Few men would deny the enjoyment and pleasure that comes with sex – not just the physical sensations, but also the emotional rush and the sense of intimacy and connection. However, many men may not realize that regular sex can have significant mental and physical health benefits beyond the bedroom.
According to the American Journal of Cardiology, a study has found that men who have sex at least two to three times per week had a significantly lower chance of cardiovascular disease than those who had sex a few times a month or less. One explanation of this is that sex helps to keep estrogen and testosterone levels in balance - if either is low, this can cause heart problems and at worst heart disease. Another argument suggests that the stress-reducing qualities of sex help combat stress-induced blood pressure and heart problems.
The fight against prostate cancer
A Harvard Medical School study established that frequent ejaculation over a number of years may help to decrease the risk of prostate cancer. The evidence is not conclusive, but the thinking is that ejaculation clears the prostate of carcinogenic secretions, whilst the stress-reducing benefits of orgasm may curb the toxins linked with triggering cancerous cells.
As well as boosting your heart rate and engaging many muscles in the body; it is estimated that an average sex session (lasting 20 minutes or more and dependent on the position) can burn up to 150 calories. Regular intimacy can keep you fit and in shape, a great benefit for both you and your partner.
A boost to the immune system
It is thought that people who have regular sex have higher levels of antibodies and other defenses against germs and viruses. A study of university students found that those who had sex a couple of times each week had higher levels of Immunoglobulin A, which is the antibody needed to help fight the common cold, than those who had irregular or no sex at all.
Combat stress and low mood
Sex is one of the best ways to calm us down – both emotionally and physically. From a very simplistic view, it combines various solutions linked to stress reduction, such as prolonged physical activity and deep breathing. In addition to this, sex (as well as other intimate connections such as kissing, touching and hugging) releases the hormone Oxytocin, which is the body’s ‘feel good’ hormone. Oxytocin increases the brain’s pleasure and reward system, which helps to amplify positive feelings and perceptions as well as fostering a mental sense of being loved and wanted.
The release of oxytocin through intimacy has also been shown to have pain-healing qualities. For most women, this is one of the hormones physicians have given to their patients during childbirth to help naturally combat pain. A recent study found that Oxytocin could be linked to controlling the pain of arthritis. So it turns out Marvin Gaye was right all along, sexual healing is good for us all!