Having more sex could not only make us feel good, it could provide far-reaching health benefits. Studies have linked regular sexual activity to emotional well-being, reduced migraine pain and even a lower risk of prostate cancer.
A healthy exercise
A Canadian study last month found that half-an-hour of sexual activity could burn more calories than walking on a treadmill – the researchers claimed sexual activity could be considered significant exercise.
Researchers indicate sex could form a part of an overall, varied exercise regimen – if you can make it last long enough.
If you last 30 to 40 minutes quite vigorously, you could get a good cardiovascular workout during sex. However, sexual activity is meant to compliment other more sustained forms of exercise.
Sex also provides a substantial workout to women’s pelvic floor muscles. A stronger pelvic floor can help reduce the risk of prolapse of the womb, which affects half of women over 50. And a stronger pelvic floor also reduces the risk of stress incontinence, which affects one in four women over 40.
Brain is stimulated
And it’s not just the heart and lungs that get a workout. A huge amount of brain stimulus occurs during intercourse, researchers explain. It’s why we feel so overtaken when we orgasm. Both sides of the brain are being stimulated, including parts of the brain we wouldn’t normally use.
Lower cancer risk
The good news for men – for older men, anyway – is that regular sex may be linked to a lower risk of prostate cancer.
One theory is that if men don’t clear the sperm, it can be re-absorbed by the prostate gland. Sperm needs to be regularly flushed out to allow new cells to develop, doctors say.
However, ejaculating more than 20 times a month could also increase prostate cancer risk later in life for men in their 20s and 30s. This is possibly because higher levels of sex hormones in some men, which may be responsible for a high sex drive, may also be linked to the development of prostate cancer later.
Important for your relationship
Sex may also have a positive effect on emotional well-being. One theory is that vaginal absorption of hormones in semen such as prostaglandins, testosterone and luteinizing hormone could help improve the mood of women.
Moreover, those who have sex at least once over two weeks might be better able to manage the stress of public speaking and record lower blood pressure in response to stressful situations.
Orgasm is also associated with a surge of the chemical oxytocin in men and women. This is often called the ‘bonding’ hormone because it induces feelings of fondness and affection. Oxytocin may help sustain feelings of love and commitment in long-term relationships.
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