Safe sex and a loving partner can be a recipe for happiness. Engaging in sexual activity can bring instant emotional and physical satisfaction.
The emotional benefits of sex between two consenting adults have been well documented. They include:
- Stress relief.When you experience consensual sex with a loving partner, you’re happy. Sexual activity gives you a break from the stresses of your life. Even if the break is only for an hour, it’s a welcome relief.
- Partner intimacy.A happy, healthy sexual relationship strengthens your everyday relationship with your partner. It promotes both trust and empathy (understanding how the other feels).
- A healthy libido. You’ve heard the phrase, “use it or lose it.” This is true of regular sexual activity. Also, the more frequently women have sexual activity and/or orgasm, the more they’re physically able to have it again.
But these emotional benefits are only half of the story. Having sex promotes your physical health, as well. In fact, your sexual activity can result in a many long-lasting health benefits.
Path to improved wellness
There are more than a few reasons for having sex. Recreation, emotional wellbeing, intimacy, and to get pregnant are some of the most common reasons people have sex. It’s time to add “for health benefits” to the list.
While you are enjoying a healthy sex life, you’ll be reaping these benefits to your health:
- A boost to your immune system.Having sex frequently (once or twice a week) produces higher levels of immune-fighting antibodies. This helps your body fight off illness.
- A happy heart. Love not only makes you happy—making love may protect men and women against heart disease. It increases your heart rate. Sex is similar to exercise. However, it has the added benefit of balancing estrogen (women) and testosterone (men) hormones. Both are critical to heart health.
- Lowering blood pressure.When you combine happiness and exercise, you lower your blood pressure. Sexual intercourse does just that.
- A workout. Some sexual activities, such as sexual intercourse, offer a healthy mix of aerobic and muscle-building exercise.
- Good medicine.Sexual stimulation, and particularly orgasm, is a natural remedy for pain. Your body releases certain pain-relieving hormones. This helps with back and leg pain. Also, it helps with headaches, arthritis, and menstrual cramps.
- Gender-specific physical gains.For men, ejaculation has been shown to lower their risk of prostate cancer. This is based on a man ejaculating a minimum of 21 times per month. For women, sexual activity strengthens the bladder. This improves bladder function. Regular sexual activity helps lubricate a woman’s vagina, too. This makes it more comfortable for women to engage in sexual activity, especially as they age.
- Restful sleep. Your body produces relaxation hormones (prolactin) immediately after orgasm. Also, women (and men) release the hormone oxytocin when they have an orgasm. This promotes a restful sleep, as well.
Things to consider
Never forget to practice safe sex. This goes for persons of all ages. This is important in preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease (STD). There are many birth control options for preventing pregnancy. A condom is the most effective way to prevent STDs.
Sexual activity should always be consensual. That means that you both agree you want to have sex.
Questions to ask your doctor
- What can a man or woman do to increase his or her sexual response with a loving partner?
- Can different forms of birth control affect your desire for sex?
- Can masturbation provide some of the same benefits?
- What is okay and not okay in sexual activity?
- Can low sexual activity have the opposite effect on your health and relationship?
Copyright © American Academy of Family Physicians
This information provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. Talk to your family doctor to find out if this information applies to you and to get more information on this subject.