By Dr Yvonne K. Fulbright
Sex – it does the body good.
Yet most of us are quicker to hit the gym before hitting the sheets when it comes to taking care of ourselves. Believe it or not, huffing and puffing your way through a hot, sweat-inducing sex session may be far more beneficial to your overall health than the time you spend on the treadmill.
As research confirms time and time again, good sex in a healthy, stable, monogamous relationship can only better our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well being. Sex, in this context, offers us tons of benefits, most of which aren’t touted nearly enough.
Here are just a few benefits:
— Weight loss and weight control. Forget torturing yourself with the latest fad diet or hours on the elliptical machine when you can burn about 200 calories in 30 minutes of sex! Lovemaking lends itself to improved strength, flexibility, muscle tone, and cardiovascular conditioning. Plus, there’s something super sexy about getting to sleep with your very own “personal trainer.”
— Pain management. Forgo popping a pain killer and opt for something a bit more “au naturel.” Sex has been shown to offer migraine and menstrual cramp relief, as well as alleviate chronic back pain thanks to the endorphins and corticosteroids released during sexual arousal and orgasm.
— Stress relief. Sex, even if only with ourselves, impacts the way we respond to stress, increasing levels of oxytocin and stimulating feelings of warmth and relaxation. What better way to unwind from a tough day than sharing its most climactic moment with your special someone?
— Immune booster. Stop spending late nights at the office. Sex wards off colds and the flu. And sexually active people take fewer sick days, giving the phrase “working late” an entirely new meaning. Bosses, take note.
— Better heart health. A little bit of heart and soul in the sack should be part of every doctor’s orders when it comes to cardiovascular care. Sex may help lower cholesterol and the risk of heart attack.
— Increased self-esteem and intimacy. When sex is consistent and involves mutual pleasure, it can increase bonding since the surge in oxytocin at orgasm stimulates feelings of affection, intimacy, and closeness. When spiritual in nature, sex can lead to an even better quality of life and stronger relationship. Is it any wonder that good sexual energy in a positive relationship can make you feel better about yourself, your partner, and life in general?
— Sleep enhancement. There’s no need to count sheep when sex, including masturbation, helps insomnia. Plus, making love sure beats tossing and turning your way to zzzz’s.
— A better, younger looking you. Sex keeps you looking and feeling younger and, according to some research, may lead to shiny hair, a glowing complexion and bright eyes. This is because it increases the youth-promoting hormone DHEA (dehydroepiandrostone). And feeling more attractive charges your sex life even more.
— Mood lifter. Sex releases pleasure-inducing endorphins during arousal and climax that can relieve depression and anxiety, and increase vibrancy.
— Longevity. There is a significant relationship between frequency of orgasm and risk of death, especially with men. Men who orgasm two times a week have a 50 percent lower chance of mortality than those who climax one time per month. The bonus: Living longer also gives you and your honey the opportunity for even more lovin’!
— Decreased risk of breast cancer. One study of women who had never given birth found that an increased frequency of sexual intercourse was correlated with a decrease in the incidence of breast cancer.
— Reproductive health benefits. According to at least one study, sex appears to decrease a man’s risk of prostate cancer, and the prevention of endometriosis in women. It also promotes fertility in women by regulating menstrual patterns.
In a nutshell, the health benefits of sex in a good, solid relationship are practically endless. Yet, in planning our New Year’s resolutions, how many of us are declaring, “I think I’ll have more sex with my lover” in fulfilling any 2008 health and self-improvement goals?
While exercise on a regular basis is important to your health, sex can do so much more for you and your relationship. So before signing any dotted line for a new gym membership, consider how time allotted to an athletic club could be far more effective in your bedroom.
You can get a lot more bang for your buck in the bedroom, double your “membership” benefits, and, with sex breeding the desire for more sex, thanks to a boost in testosterone, it’s a workout plan you’re likelier to stick to.