It's no joking matter; having more sex is good for you Sex can improve memory, mood, sleep, intimacy, immunity and heart health CNN "I know a man who gave up smoking, drinking, sex and rich food. He was healthy right up to the day he killed himself. Sorry, Johnny, it may be funny, but you've got it wrong.
Although giving up unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking and rich food will certainly improve your health, giving up sex will not. In fact, when you're in a healthy relationship, sex is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
Here are 10 reasons why. Does your relationship need a 'love drug'? If you're stressed, sex may be the last thing on your mind. But if you can get in the mood, sex is a great stress-reliever. The act of sex floods your brain with all sorts of feel-good chemicals while reducing the stress hormone cortisol.
Read More Dopamine, which impacts the brain's pleasure and reward centers; endorphins, which can reduce pain and stress; and oxytocin, also known as the cuddle hormone, are all released during sex, with higher levels after orgasm. Oxytocin promotes feelings of well-being and happiness. And you don't have to boink like bunnies to feel that way. A study of 30, American men and women between and found that having sex at least once a week in a committed relationship was enough to make people happy.
Have more sex It's more than the coital act that brings benefits. Studies of older adults found that holding hands, hugging, kissing and mutual stroking also contribute to a greater quality of life. Getting it on can ward off depression, too. Studies show that men and women who have intercourse with their partners have greater satisfaction with their mental health. Unfortunately, the benefits didn't extend to masturbation. But the boost doesn't appear to work for casual sex or hookups.
One study of nearly 7, US college students across 14 public universities found that those who had more hookups had lower levels of happiness and self-esteem, and higher levels of depression and anxiety. In contrast to the notion that men are more likely to be OK with casual sex, the researchers found no differences between the sexes.
Prolactin, a hormone that relaxes you, is also released after an orgasm. The combination of prolactin and all the rest of the "feel-good" hormones are why most people sleep better after sex. To get the highest amount of prolactin, science suggests having an orgasm with a partner if possible. A study of nearly 10, women ages 50 to 79 found that those who got fewer than seven to eight hours of sleep a night were less likely to be sexually active.
The older the woman, the more likely she was to report less sex when sleep-deprived. Here's what it will do to your health Sleep disorders can play a role.
For example, men and women with obstructive sleep apnea, characterized by loud snoring and periods of breathing cessation, report a less active sex life. Men are especially hard-hit. To produce testosterone , men need a good period of restful, uninterrupted sleep.
Without that, they could have lower levels of testosterone and suffer erectile dysfunction. What happens when sleep is improved? Good news for both sexes: According to a study , women who got a good night's sleep were more likely to experience sexual desire the next day.
And researchers at Walter Reed Army Hospital found that using a CPAP machine, a breathing apparatus used to correct sleep apnea, improved sexual function and satisfaction for all men in their study but was especially helpful to those with erectile dysfunction. It boosts your immunity. Having regular sex may also help you fight off disease. Researchers at Pennsylvania's Wilkes University asked US college students how often they had sex each week and then compared the levels of immunoglobulin A, an antibody that functions as the body's first line of defense, in their saliva.
Reasons for avoiding sex are often treatable Students who had sex once or twice a week had the highest levels of immunoglobulin A: In addition, students who were in longer-term, satisfying relationships had the highest levels of the antibody. That makes sense when you consider research on social support and the immune system.
A study of healthy volunteers at the University of Pittsburgh found that those with the most diverse social networks, including not just lovers but family, friends and organizations, were the least likely to catch colds.
It decreases risk of prostate cancer. Good news for men: Frequent ejaculation appears to be linked to a lower risk for prostate cancer. A study published in the British Medical Journal studied the sex life of over 50, American males between the ages of 40 and Men reporting 21 or more ejaculations a month were less likely to get prostate cancer than men who ejaculated four to seven times a month.
A follow-up study published in showed the same results. It improves heart health. The year study, which began in , tracked the sex lives of over 1, men age 40 to 70; the researchers eliminated other risk factors from the results, such as age, weight, cholesterol and blood pressure.
Why some make so much noise during sex Women also reap the heart-healthy benefits of sex. A study found that women who said they had frequent, extremely satisfying sex had a lower risk of hypertension, a common precursor to heart disease. That makes sense, said sex and relationship educator Laura Berman, because of the way women view their sexual relationships. That is the key to her emotional and physical well-being, which benefits her health and her heart and everything else.
Want more affection in your life? Have more sex with your partner.