You don’t need me to tell you that sex is great for the soul. Aside from, you know, the pleasure factor, gettin’ busy can solve pretty much any emotional issue, from stress, to anxiety, to anger — hell, it even cures headaches.
But according to sex-perts, the benefits of sweet, sweet loving extend way beyond simply boosting the mood. In fact, getting frisky on the reg might be one of the best things you can do for your body.
So how exactly does sex help your health? Read on to find out.
1. It’s great cardio.
Sex gets the blood pumping, so it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that it’s a good workout for your heart. But according to researchers at Queens University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, getting your heart rate up is just one of many perks of a good, old-fashioned romp.
In one study, researchers found that having sex three times a week may reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke by up to 50 percent. Cardiologist Dr. Graham Jackson explains,
As far as the heart is concerned, sex is just another form of exercise. In fitness terms, its equivalent is going for a mile-long walk or climbing up and down two flights of stairs.
You can go ahead and cancel that gym membership now.
2. Guys: It can improve the quality of your sperm.
In a small study, Australian researchers discovered ejaculating daily reduces the risk of carrying sperm with damaged DNA by approximately 12 percent.
Dr. Gillian Lockwood, Midlands Fertility Services medical director, explains,
When sperm is hanging around in the epididymis, the long coiled tube in the back of the testes where sperm is stored, it dies off rapidly. Unless a man has a low sperm count, the more often he has sex, the better the quality of his sperm.
It makes sense: The more sperm you, uh, unload, the more room there is for fresh, new, healthy sperm. Though Dr. Lockwood says frequent sexual activity is better than having “lots of [sex] on infrequent occasions,” know that masturbation probably achieves the same result, health-wise.
Who says it takes two to tango?
3. It’s a serious mood-booster.
You know that relaxed, peaceful feeling you get after a good sweat sesh between the sheets? It’s not your partner’s sexual skill to thank — it’s your brain.
Research shows that after sex, the body releases a cocktail of “feel-good” chemicals, including oxytocin and serotonin. The former, known as the “cuddling” hormone, promotes feelings of calm and contentedness, while the latter is one of the body’s natural antidepressants. Though both men and women experience this surge of hormones post-orgasm, the effect is more pronounced in females, who produce up to four times more of the chemicals than men.
As a result, sexually active women in long-term relationships are less likely to suffer from depression than their sexually inactive counterparts, according to a poll conducted by psychologist Gordon Gallup.
4. It could cure your cold.
OK, OK — so there’s no actual cure for the common cold. But having frequent sex may strengthen your immune system, making it easier to fight off the icky germs that turn you into a walking sneeze.
In one small study, researchers measured levels of immunoglobulin A (IgA)— a chemical that helps the immune system ward off illness — in the saliva of 11 volunteers with different sexual histories.
The researchers measured the lowest levels of IgA in the volunteers who abstained from sex, while the highest levels — up to 30 percent higher, in some cases — were found in those who got down more than once a week.
It’s still not exactly clear how sex strengthens the immune system, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s enough to know that it does.
Here’s to making the most out of your sick days.
5. It may help you live a longer life.
It’s true: Having sex frequently may straight up reduce your risk of dying. The benefits don’t get much better than that.
In one study, researchers found having sex twice weekly or more may reduce a man’s risk of premature death by up to 50 percent.
According to researcher Dr. Brewer, the longevity-boosting effect of frequent sexual activity may be linked to DHEA, a sex hormone released before and during orgasm.
Though DHEA serves as a “building block” for several other sex hormones, including testosterone and estrogen, it is unclear if its sexy-time release also benefits women’s health. For our sake, we’ll assume that it does.