Wednesday, 10 October 2012
10 Surprising Health Benefits of Sex
The health benefits of sex extend well beyond the bedroom. Turns out sex is good for you in ways you may never have imagined.
By Kathleen Doheny
How does a juicy sex life do a body good? Let's count the ways. Here are 10 health benefits of sex -- backed up by science.
Sex-Drive Killers Slideshow
1. Less Stress, Better Blood Pressure
Having sex could lower your stress, and your blood pressure.
That finding comes from a Scottish study of 24 women and 22 men who kept records of their sexual activity. The researchers put them in stressful situations, such as speaking in public and doing math out loud, and checked their blood pressure.
People who had had intercourse responded better to stress than those who engaged in other sexual behaviors or abstained.
Another study published in the same journal found that diastolic blood pressure (the second number in a blood pressure test) tends to be lower in people who live together and often have sex. And yet another study found that women who get lots of hugs from their partner tend to have better blood pressure.
2. Sex Boosts Immunity
Having sex once or twice a week has been linked with higher levels of an antibody called immunoglobulin A or IgA, which can protect you from getting colds and other infections.
So say scientists at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. They studied 112 college students who kept records of how often they had sex and also provided saliva samples for the study. Those who had sex once or twice a week had higher levels of IgA, an antibody that could help you avoid a cold or other infections, than other students.
3. Sex Burns Calories
Thirty minutes of sex burns 85 calories or more. It may not sound like much, but it adds up: 42 half-hour sessions will burn 3,570 calories, more than enough to lose a pound. Doubling up, you could drop that pound in 21 hour-long sessions.
"Sex is a great mode of exercise," says Patti Britton, PhD, a Los Angeles sexologist. It takes work, from both a physical and psychological perspective, to do it well, she says.
4. Sex Improves Heart Health
Having sex may be good for your heart. A 20-year-long British study shows that men who had sex twice or more a week were half as likely to have a fatal heart attack than men who had sex less than once a month.
And although some older folks may worry that the sex could cause a stroke, that study found no link between how often men had sex and how likely they were to have a stroke.