Sex is an integral component of human existence. Beyond its reproductive function, it provides individuals with a sense of intimacy and pleasure.
Engaging in sexual activities, such as sexual intercourse or masturbation, can bring numerous benefits that extend to different aspects of your life, including physical, intellectual, emotional, psychological, and social well-being.
Maintaining sexual health entails more than just preventing sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies. According to the American Sexual Health Association, It also involves acknowledging the significance of sex as a vital aspect of one’s life.
How Can Sex Benefit Your Body?
According to studies, engaging in sex can serve as a form of cardiovascular exercise for younger individuals. While it may not suffice as a standalone workout, it can be categorized as a form of light exercise.
There are several benefits to engaging in sexual activity, which include:
- Lowering blood pressure
- Burning calories
- Enhancing heart health
- Strengthening muscles
- Decreasing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and hypertension
- Increasing libido
Additionally, people who maintain active sex lives tend to exercise more frequently and follow better dietary habits than those who have less sexual activity.
Stronger Immune System
In one study that inspected the immune systems of individuals in romantic relationships, researchers found that those who engage in frequent sexual activity (one to two times a week) have higher levels of immunoglobulin A (IgA).
IgA is an essential antibody that helps prevent illness and serves as the first line of defense against the human papillomavirus (HPV).
Conversely, those who have infrequent sex had substantially lower levels of IgA. However, people who had sex more than three times a week had similar levels of IgA as those with infrequent sexual activity.
The study suggests that anxiety and stress can potentially negate the positive effects of sexual activity.
Sexual activity can also help with various types of headaches (e.g., migraines, cluster headaches). In one study, researchers inspected the effects of sex on individuals with chronic headaches.
The results demonstrated the following:
- 60% reported improvement during a migraine
- 70% reported moderate to complete relief during a migraine
- 37% reported improvement in cluster headache symptoms
- 91% reported moderate to complete relief in cluster headaches
Sleep optimization is another benefit of sexual activity. During an orgasm, the body releases oxytocin (i.e., the “love” or “intimacy” hormone) and endorphins, which act as sedatives.
Better sleep can optimize the immune system, extends life expectancy, and give you more energy during the day.
How Sex Benefits All Genders
A review demonstrated that men who engage in more frequent sexual intercourse had a lower risk of prostate cancer. Moreover, a study found that men who had 4.6 to 7 ejaculations per week had a 36% lower risk of receiving a prostate cancer diagnosis before the age of 70 compared to those who ejaculated 2.3 or fewer times per week.
Another study reported that men who had two or more orgasms per week had a 50% lower mortality risk than those who had sex less often. These findings are based on a 10-year follow-up.
For women, orgasms boost blood flow to various organs and upregulate the production of pain-relieving neurotransmitters. Sexual activity can also improve bladder control, reduce incontinence, relieve menstrual and premenstrual cramps, improve fertility, overall vaginal health, strengthen pelvic muscles, and aid the production of vaginal fluids.
It may even protect against endometriosis, which is the growth of tissue outside the uterus. The act of sex can strengthen the pelvic floor, which results in fewer instances of pain during sex and reduced chances of vaginal prolapse.
Women who continue to engage in sexual activity after menopause are less likely to experience significant vaginal atrophy, which can cause pain during sex and urinary symptoms.