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Dating Mating Sex and Reproduction, science

Sex is Grrrrrrrrrreat!

After reviewing the last few posts I’ve made, it’s occurred to me that I’ve been harping an awful lot on the bad things involved with sex like overpopulation, AIDS, and getting sent to hell for performing abortions.  Today, I’m going to highlight some of the really good things about sex.

Actually, to be fair, I discovered yesterday that one of my regular readers (a young woman) was not aware that there are scientifically demonstrable benefits to having sex.  I was initially shocked, but then I remembered just how negatively sex is portrayed in our media.  Possibly due to the overbearing power of the religious right, we seldom see sex portrayed as a healthy part of a normal person’s life.  (Sex and the City pops into my head as a bright counterexample, but I’m hard pressed to think of another.)

Anyway, without further ado, here are some great reasons to have regular sex.*

  • It boosts our immune system.  One or two sessions of sexual intercourse per week raise the level of immunoglobin A by a third.  (It’s an immune boosting antibody.)
  • It relieves pain.  The endorphins and corticosteroids released during arousal and then in extra large doses at orgasm are natural analgesics, and have even been shown to reduce the pain of migraines.  (It’s true… a headache is actually a great reason to have sex!)
  • It facilitates regular menstrual cycles.
  • It helps prevent incontinence.  The floor muscles women use to stop the flow of urine are the same as those used to squeeze the penis during intercourse, and are the same ones that contract during orgasm.**  (As a side benefit, and contrary to popular lore, frequent sex makes the vagina stronger.  Forgive my colloquialism, but women, please do not let men tell you that a well used pussy is a loose pussy.  It’s the opposite.)
  • It can keep you alive longer.  Literally.  In a landmark study published in the 1997 British Medicine Journal, middle aged men who had frequent sex had no less than half the death rate of men who had infrequent sex.
  • Sex improves our sense of smell.  After sex, prolactin production increases.  Prolactin is a facilitator of the production of new neurons in the brain’s olfactory bulb.
  • Sex reduces the risk of heart disease.  Sex three or more times a week reduces the risk of heart attack or stroke by half.
  • Sex improves physical fitness and overall wellness.  This one’s easy.  It’s good exercise!
  • Sex reduces depression, particularly in women.
  • Regular sex promotes prostate health, and may well reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
  • Sex is stress relief.  People who have recently had sex respond better to stress-inducing situations, and think more clearly when presented with difficult and stressful problems to solve.
  • Sex boosts self esteem, in study after study after study.
  • Sex improves bonding.  Part of the evolutionary function of sex is to release the chemicals that bond us intimately to one another.  If nothing else, this by itself is a strong argument against prohibitions on premarital sex.  Sex facilitates sexual — and more importantly, emotional — bonding, and it’s kind of bizarre to think that we encourage people to become bonded without having sex.
  • Sex is a sleep aid.  (Yes, women.  I know.  Make your own joke about cuddling afterwards.)  It’s not just material for stand up comedians.  If you’re having trouble sleeping, sex is a great natural sleep aid.
  • I’ve saved this one for last because it’s possibly the most controversial, but here it is.  Seminal plasma is rich in zinc, calcium, and other minerals which are clearly shown to retard the process of tooth decay.  I don’t think I need to comment on the method of delivery, but for what it’s worth, guys, you’re welcome to give this a shot… um… hmm… Ok.  I better quit.

Anyway, sex is really good for you.  This is not a comprehensive list of all the benefits, but it’s a pretty representative one.  What I haven’t spent a lot of time on is sex’s contribution to general mental health.  The thing is, the benefits are pretty much across the board.  That is, people who have a healthy and happy sex life are genuinely happier, stress free, and content than those who do not.

Another interesting point, particularly for a lot of Christians to note, is that there is no indication that one needs to be married to receive these benefits.  In some studies, there has been a marked increase in certain benefits among monogamous married couples, particularly with regard to mental health benefits.  Researchers are quick to point out that this is not due to the institution of marriage itself, but the long term benefit of repeated sexual bonding with one person.   Long term non-married couples receive the same benefits.  (I should mention that there is little research on polygamous or polyamorous couples in America, but again, there are indications that the same would hold true for them, and there’s no particular reason to suspect it wouldn’t.  No scientific reason, anyway.)

Whatever someone might say about abstaining from sex for moral reasons, one has to concede that abstinence is literally bad for your health.  I would caution reactionary religious readers against assuming that I am advocating frequent unsafe sex, or finding someone to have sex with just for the health benefits.  On the contrary, I am presenting evidence that if there is no compelling reason not to have sex, there are a lot of good reasons to go ahead and do it.  Risks should always be considered if one wants to avoid STDs or any of the other nasty stuff that we always hear about, but frankly, I for one am tired of just hearing how bad sex is.

So… anyway… happy screwing, folks!

* “Regular” sex is at least once per week, except where otherwise noted.

** I’m referring to heterosexual health here primarily because these studies have been done with heterosexual couples.  There is considerable evidence to suggest that the same results would apply to homosexual couples, but I don’t wish to overstep my bounds by claiming that the results are clear.  (Some effects, like regulation of the menstrual cycle, have been demonstrated conclusively in lesbian couples.)



7 thoughts on “Sex is Grrrrrrrrrreat!

  1. Seems to me that many of these should also be valid for single person sexual situations (hopefully).

    Posted by KaylaKaze | March 24, 2009, 7:43 pm
  2. Seems to me that many of these should also be valid for single person sexual situations (hopefully).
    Sorry, forgot to add great post! Can’t wait to see your next post!

    Posted by KaylaKaze | March 25, 2009, 8:25 am
  3. Basically, if the health benefit comes from ejaculation or orgasm, and is physical, yeah, we’d expect some correlation, but the psychological benefits seem to be more or less derived from intimacy with someone else during sex.

    My best guess is that if we separated masturbation from intercourse and studied the physical health benefits, there would be a marked increase for frequent masturbation, but not as much as someone who had regular sex — if for no other reason, most people put more physical effort into sex.

    Posted by hambydammit | March 25, 2009, 4:38 pm
  4. I have followed your posts for a long time and must tell you that your articles are always valuable to readers. My Wife and I really enjoy your writings 🙂 .

    Posted by B . MADDOX | June 13, 2009, 7:04 am


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