It’s been repeated a hundred times: To be healthy, you need to eat right, get physically fit, and sleep adequately. But something can make the equation more interesting: a thriving sex life.
As it turns out, having healthy sex not only leaves our sexual desires satisfied but helps improve our overall health and well-being, too. That is if you’re in a healthy relationship as well.
What’s more, the benefits of being sexually active are even supported by scientific studies. Curious (and excited) yet? Find out why having healthy sex is one of the best things you can do for yourself, and how you can maintain a thriving sex life.
Benefits of Having Healthy Sex
Sex burns calories
Apparently, sex is a calorie burner, too. A study conducted on 20 young healthy couples revealed that sex burns 3.6 calories per minute or 108 calories per every half hour!
Researchers also wrote that the intensity exerted from sexual intercourse can even be greater than walking at 4.8 kilometers per hour. The findings of the study suggest that sexual activity can indeed be a form of exercise.
Experts also highlight the other exercise benefits that can be reaped from having sex.
According to them, sex allows you to stretch your tendons and muscles, flex your joints, and increase your heart rate and respiration, which all help energize a healthy body.
Sex helps you to sleep better
During orgasm, a hormone called prolactin is released. This hormone is a natural sleep aid, promoting not just the feeling of relaxation but sleepiness as well.
Prolactin, combined with all the other “feel-good” hormones, is what contributes to better sleep after sex.
Science claims it’s better to have an orgasm with a partner as higher levels of prolactin is released after sexual intercourse than masturbation.
Sex boosts your immune system
There’s another good reason to have more sex: It boosts your immune system. Researchers revealed that sexually active people are less likely to get sick compared with their inactive peers.
Sex boosts the capability of your body to create protective antibodies that fight off viruses, germs, and other bacteria that cause illnesses.
A study revealed that students who had frequent sex (once or twice per week) had higher levels of immunoglobulin compared to those who had none.
It was also discovered that students who had longer-term, fulfilling relationships got the highest levels of the antibody.
Sex promotes heart health
Having frequent sex can also give you a healthier heart. Testosterone and estrogen are essential hormones for sexual and reproductive growth.
When these hormones are imbalanced, health conditions such as osteoporosis and heart diseases are likely to occur.
So, what’s the role of sex in heart health? Sexual activity helps to keep your testosterone and estrogen levels in check.
A study revealed that men who had sex at least twice a week were 50 percent less likely to die of heart disease compared to their less sexually active counterparts.
What’s more, women can reap the benefits of sex to heart health, too. According to research, women who enjoyed frequent, extremely satisfying sex reported a lower risk of hypertension, which is a known precursor to heart disease.
Women’s perception of their sexual relationships also helps in reducing their cardiovascular risk. More than sexual satisfaction, women also feel more connected to their sexual partner through cuddling and kissing.
Experts say this contributes to women’s physical and emotional well-being, which profits her heart, health, and several other aspects of her being.
Sex reduces pain
It was also revealed that sexual stimulation can help alleviate pain. A survey conducted on headache sufferers showed that 60 percent of migraine patients experienced relief when they had sex during an episode.
Meantime, 37 percent reported an improvement of their cluster headache when they had sex during an attack. Even more surprising, some male migraine sufferers considered sex as a therapeutic tool!
Sexual activity and masturbation were found to raise the pain threshold, and lessen the sensation of pain. Orgasms promote the release of hormones that help intercept pain signals.
Some women reported reduced symptoms of a headache, arthritis, and menstrual cramps when they masturbate.
Sex relieves stress
Are your tight deadlines and busy schedules stressing you out? Sex might never cross your mind when you’ve got tons of work to do, and feeling under pressure.
But, sex is actually a great stress-reliever. Sex stimulates the release of feel-good chemicals such as dopamine, which affects the brain’s reward and pleasure systems; and endorphins, which can reduce stress and pain levels.
Oxytocin or the “cuddle hormone” is also released during sex, even more so after orgasm. While these beneficial substances are released, cortisol or the “stress hormone” is reduced during sex. This explains why sex is an excellent stress-reliever.
How to Keep Your Sex Life Healthy
Your sex life is bound to change as you age. Comes with aging are changes in your body, outward appearances, hormone levels, and sexual drive.
