The Health Benefits of Regular Intimacy
By: Natasha Burton
It's no secret that being regularly intimate can be wonderful for your relationship. But, did you know it's also pretty great for your overall wellness? From releasing feel-good hormones to producing brain-boosting effects, your time spent between the sheets really does your body good.
Sound too good to be true? Here are five major ways you'll feel the benefits of regular sex.
It De-Stresses You
Research shows that physical intimacy can relieve anxiety. How? For starters, intimacy promotes cell growth in the hippocampus, which is a part of the brain that regulates our stress levels. Sex is also said to lower stress-related blood pressure. So, the next time you start feeling a bit overwhelmed … well, you know what to do.
It’s a Body Booster
Regular intimacy can actually support your entire skeletal system – and with it your overall health. Testosterone, which is released during sex in men and women, strengthens your bones and muscles – including your heart – and even gives you more energy. That's far more than your nightly glass of milk or morning cup of joe can do.
It Relieves Pain
Turns out there’s a bit of truth to the adage on sex and headaches. Whether you have a headache, sore muscles or arthritis, sex can actually alleviate your discomfort. In a study focusing on women, researchers found that having an orgasm not only lessened participants' abilities to notice pain, but it also increased their pain thresholds. Some believe that – as far as headaches go – tension released during intimacy can actually open up your blood vessels, lessening that pounding feeling in your head. Talk about the power of sexual healing.
It May Ward Off the Flu
Though it might sound crazy, having sex on the regular may keep you from having to use up your sick days. Sex encourages your immune system to produce immunoglobulin, an antibody that hangs out in mucosal linings, which are the places where cold- and flu-causing germs typically enter. Though it’s not a replacement for the flu shot or your daily vitamin, it's one (fun) way to help fend off whatever it is that's going around.
It Helps You Sleep
Full of those “feel-good” happy feelings after intimacy with your partner? That’s because having sex causes your body to produce oxytocin – also known as the “love hormone” – which studies show makes you feel more bonded to your partner. But oxytocin has also been found to give you a blissful, relaxed feeling, priming your body for some post-sex shut-eye. No wonder you sometimes get the urge to fall asleep after a particularly satisfying romp.
- Greatist: How Does Sex Reduce Stress?
- PsychologyToday: Sex Lessons Learned from Pain and Disability
- WhyAreWeWhispering: New Research Suggests Sex Boosts Immune Function
Journalist Natasha Burton has written for Cosmopolitan for Latinas, Maxim, Cosmopolitan.com, and WomansDay.com, among others. The author of "101 Quizzes for Couples" and "The Little Black Book of Big Red Flags," she is regularly called on as a relationship expert by various media outlets around the world.