If you are eating right, getting plenty of sleep and practicing safe sex, sexual activity can be very healthy for mind, body and spirit. Research has shown that those who have a sexually active life, are generally healthier and happier. Here are some of the benefits backed up by research:
- Increased Immunity – According to a 2004 study by Charnetski and Brennan, published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), “Sexual frequency and salivary immunoglobulin A (IgA),” frequent sexual activity might boost immunity. The saliva of 112 college students was studied in three groups of college students. Those who engaged in sex frequently (three or more times a week) had a higher level of salivary immunoglobulin A (IgA), than the two other groups who engaged in sex less often (1. less than once a week or 2. once or twice a week). Frequent sexual activity may result in increased immunity.
- Releases Anxiety – Professor Stuart Brody, Ph.D., conducted a research study at the University of the West of Scotland. The study revealed that people who had sexual intercourse at least once over two weeks were better able to manage stress. Endorphins and oxytocin are feel-good hormones that are released during sex and activate pleasure centers in the brain. If you are looking for a way to release stress and anxiety, sexual activity creates a natural chemical bodily reaction that eliminates or reduces anxiety.
- Improved Bladder Control
– The muscles used in achieving orgasm are the same muscles used in bladder control. Frequent sexual activity can strengthen muscles of the pelvic floor and help women and men avoid incontinence and premature ejaculation. You can strengthen these muscles by practicing Kegel exercises. If you not certain how to flex these muscles, the best way to discover the muscles it to practice stopping the flow of urine. A Kegel squeeze is performed by drawing your lower pelvic muscles up and holding them up high and tight.
- Lowered Blood Pressure –
A study by Brody, Veit and Rau, showed that sexual intercourse among cohabiting partner subjects, resulted in a greater heart rate variability (HRV) and a lower resting diastolic blood pressure (DBP) in 51 healthy adults aged 20-47 . The diastolic blood pressure was not lowered when sex was practiced alone or with the group of non-cohabiting subjects. Researchers looked at the bonding created between couple pairs as an important role in lower blood pressure levels. Those who lived together and knew one another well had lower blood pressure after sexual activity.
- Burns calories – Canadian researchers at the University of Quebec studied 20 couples aged 18 to 35. They were instructed to have sex once a week for a month and jog on a treadmill for 30 minutes. The study showed that at certain points during sex some of the men were actually expending more energy than they did when on the treadmill.
- Relieves pain –
Sexual activity increases oxytocin. Research consistently shows that oxytocin increases emotional connection, increases a sense of calm and well-being, and reduces the effects of stress (as measured by lowered blood pressure and cortisol), which results in relaxation and reduces the perception of pain. Orgasm also releases endorphins, a natural opiod painkiller that reduces the awareness of pain and creates a feeling of euphoria. Studies have shown sexual activity to help reduce or block back and leg pain, menstrual cramp pain, arthritis and headaches. One study found that sexual activity can lead to partial or complete relief of headache in some.
Orgasm produces natural body antidepressant chemicals such as serotonin, phenyl ethylamine (also found in chocolate) which activates the brain’s pleasure center; and endorphins, one of the body’s natural opioid feel-good chemicals.
The brain produces more than 50 identified active drugs. Some of these are associated with memory, others with intelligence, still others are sedatives. Endorphin is the brain’s painkiller, and it is 3 times more potent than morphine.
- Prostate Cancer Reduction – A 2004 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association analyzed data on 29,342 men and found that those who had 21 or more orgasms a month were about 30% less likely to develop prostate cancer than those who had about 4-7 orgasms a month.However, more research is needed in this area before research can be determined to be conclusive. Critics of the study say that there were other contributing factors.
- Induces Sleep – Hormones are released after orgasm. Prolactin creates a variety of physical responses, including sleepiness. Prolactin suppresses the effects of dopamine, an arousal hormone. Animals injected with the chemical become tired immediately. Intercourse orgasm releases four times more prolactin than masturbatory orgasm, according to a recent study. Researchers found that the hormone oxytocin, released during orgasm, also promotes sleep and is known as the “love hormone” as it results in a “feel-good” emotional bond with your partner.
- Increases Self Esteem – Researchers have found that the chemicals released after orgasm increase self esteem, reduce stress and elicit feel-good hormones. Those who engage in sexual activity more frequently are better able to cope with stressful situations that require confidence boosting, such as public speaking, according to the research of Professor Stuart Brody, Ph.D, of Scotland.
- Live Longer, Healthier Life
Researchers have found that the more often one engages in sex, the more likely they are able to live a healthier longer life, and/or vice versa. The healthier one is, the longer they are able to engage in a healthier sex life. In a study entitled, “Sex, health, and years of sexually active life gained due to good health: evidence from two US population based cross sectional surveys of ageing,” researchers Stacy Tessler Lindau, Associate Professor and Natalia Gavrilova, Senior Research Associate concluded:“Sexual activity, quality of sexual life, and interest in sex were positively associated with health in middle age and later life.”
- Increased Emotional Love Bond – Studies show that the hormone oxytocin is increased after orgasm and creates a chemical reaction in the brain resulting in the feeling of an emotional bond of love between sexual partners. This allows partners to better experience compassionate, caring, emphatic connection with one another.
Charnetski and Brennan,”Sexual frequency and salivary immunoglobulin A (IgA),” National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)
Brody, Veit and Rau, “A preliminary report relating frequency of vaginal intercourse to heart rate variability, Valsalva ratio, blood pressure, and cohabitation status,” National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)
Julie Frappier, Isabelle Toupin, Joseph J. Levy, Mylene Aubertin-Leheudre, Antony D. Karelis Energy Expenditure during Sexual Activity in Young Healthy Couples, Public Library of Science, October 24, 2013
This article is written by Jean Voice Dart, M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University. Jean is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.” She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance. The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3 nonprofit health and wellness education organization. For more information about the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.
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