Finally, doctor’s advice we want to take. Studies show that having sex regularly brings numerous health benefits!
We’re assuming, of course, that you’re not doing something stupid like having unprotected sex with total strangers, using unsterilized sex toys, or cavorting with large farm animals. But within the bounds of common sense, it’s safe to say: sex can make you feel better, look younger, and even boost your immune system. It can even lower your risk for cancer!
1. Sex can help you manage stress levels.
Are things going crazy in the office? Time management helps, but if you really want to calm down and put yourself in the right frame of mind for tomorrow’s board meeting, close your laptop and get busy under the sheets. One study published in the journal of Biological Psychology found that men who had sex the night before a hectic work day were much more efficient the next day. They reported less crankiness, greater concentration, and more balanced emotional responses to sudden emergencies. All in all, they were a better boss—and much easier to deal with, too.
Why? Well, sex has been known to be very calming, thanks to the happy hormones that tend to increase after an orgasm. Plus, there are emotional benefits that come from being touched (think of all the benefits of having a massage) and of feeling attractive and desired. Sex also reduces your body’s levels of cortisol, a known stress hormone.
The benefits seem to be greater when there is increased bodily contact. So don’t just go for the quickie. Try to prolong foreplay, and do a lot of post-sex cuddling and spooning.
2. Sex can protect you from colds and other infections.
This may actually work better than Vitamin C. Research conducted by Wilkes University found that people who had sex at least two times a week had elevated immunoglobulin A levels. We’ll spare you the Biology lecture; the point is that this antibody is your body’s natural defense against infections.
The study also seems to have found signs that ‘creative’ sex tends to have the highest immune-boosting properties. Apparently, couples that experimented with different positions, and tended to have more physically vigorous sex, were less likely to develop colds.
More research is needed to find out exactly what the link is between getting the flu and knowing the different positions of the Kama Sutra. However, it could be the additional benefits of regular cardio activity (healthy heart, healthy body right?). Certainly beats doing 20 minutes on the treadmill.
3. Sex can make you look younger.
One study conducted by the Royal Edinburgh Hospital revealed that couples that get regular whoopee—about four times a week—can look as many as 10 years younger.
Cynics would be quick to say that it’s probably the reverse: if you look 10 years younger, you’re more likely to have sex four times a week. But there’s biochemistry at work, here. Sex releases hormones like adrenaline, dopamine and norepinephrine, as well as human growth hormones. These have all been known to lower the body’s levels of free radicals, which hasten wrinkles.
But this is not the go-signal to go to bars every night and engaging in casual sex. Long nights and heavy drinking, plus all the stress of rejection, manipulation, and deception—all par for the course in the realm of promiscuous dating—can cause wrinkles. Your best bet is to enter a serious, committed relationship with a partner who respects you and also knows how to turn you on.
4. Sex can lower your risk for cancer.
Well, not just sex. One study released by the Cancer Council Victoria showed that men who ejaculated everyday, 7 times a week during their twenties were less likely to develop prostate cancer. Apparently, all that activity flushes out the toxins and carcinogens than can accumulate in the prostatic ducts. Think of it as car maintenance—sometimes you just gotta change the oil.
5. Sex can help manage pain.
One study published in the Bulletin of Experimental Biology and Medicine shows that orgasms helps release the body’s natural painkillers, endorphins.
Of course this assumes that the pain hasn’t reached unbearable proportions. Nobody’s going to want to get any nookie if a single touch makes you scream—and not in a good way. It works for mild pain in the lower back and arthritis, and can prevent migraine attacks for those who get chronic attacks. (That’s one thing to tell your partner if she complains she has a headache.)
Of course it makes sense to use sex positions that will minimize pain, especially those who are suffering from physical injury or discomfort. And pay attention to anything that could trigger a pain attack—nothing kills libido more than getting nauseous because of an incoming migraine, triggered by the smell of scented candles or too many chocolates.
You may also want to boost your partner’s natural pain defenses by serving foods that are known to increase endorphin levels, like bananas (high in potassium, which also increases libido), oranges and grapes. Fruit platter, anyone?