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Health Benefits of Sex

Good sexual health is part of good overall health. That’s a fact we consider often here at But have you ever wondered just how having sex is good for your health?

Here are just some of the benefits:

Sex can be a great stress reliever. Human and animal studies have shown that having more sex can reduce blood pressure, improve stress responses, and reduce anxiety.

Sex can burn calories. Have you ever thought of sex as exercise? Depending on how intense you are, you could burn between 85 and 250 calories during a half hour of sex. Certain activities tend to burn more calories than others, such as dancing with your partner or trying more strenuous positions.

Sex might keep the common cold away. In a study of 112 college students, researchers from Wilkes College in Pennsylvania found that those who had “frequent” sex (once or twice a week) had higher levels of immunoglobulin A (IgA) in their saliva. IgA is a type of antibody that helps boost your immune system. (Interestingly, the students who had sex more than once or twice a week did not see the same results.)

Sex can help you bond emotionally with your partner. When you have an orgasm, your brain produces more oxytocin, “the love hormone.” For many people (but not all), oxytocin promotes a feeling of bonding, closeness, and intimacy. Oxytocin also relieves stress for some people. And you don’t necessarily have to have an orgasm to reap the benefit. A simple touch or hug can spur oxytocin production. Oxytocin has also been associated with pain relief and better sleep.

Sex can be good for your heart. In January 2010, a study in the American Journal of Cardiology reported on the relationship between sex and heart disease. They found that men who had sex once a month or less ran a higher risk of heart disease when compared to those who had sex two or three times a week. Since sex is like exercise, your heart rate increases and your blood flows faster.

Keep in mind that while sex is considered safe for most heart patients, you should see your doctor if you have any concerns about sex and your heart.

Sex might boost your self-esteem. Researchers from the University of Texas at Austin asked 450 people to give the reasons they (or people they knew) had sex. Then, the scientists asked 1,500 undergraduate students how those reasons applied to their lives. Some of them reported that sex made them feel better about themselves because their partner desired them or made them feel sexy.

For men, regular sex might lower prostate cancer risk. According to research presented at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association in 2015, frequent ejaculation could lower a man’s risk for prostate cancer. In a study of almost 32,000 men, prostate cancer risk dropped by about 20% for men who ejaculated at least 21 times each month compared to men who ejaculated 4 to 7 times each month.

Sex might relieve headaches. If you can’t imagine having sex during a headache, you may want to think again. A 2013 study in Cephalalgia found that for some people who suffer from migraines or cluster headaches, sex relieved headache pain. (Note that some headache patients reported that sex worsened their pain, so you may need to experiment.)

Sex might help you sleep better. Many people find that sex is good for insomnia. When you have an orgasm, your body releases prolactin, a hormone that can make you feel drowsy. For women, orgasm increases estrogen production, which promotes deeper sleep. And proper rest can make sex even better for both women and men.

These are all great reasons to have sex. But did you know that the reverse is also true? Taking good care of your health can lead to better sex.

For example, keeping diabetes under control can help men have better erections. It can also help women with vaginal lubrication and libido.

Exercising regularly can also improve your sex life. Exercise keeps our body strong and flexible, giving us more energy for sexual activity. It can help relieve anxiety and depression, two conditions that can interfere with sexual desire. Exercise may also make us more confident by boosting our body image. And the endorphins released during exercise might make us aroused more quickly and enjoy sex more.

As we said above, good sexual health is part of good overall health. And good overall health can improve our sexual health. The two go hand in hand.

Can you think of other ways that sex improves your health? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.


Sexual Medicine Society of North America

“Diabetes and Women’s Sexual Health”

“Diabetes – Erectile Dysfunction”

“Sex and Burning Calories”

“Sex and Cardiovascular Health”

“Sex and Intimacy”

“Sex and Self-Esteem”

“Sex and Stress”

“Sex Boosts Immunity”

“Sexual Activity Safe for Majority of Heart Patients”


Doheny, Kathleen

“10 Surprising Health Benefits of Sex”

(Reviewed: November 26, 2012)

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