Sex's influence on well-being

Good news––there are proven health benefits to having regular sex. Who would have thought that something grade school teachers taught us was taboo could actually be good for us? Here is what you need to know about how beneficial “getting it on” can be.

First of all, sexual activity helps to build your immune system. Sexual health expert Yvonne Fulbright noted that studies have shown that people who have intercourse one to two times weekly are less likely to take sick days. In addition, research from Wilkes University found that the antibody immunoglobulin A—which is the body’s number one defender against colds and the like—was found in higher levels in people who participate in sexual intercourse once or twice per week.

Sex can be a form of pain relief as well. Hormones released from orgasms and even just stimulation—partner-induced or otherwise—act in a similar way to morphine. Distinguished service professor at Rutgers University Barry Komisaruk explained that these hormones positively affect cluster headaches, migraines, leg and back pain, menstrual cramping and arthritis.

The “feel good hormone” oxytocin released during sexual activity also creates a sense of relaxation. This chemical boosts pleasure, self-esteem and helps you feel calmer when placed in stressful situations. Sex also lowers one’s systolic blood pressure.

Psychiatrist Sheenie Ambardar explained that another benefit from this relaxed sensation is a good night’s sleep—aided by the release of prolactin following an orgasm. This is why people are ready to go to sleep after a good “romp in the hay.”

CEO and medical director of Amai Wellness Joseph Pinzone explained that some of the more important benefits of having sex are a lowered risk of heart attack, a lowered risk of prostate cancer in men and better bladder control in women. In one study, having sex twice a week cut the risk for a heart attack in half for males.

In general, sex keeps testosterone and estrogen levels balanced; which is good because when they are out of balance, heart disease and osteoporosis are more likely to occur. Other studies have shown that men who ejaculate 21 or more times per month might have a lowered risk of prostate cancer. For women, the actual orgasm helps to build the pelvic floor muscles because of the contractions, leading to a stronger bladder.

Lastly, sex can counts a form of exercise. Pinzone noted that on average sex burns about five calories per minute and also increases heartrate. Plus, depending on how wild partners get, it can also help with balance and flexibility.

And just like any other workout program, you’ll get the best results with sex with consistency.