No more ‘Not tonight, dear’ – there are a load of good health reasons to make more time for sex.
When work, family and general life get in the way, sex is often the first thing that gets pushed aside in a relationship. But as Tracey Cox, sex and relationship expert, says, “If GPs could prescribe sex, they would – when you’re lying in bed and just feel too tired, think again. It’s always worth it.”
1. Sex helps you sleep
Struggling to get decent shut-eye? Sounds like you need an orgasm – during climax, the brain releases stress-relieving oxytocin, which induces a relaxed feeling that helps you sleep better.
“Great sex is one of the best cures for sleeplessness and insomnia – oxytocin is the hormone that promotes feelings of intimacy, and it jumps to five times its normal level during climax,” says Tracey. “It also makes you feel sleepy. While men drift off two to five minutes after orgasm, women usually take 20 to 30 minutes.”
And there’s your answer to the age old question, ‘Why is he SO tired after sex??’
2. Sex makes you look younger
Couples who have sex at least three times a week look more than 10 years younger than those who get frisky less often, according to research done by Dr David Weeks, clinical neuropsychologist at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital. Dr Weeks says the pleasure from having sex is a “crucial factor” in staying young. Plus, the exercise you get from having sex boosts circulation and causes your body to release endorphins, both of which provide the skin with a natural glow. Human Growth hormone (HGH) somatotropin is also released, which helps boost skin elasticity and fend off wrinkles. Who needs expensive face cream?
3. Sex reduces headaches
Forget the old cliché – having a headache is the perfect reason TO have sex. A study carried out by the University of Munster in Germany found that making love can actually be more effective than painkillers when it comes to reducing headache pain. Sex triggers the release of endorphins – the body’s natural painkillers – into the central nervous system and their effect is so powerful, research in the journal Cephalalgia shows more than half of people who have sex during a headache experienced an improvement in symptoms.
4. Sex can help you lose weight
Sex is actually a major contender with other weight-loss exercises like walking and swimming.
“One study published in PLOS found that a young man can burn around 100 calories in a 25-minute session,” says Peter Lemon, personal trainer and founder of Academy of Fitness Professionals.
Sex can also curb your cravings for sugar and fat – it lowers your levels of cortisol, which doctors call the high-anxiety hormone. And too much cortisol in your system is a big cause of cravings for sugary, fatty snacks.
5. Sex boosts your immune system
Every time you climax, your body releases DHEA – an immune-boosting hormone that also increases your lifespan, improves cognitive performance and even acts as an antidepressant. And for those times when you feel the first murmurings of a cold, sex could help you fend it off – a study at Wilkes-Barre University found that the intimacy of sex helps the body produce significantly higher levels of the Immunoglobulin A (IgA), an antibody that forms a barrier against a cold. They discovered that people who have sex more than once or twice a week have more of these antibodies than the less sexually active.
6. It reduces period pain
Hear us out on this one. At the moment of climax, the uterine muscles contract and send pain-relieving and mood-enhancing endorphins to the brain. These act as a natural painkiller and help menstrual cramps, depression and irritability associated with PMS. Another theory is that the muscle contractions that occur when you orgasm relieve tension in the muscles of your uterus. But Lelo – the intimate product maker – suggests that when having sex during your period, stick to the missionary position as your flow is lighter when you’re horizontal.
7. Sex reduces prostate cancer risk
The prostate is a small gland that’s important in the male reproductive system – it produces the alkaline components of semen, which help protect the sperm. Research from Harvard found that men who ejaculate on a regular basis (five or more times a week) are less likely to develop prostate cancer as the process of ejaculation, which involves the prostate, actually flushes away the products that can lead to cancer.
8. Sex reduces a man’s heart attack risk
Contrary to the commonly held believe that sex can cause a heart attack in older men, having sex two or three times a week has actually been shown to decrease the risk of a heart attack in older men by nearly half, according to research published in the American Journal of Cardiology.