6 Reasons Sex May Help You Live Longer

Earlier this summer, a British psychologist released research showing that regular sex can make you look seven years younger. But why is it, specifically, that getting frisky between the sheets leads to a longer, healthier life? We decided to have a look at the research. And there's plenty of it.

As a result, here are six ways sex keeps you younger and healthier. Have anything to add? Let us know in comments.

1) Even just thinking about sex Improves your cognitive abilities.
Dutch researcher Jens Förster found that the release offered by sexual gratification can promote brain growth. Even those who just had sex on their mind performed better on critical thinking exercises. Princeton University research also has showed that sex can stimulate the brain.

2) Sex improves stress levels.
Studies show that people who have sex also exhibit lower blood pressure in stressful situations.

3) Sex stimulates the immune system.
Wilkes University researchers in Pennsylvania found that those who have sex once or twice a week enjoy greater levels of an antibody named immunoglobulin A (IgA) than those who have sex less often. So the next time you feel a cold coming on? Have sex.

4) Sex reduces heart disease.
Research shows that men who have sex at least twice a week can cut their risk of heart disease in half.

5) Sex offers pain relief.
Not only do studies show that sex can reduce headache pain, but Dr. George E. Erlich, an arthritis specialist in Philadelphia, found that 70 percent of arthritis sufferers reported less arthritis pain after sex. Sexual arousal stimulates the adrenal glands to produce more cortisone, which reduces the inflammation that causes pain in joints.

6) Sex helps you sleep better.
According to Laura Berman, director of the Berman Center for Women's Sexual Health, the endorphins released during sex can make you feel more relaxed -- and therefore help you sleep.