Sexual intercourse is something animals and humans do in order to reproduce, carry on genetic legacy and - in the case of humans and dolphins - for pleasure, too. Whilst these are the two reasons we would mainly think of as to why we have sex, there are also many health and lifestyle benefits in getting busy regularly.
In terms of general health, it has been found by sexual health expert, Dr. Yvonne K. Fulbright, that sexually active people take fewer sick days. Researchers in Pennsylvania found that students who had sex more often had higher levels of the antibody immunoglobin A (IgA), which can protect the body from colds and other infections.
It has been shown that sex can act as an effective pain relief - an orgasm can beat an aspirin! When orgasm is reached and in the time after, a hormone called oxytocin is released that helps to stimulate endorphins, raising pain thresholds and reducing the effects of lots of various minor ailments from headaches to menstrual cramps.
Sex can also be a very effective way to exercise. While it won’t replace the gym, having sex for half an hour can burn 85 calories or more and in turn increases your heart rate and uses a wide range of muscles. Consistency also helps to maximise these and all of the benefits of sex, therefore in this case more is definitely better.
As well as being very good for your body and soul in the present, sex can also benefit us in the long term. Firstly, it is thought that your risk of heart attack is lowered. Aside from being a natural way to raise your heart rate; sex also helps to keep oestrogen/ testosterone levels balanced. If either of these become too low, it is very likely that osteoporosis (thinning bones) and heart disease may occur or at least become more likely. During one study conducted, men who had sex more than once a week were around 50% less likely to die of heart disease than men who rarely had sex. There was also further good news published in the Journal of the American Medical Association; men who have regular sex and ejaculate frequently may lessen their chances of getting prostate cancer. It may not have been solely the sex that influenced the findings of this study - but more sex can’t hurt, right?
It is often common for people to fall asleep more quickly after having sex, and there is a good reason for this. After orgasm, one of the hormones released is prolactin, which has been proven to be responsible for the feelings of relaxation and sleepiness. This feeling of relaxation and happiness can also be linked to the previously mentioned hormone, oxytocin. Touching and hugging - in particular with partners - releases this hormone, also known as the body’s natural “love and happiness” hormone, to heighten intimacy and also ease stress and anxiety. The more physical contact people have, the higher the oxytocin levels in our bodies and the better we feel. In turn, this can boost libido. Lauren Streicher- an assistant clinical professor of gynecology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, has said that for women in particular, having sex improves blood flow, elasticity and lubrication of the vagina. All of these effects make sex feel better and mean you crave it and the feelings it brings.
There are many benefits to having sex and having sex regularly from pleasure to pain relief. Safe sex is also vital, using condoms and other contraceptives protect us from potential STDs and accidental pregnancies. Whilst you should still do all the things that keep your immune system healthy such as eating well, exercising and getting plenty of sleep; evidence has shown us that sexual intercourse can be very beneficial to us too.