The good news is that you can do something to keep your sex life healthy and thriving despite these changes. Want to know how? Below are some ways on how to be sexually healthy:
Get yourself checked
Regular checkups help to determine if you’re suffering from underlying conditions that may adversely affect your sex life.
Painful sex may indicate gynecological problems, while erectile dysfunction may suggest cardiovascular problems.
To rule out any possible sexual health concerns, you need to see your doctor or gynecologist regularly, especially if something is bothering you. Tell your doctor everything. Do not hide important information from your physician or gynecologist.
Whether it’s a weird discharge or strange cramps while having sex, these things shouldn’t be kept from your doctor so you can be properly assessed.
These medical experts are trained to deal with these kinds of concerns so you shouldn’t feel ashamed or embarrassed.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a sexual illness, it is important to follow your doctor or gynecologist’s instructions.
Refrain from missing your medical appointments, and strictly comply with your doctor’s prescriptions and other important orders.
Check your hormones
A depleting sex drive may be a result of a hormonal imbalance. Too much stress hormones or cortisol may also dwindle your libido. In some instances, low estrogen levels cause vaginal dryness, painful sex, and total lack of sexual appetite.
If you’re suspecting that hormonal balance may play a part in your weakening sex life, visit your doctor to have your hormone levels tested.
Keep a healthy diet
Your diet also plays an important role in your sex life. Poor eating habits can dwindle your energy levels, damage your sex drive, cause inflammation, and even erectile dysfunction.
Weight gain caused by poor food choices not only negatively affects your heart health but your self-esteem in the sexual arena as well.
Eating libido-beneficial foods such as whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies, and protein such as high-quality red meat, and salmon can be good for your sexual health.
Red wine and dark chocolates are also considered libido boosters due to the polyphenols they contain. You can also consume maca, which has been considered an aphrodisiac for centuries.
Several studies claim that maca has beneficial effects on sexual health. One study found that maca enhanced the sexual desire of men in a period of 8 and 12 weeks.
Some experts attribute the libido-enhancing effects of maca to its unique long-chain fatty acids known as macaenes and macamides.
If you want to improve your sex drive, one of the easiest ways to add maca to your diet is through its powdered form. This maca powder, for instance, can be enjoyed in your smoothies, milkshakes, baked goods, and even breakfast!
Aside from its sex-enhancing effects, it also offers other incredible benefits such as:
It helps to reduce fatigue and tiredness due to its vitamin B12 content
It promotes skin and eye health
It protects cells against oxidative damage
It contributes to the growth and maintenance of muscle mass
This maca powder is also gluten-free, organic, and can be added to your vegan diet. So, if you're looking to boost your sexual health, you can consider mixing this maca powder into your smoothies and other recipes!
Perform your Kegel exercises
Kegel exercises help to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, which support your bladder, rectum, small intestine, and uterus. Several factors such as age and pregnancy weaken the strength of these muscles over time.
Kegel exercises help to keep these muscles robust, reducing your risk of incontinence and promoting better and healthier sex.
Avoid treating sex as a chore
It’s challenging to squeeze in some sexy time in your often-exhausting schedules. But what’s worse is sex becoming another to-do task, which can happen if you start treating it like a chore.
Viewing sex as another tedious effort zaps out the passion from the act.
Research revealed that frequent sex doesn’t necessarily mean greater happiness. Some people viewed sex as a responsibility by doing it too much. Make time for sex, but keep it spontaneous.
Assess your medications
Do you suddenly lack interest in sex? Some medications like birth control pills, antidepressants, and even antihistamines can negatively affect your libido.
If you feel like your medications have anything to do with your reduced sex drive, ask your doctor about it. There may be other medical substitutes available without the disturbing side effects.
Keep work and financial issues out of the bedroom
Work-related and financial concerns may also hurt your libido. Keep a thriving sex drive by avoiding discussions about work and finances inside the bedroom. Instead, keep your focus on your partner especially when you’re initiating sex.
Sex is an essential aspect of any devoted relationship. It allows people to be intimate and sexually expressive. Having a thriving sex life can bring positive effects to your physical, emotional, and mental health.
Learning the benefits of sex will allow couples to understand that intercourse is more than just pleasure. It also helps to bind them together, and build a stronger sense of intimacy in a warm, loving relationship.
Whether it’s a long-term or a relatively new relationship, sex is an essential factor to consider when it comes to your overall health and wellness.