In the spirit of discussing all things health, today we are going to talk about the health benefits of sex. Yep, I said it. The other "S" word as it's known in our house. I know... I know, this is a family blog, well....... how else did you get to be in a family.... Right?
In the scientific world today, more and more research is being done to determine what roles emotional, psychological and sexual health play in achieving optimal health. Of course most people know the whole "eat right and exercise" to get healthy, but there are other factors involved in optimal health that often get overlooked. To "kinda" quote a family favorite... "I believe that optimal health is like an enormous clock. It only works if all the little cogs mesh together. A clock must be clean, well lubricated, and wound tight."
Here are 10 good reasons to start your journey to optimal health even before you leave the bed!
1. Sex Relieves Stress
A big health benefit of sex is lower blood pressure and overall stress reduction, according to researchers from Scotland who reported their findings in the journal Biological Psychology. They studied 24 women and 22 men who kept records of their sexual activity. Then the researchers subjected them to stressful situations -- such as speaking in public and doing verbal arithmetic -- and then noted their blood pressure response to stress.
Those who had intercourse had better responses to stress than those who didn’t.
2. Sex Boosts Immunity
Good sexual health may mean better physical health. Having sex once or twice a week has been linked with higher levels of an antibody called immunoglobulin A or IgA, which can protect you from getting colds and other infections. WHAT? Fun & good for you? Almost too good to be true!
Thirty minutes of sex burns 85 calories or more. It may not sound like much, but it adds up: 42 half-hour sessions will burn 3,570 calories, more than enough to lose a pound. Doubling up, you could drop that pound in 21 hour-long sessions.
Sex is a great mode of exercise from both a physical and psychological perspective.
4. Sex Improves Heart Health
While some older folks may worry that the efforts expended during sex could cause a stroke, that's not so, according to researchers from England. In a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, scientists found frequency of sex was not associated with stroke in the 914 men they followed for 20 years.
And the heart health benefits of sex don't end there. The researchers also found that having sex twice or more a week reduced the risk of fatal heart attack by half for the men, compared with those who had sex less than once a month.
5. Sex Boosts Self-Esteem
Boosting self-esteem was one of 237 reasons people have sex, collected by University of Texas researchers and published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior.
That finding makes sense to Gina Ogden, PhD, a sex therapist and marriage and family therapist in Cambridge, Mass., although she finds that those who already have self-esteem say they sometimes have sex to feel even better. One of the reasons people say they have sex is to feel good about themselves. Great sex begins with self-esteem.
6. Sex Improves Intimacy
Having sex increases levels of the hormone oxytocin, the so-called love hormone, which helps us bond and build trust. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and the University of North Carolina evaluated 59 premenopausal women before and after warm contact with their husbands ending with hugs. They found that the more contact, the higher the oxytocin levels.
Oxytocin allows us to feel the urge to nurture and to bond.
Higher oxytocin has also been linked with a feeling of generosity. So if you're feeling suddenly more generous toward your partner than usual, credit the love hormone.
7. Sex Reduces Pain
As the hormone oxytocin surges, endorphins increase, and pain declines. So if your headache, arthritis pain, or PMS symptoms seem to improve after sex, you can thank those higher oxytocin levels as well.
8. More Regular Periods
Aunt Flow, we meet again. Endocrinologists at Columbia and Stanford universities found that women who have sex at least once a week have more-regular menstrual cycles than those who do it once in a blue moon.
9. Sex Strengthens Pelvic Floor Muscles
For women, doing a few pelvic floor muscle exercises known as Kegels during sex offers a couple of benefits. You will enjoy more pleasure, and you'll also strengthen the area and help to minimize the risk of incontinence later in life.
To do a basic Kegel exercise, tighten the muscles of your pelvic floor, as if you're trying to stop the flow of urine. Count to three, then release.
10. Sex Helps You Sleep Better
The oxytocin released during orgasm also promotes sleep, according to research.
And getting enough sleep has been linked with a host of other good things, such as maintaining a healthy weight and blood pressure. Something to think about, especially if you've been wondering why your husband can be active one minute and snoring the next.
Sex: Have it for health, Have it for family, Have it for joy!