The Health Benefits Of Sex
By Al Link and Pala Copeland
Lose weight. Reduce stress. Lower your cholesterol level. Improve your circulation. Live longer. Stay younger. Sounds like an ad for a new wonder drug right? In fact it’s a partial list of the benefits of humanity’s oldest and most pleasurable pastime - sex.
Most of us are aware of the feel-good benefits of sex while we’re engaged in it, but do you also know that there are benefits which carry on after the sweaty bodies have dried and the sweet talk has reverted to sports? For instance:
Maintaining Ideal Body Weight
According to one survey reported by the Ottawa Citizen, Canadians on average have sex 7.33 times per month, lasting approximately 24.4 minutes. That means that “Joe Canada” is burning off more than 10 thousand calories a year, or about 3 pounds, in a not particularly active sex life. Those who are more sexually active, into Tantra for instance where lovemaking lasts 4 hours, would burn up 600 calories a session. At once a week that’s 31,200 calories or 9 pounds per year. Considering that people put weight on gradually, slowly gaining 5-10 pounds per year until they are overweight, it’s not unrealistic to assume that regular sexual activity is one way to help maintain a healthy body weight.
Increased Blood Flow
Stress Reduction, Relaxation and Improved Sleep
Sex as Pain Reliever
With arousal and orgasm oxytocin levels rise. They spike 3 to 5 times higher than usual just before orgasm. In fact it is oxytocin that triggers the orgasm. Measurements performed at the Masters and Johnson laboratories have shown that the uterine contractions brought about by orgasm (triggered by oxytocin) are just as powerful as those of child labor. Women can use this extraordinary orgasmic contraction and relaxation of the uterine muscle to relieve cramps during PMS and menstruation.
Live Longer, Stay Younger
The hormone DHEA promotes sexual excitement and increases in response to it. Dr Theresa Crenshaw author of The Alchemy of Love and Lust says DHEA may be the most powerful chemical in our personal world. It helps balance the immune system, improves cognition, promotes bone growth, and maintains and repairs tissues, keeping your skin healthy and supple. It may also contribute to cardiovascular health and even function as antidepressant.
Prostate and Genital Health
For those men who practice delaying ejaculation, for example in the practice of Tantra Sacred Sex, performing Kegel exercises (in which you contract the muscles around your genitals), will tone these muscles, just as exercising other muscles tones other areas of your body. More importantly, these exercises will help keep the prostate healthy, by moving the sexual energy up out of the prostate and circulating it throughout your body. The technique is very simple and you can perform hundreds of contractions per day for top sexual/physical fitness for both men and women. Imagine you are urinating, but want to stop the flow of urine, that’s all there is to it.
Contracting your muscles in this way is one of the healthiest exercises you could add to your exercise regime. When 178 Belgian men with minor erection problems participated in a 4-month daily rehabilitation program which primarily focused on Kegel exercises, 74 percent showed improvement and 43 percent were cured. For women, Kegels strengthen the entire urogenital tract, aiding greatly in childbirth and preventing the onset of incontinence in later life. They also sensitize the genital tissues, helping women to become orgasmic and/or increase the intensity of their orgasms
Boost Testosterone and Estrogen
Sex increases women’s estrogen levels keeping vaginal tissues more supple and also protecting against heart disease. It is estrogen that makes a woman sexually receptive and responsive to a man’s approach. It is estrogen that makes her want to be touched and feel romantic, it is testosterone that makes her want to be penetrated. Estrogen makes a woman soft-breasts develop in response to estrogen. Estrogen is a powerful influence on how a woman smells. It influences the degree to which she projects softness, openness, and interest in sexual touching.
Men’s bodies also produce estrogen. In fact testosterone can be converted into estrogen in the man’s body. Some estrogen helps a man to develop the softer, more nurturing feminine sides of their personalities. As men age, the testosterone/estrogen balance begins to shift, with testosterone decreasing and estrogen increasing, and this is one reason why so many men seem to mellow out as they get older.
The Healing Power of Intimacy
Part of this has to do with the positive effects of touch, what Dr. Crenshaw refers to as Vitamin T. The chemical composition of your body is changed by touch. Caressing, hugging, stroking, cuddling send a chain reaction of chemicals to signal your brain that this is pleasurable, nurturing, good.
There is strong scientific evidence demonstrating the importance of touch to good health. In the 1930s, Dr. Rene Spitz, attending physician at a number of nurseries, noticed that the illness and mortality rates were quite a bit higher in some of the nurseries. His observations and experiments led to the finding that the children who were becoming ill and dying had nothing to do with hygiene or nutrition, but rather had to do with the amount of touching the infants received from the attending staff. He confirmed his findings by hiring “grandmothers” to come into the nurseries to hold, fondle, and cuddle the children. The illness and mortality rates declined rapidly.
Researchers at Miami's Touch Research Institute (TRI) found that premature infants who received three massages a day over 10 days gained 47 percent more weight than preemies who weren't massaged. David Sebringsil, who writes regularly for The Society For Human Sexuality (one of the best online sources of excellent, sex-positive information), recommends Erotic Massage become a part of or alternative to regular lovemaking. It is one of the best ways to help someone achieve extended, multiple, or "whole body" orgasmic states. Through erotic massage partners learn to give and receive loving touch and extraordinary pleasure. It makes you healthier and happier.
Healthy blood, healthy bones, healthy heart, healthy body and a peaceful mind
- all thanks to the healing powers of sex. Next time you’re in the mood
let her know you’ve got the doctor on your side!