Most people really like sex. We might have different preferences, different needs, and different fantasies, but reaching climax feels good for literally almost everyone.
It’s widely known that good sex is good for your relationship, as orgasms cause the brain to surge with oxytocin, endorphins, and certain other brain chemicals that basically make you feel good – which gets associated with your partner, and expands on the idea that your partner makes you feel good.
Beyond just the neurological effects of sex, though, there are certain other health benefits that have been proven by actual science, time and time again. Don’t get me wrong – sex isn’t going to magically replace your regular hospital check-ups or make you the pillar of fitness. But, it is better than nothing – and definitely a good reason to work on your skills in the sack.
Sex is an aerobic activity.
Exactly how much of a health benefit this has will depend on the duration and intensity of your sexcapades, but on average, having sex is roughly the same as jogging for 30 minutes. (Source: Dr. Rachel Needle, Center for Marital and Sexual Health)
Orgasms release endorphins that make you feel good.
An orgasm activates the pleasure centers in the brain and lights it up like a New York city skyline. The endorphins released will make you feel amazing, and some people might even experience uncontrollable laughter.
Regular sex helps your body produce antibodies.
Alison Richardson, sexual health counselor and researcher, says that regular sex helps the body produce immunoglobulin A. This boost the immune system and helps protect you from the common cold.
Orgasms reduce depression and anxiety.
While an orgasm alone won’t completely get rid of your mental health concerns, it’s well-known that you’re in a better mood after you get off. This increase in happy chemicals gets rid of the smaller stressors in your life so that you can focus your energy on more important things, like actually working on your depression and anxiety.
Oxytocin – that bonding chemical – helps prevent breast cancer.
Nipple stimulation in particular helps to stimulate the body’s production of natural cancer-fighting oxytocin. Since it’s also released when you feel an emotional bond with someone, we reason that its effects will probably be stronger if you’re getting busy with someone you love – but this isn’t backed up by science (yet!).
Having sex definitely burns calories.
I mean, not a lot of calories, so you’ll probably want to keep a low-cal snack option on hand to refuel post-orgasm. But a half an hour of moderate sexual activity will burn over 85 calories. This means that, every three weeks (assuming you have sex for a half hour, every day) you’re essentially erasing a full day’s worth of meals. Score!
Orgasms make you sleepy.
Now, if you’ve got a partner who falls asleep like right after she finishes, this one’s probably bound to irritate you sometimes – especially if you were hoping for round two. But it’s not her fault – orgasms naturally drop the body’s blood pressure and physically relax you. This means that you’re supposed to fall asleep after sex. (I still wonder why morning sex wakes you up and nighttime sex makes you sleepy – come on, science people, inquiring minds want to know!)
Endorphins increase your pain tolerance.
This is why period sex gets rid of cramps, and why “not tonight – I have a headache” is such a poor excuse to not get busy. When your brain is rushed with endorphins, your pain tolerance can increase by about 70% – which, in most cases, will mean that your pain seems to vanish mysteriously.
Sex keeps you looking younger.
This one is actually a fairly new discovery for me. There’s this hormone that’s released when you’re getting busy (dehydroepiandrosterone, if you’re curious – but most people call it DHEA). This hormone is responsible for repairing tissue – which, by definition, makes you look younger. Those of us who are over 25 should know that, biologically speaking, that’s when your cells are dying faster than they’re being replaced (sorry to be the bearer of bad news!) But there was a ten-year study done on the effects of regular sexual activity, and then volunteer judges made guesses about their ages. The participants who had “regular sex” were guessed to be 7-12 years younger than their actual age. Hey, it might not be specific, but it’s worth a shot, right?
Sex makes you smarter – or at least less forgetful.
Sex increases the flow of blood in the body, including the brain. When you get better circulation in the brain, oxygen-rich blood flows to the hypothalamus, which controls your memory and learning capacity. This means that regular sex has the potential to help you retain information. Yass!