. A University of Texas study that looked at the many reasons humans have sex found that one of the most common driving factors is the self-esteem boost many get from doing the deed. These same people report that sex makes them feel powerful and more attractive. Also, some people in the study had more altruistic intentions and wanted their partner to feel good about herself/himself.
Sex Relieves Pain
Sex can make you feel good in more than one way—there’s the obvious physical benefit, and then the less obvious: pain relief. During arousal and orgasm, the hypothalamus in the brain releases the feel-good hormone oxytocin. Researchers at Rutgers University in New Jersey have found that this surge of oxytocin may actually help women feel less pain, especially during menstruation. An earlier study conducted in Russia found that oxytocin in men cuts pain perception by half.
Sex Protects Against Cancer
Men 50 and over who have frequent sex are less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than men their same age who do not have sex often. A British study found that intercourse and masturbation may reduce the risk of the cancer in older men. Another study found that frequent ejaculations in a man’s 20s may also help decrease his risk for prostate cancer.
Orgasm Improves Sperm Quality
Frequent sex may improve a man’s sperm quality, reduce DNA damage to sperm, and increase fertility. Dutch researchers found that men who had sex daily (or ejaculated daily) had better semen after seven days than men who did not have sex. Better semen is more viable, and couples trying to get pregnant may have a better chance when semen quality is higher. However, frequent ejaculation can reduce sperm quantity. Based on their research, the scientists who conducted the study suggest this approach may help couples with mild fertility problems conceive.
Sex is a chance for couples to explore their passions, connect with one another, and enjoy their relationship. It also has several additional benefits that are icing on the cake. Of course, in order to maintain a healthy sex life, don’t forget to practice safe sex. Use protection, especially if you’re not in a monogamous relationship, and be tested for sexually transmitted infections regularly.
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- Daily Sex Helps Reduce Sperm DNA Damage And Improve Fertility. European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE). (2009, July 1). Retrieved June 28, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090630075311.htm
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- Yu, V. et al. (1996, November). Extremely low doses of oxytocin reduce pain sensitivity in men. Bulletin of Experimental Biology and Medicine, 122(5), 1071-1073. Retrieved June 28, 2013, from http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF02447648