6 Healthy Benefits of Having Sex

6 Healthy Benefits of Having Sex

Whilst no-one ever initiates or engages in sex with the intention of staving off heart disease there are a number of proven physical and psychological health benefits to regular sex (and let’s not forget it should be a pleasurable activity!). 

If perimenopause or menopause is leaving you feeling a little lacklustre in that department, take a look at our tips for boosting libido.

1. Sex can help you sleep better

Sex can help relieve insomnia and/or just help you to sleep more soundly1. This is because once you orgasm, your body’s production of the hormone prolactin spikes, and this hormone is known to promote relaxation. Research also shows you produce more prolactin during sex with a partner than during masturbation2. The hormone oxytocin is also released during love-making and is known to have a relaxing effect on the body which can lead to better sleep.

2. Sex can help improve immunity

One study has shown that just one session of love-making a week can help promote production of immunoglobulin A, an antibody known to strengthen the immune system and help ward off conditions like colds and flu.3

3. Sex produces feel-good hormones

During sex, your body releases the ‘feel-good’ chemicals serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin. These can, in turn, help to reduce feelings of anxiety and potentially depression.

4. Sex can improve cardiovascular health

In one research study, for example, women who reported having a satisfying sex life had a reduced risk of hypertension (high blood pressure). Having satisfying sex was found to be more important than how often they did it.4

5. Sex can protect your brain

One study reveals that women who remained sexually active into older age had better cognitive function than those who didn’t.5 An Italian study has also shown that regular sex (particularly in the early stages of a relationship) encourages new nerve growth in the brain, which can make us more alert and firing on all cylinders.6

6. Sex creates feelings of intimacy and connectedness

Sex is, unsurprisingly, an important part of creating intimacy in relationships. Physical touch and affection, even for couples who have been together a very long time, can help to cement their bond and encourage greater closeness and connectedness.7

References:

1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36646500/#:~:text=The%20present%20studies%20confirm%20and,a%20directive%20for%20future%20research.

2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4901097/#:~:text=The%20magnitude%20of%20the%20intercourse,than%20masturbation%20does%20%5B6%5D.

3. https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg16221820-800-can-regular-sex-ward-off-colds-and-flu/ 4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5052677/

5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4776624/#:~:text=Sexual%20activity%20is%20associated%20with%20higher%20scores%20on%20tests%20of,associated%20with%20better%20cognitive%20function. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16289361/

6. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/253775635_Consequences_of_relationship_status_and_quality_for_subjective_well-being_Journal_of_Social_and_Personal_Relationships_22_607-627

Jane Collins

Jane Collins

Health & Her Editor

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