Whenever you have good sex, you likely experience a mix of emotional and physical effects ― both during the act and after you’re finished. Not only does sex and orgasming feel incredible, it’s also amazing for your health and well-being.
Researchers and sex therapists constantly sing the praises of regular sex, and there’s a reason (or, really, many reasons) for it. There are plenty of positive, well-documented physiological changes that happen whenever you do the deed. Here are just some of the ways physical intimacy can improve your body and brain:
Sex can improve longevity
Having regular sex can improve your life span, according to Sunny Rodgers, a clinical sexologist and certified sex coach.
“Every time you reach orgasm, your body releases DHEA, a hormone known to boost your immune system, improve cognition, keep skin healthy and help you look younger,” Rodgers said. Gives new meaning to the term “afterglow,” right?
Sex may improve mental health
Ever felt your worries melt away during sex? Sex can lead to “decreased pain and anxiety, and increased relaxation and a sense of well-being,” Rodgers said.
This is mostly thanks to chemicals released in the brain during sex. “Endorphins are the neurotransmitters associated with happy feelings that can improve overall mood and fight off depression,” Rodgers added.
Sex can increase intimacy with your partner
Touch will bring you closer to your partner in a very physical and hormonal way, explained Laurie Watson, a certified sex therapist and podcaster of “Foreplay Radio Sex Therapy.”
“In a committed partnership, having sex releases oxytocin, the bonding hormone, where you’ll feel more connected to your partner,” she said. According to a 2017 study, the immediate bonding benefits last for about 48 hours after sex, thus increasing relationship quality in the longer term.
Sex can be good medicine
Frequent sex may aid your physical health in multiple ways.
“According to a study by the Boston University School of Public Health, ejaculation lowers the risk of prostate cancer, which makes sex a healthy option for men,” Rodgers said. “Orgasms also produce oxytocin, which works as a natural pain reliever and can help reduce headaches and muscle aches.” Oxytocin doesn’t just bond you to a partner; it can calm you, too.
Sex will burn calories
Although there’s a lot of debate over just how much exercise sex gives you (not that much), it’s certainly better than just hitting the sack after a long day.
“A couple burns about 100 calories every time they have sex,” Rodgers said. “If they have sex approximately three times each week, they can burn over 15,000 calories a year without ever visiting the gym.” Every little bit counts!
Sex is a good stress-reliever
Specifically, orgasms can release a lot of tension throughout your body, Watson said. “I had a female patient who’d been having sex three times a week for 12 years without an orgasm,” she explained. “When we finally worked on it and she did orgasm, she said, ‘Wow, you’re right! There’s so much stress relief.’”
A study published in the journal PLOS One found that having sex every day for two weeks may lead to cell growth in the hippocampus, the part of the brain that regulates mood. There is also evidence that feeling close to your partner emotionally and physically can ward off stress by reducing levels of cortisol (aka the stress hormone).
Sex can lead to greater pelvic and menstrual health
Sex simply leads to better sex, Rodgers said, because it “strengthens muscle tone in the genital and pelvic floor area, which can lead to better sex and stronger orgasms over time.”
The pain-relieving component of sex extends to premenstrual symptoms, such as cramps, too, Rodgers said.
Bottom line? Embracing more sex is usually a good idea
The benefits of regular sex are boundless ― and always remember that by “sex,” experts mean any sexual activity you’re comfortable with, any of which connects you to your partner and provides health benefits.
“Sex and sexual pleasure can include kissing, touch, foreplay, sensual massage, oral acts, using intimate pleasure products, mutual masturbation and more,” Rodgers said. “Couples should move away from getting hung up on the definition and concentrate on the pleasurable experiences they create together.”