The Health Benefits of a Healthy Sex Life
Jul 13th, 2012 | By Sarah R. | Category: DIY Health Treatments, Health | Print This Article
Back when I was in school, part of the health education class was a brief section on sex education. I went to a parochial school, and it was, as I’m sure you can imagine, pretty clinical. Controversy aside these days, it was part of the curriculum in the 1970s and 1980s when I was in school, and to be honest, there was more time spent giggling than there was learning much of anything. Given that I went to a parochial school, the nuns weren’t about to teach us about something they knew absolutely nothing about. Although they could have covered the part about menstruation and the primary and secondary sexual characteristics from the female perspective, beyond that – putting it politely – they were in over their heads. As a result, the school brought in this woman named Ms. Miller to teach the class. She took what could have been an otherwise fascinating topic taught to adolescents at a time when hormones were raging and turned it into something so boring, we may as well have been talking about single-celled organisms. I wish I could tell you that I learned a lot from that class. I didn’t. As a result, when I sat down to write this article, I was quite surprised to learn some of what I did about sex.
Interestingly, despite having graduated from high school almost thirty years ago, the topic of sex still incites giggles among women, chest pounding among men, a few raised eyebrows from both sexes, and, of course, opinions and morality interjected into the conversation. As I have written articles about nearly every body function, it seems only fitting to write about sex. But I am not taking it in a direction that could possibly infuriate, embarrass, be controversial, or cross political or religious boundaries. That certainly isn’t my intention. We are grownups, and maybe you’re not as old as I am (or maybe you’re older), but if you are concerned with things like your health, how to prepare for anything, and how to hunt to feed your families, you aren’t under the age where I need consent from your parents to talk about this stuff.
So please, no giggling; no anticipation of what I am going to say next, and please don’t worry that my intention is to talk about anything other than sex for sex’s sake. Whatever beliefs you have about sex, its purpose and subsequent results can remain firmly intact. My only issue is your health. There are many reasons you should be having sex, and here are just a few of them.
Natural Immunity Booster
In this case, frequency may have as much to do with having sex and simply having sex. By having sex just once or twice a week, you can increase your levels of Immunoglobulin A (IgA for short). IgA is an antibody that helps decrease your odds of catching colds, minimizes sinus infections, and helps to cut down on allergies. If you catch every cold going around or have allergies that cause anything from a runny nose to sinus headaches, before you reach for your allergy medicine, maybe a fun romp in the bedroom is what you need instead.
For Your Heart’s Sake
Remembering that we have two hearts to be concerned with, sex actually helps both of them. Many couples report that after several years of marriage, a couple of kids, stress at work, and just the untold twists and turns life often brings that sex is one of the first things that goes out the window. It seems a natural reaction for many. It may be because they are too tired, stressed, worried, and/or sometimes bickering, but intimacy is one of the last things that couples engage in when times get tough. Of course it is the most important aspect of a healthy marriage.
Sex improves the emotional intimacy between two people who have seemingly drifted apart. Frequency of orgasms for both men and women increases oxytocin, which is the hormone responsible for bonding, building (even rebuilding) trust, and recapturing the love that got caught up in the stuff we all deal with on a day-to-day basis. And after sex, don’t get up and do chores or anything else. Lie there a while and hold each other. It really does heighten the experience and allow the bond you just shared to linger.
As if it weren’t enough to strengthen your “heart,” sex may actually improve your cardiovascular function. Of course many people cling to the image of the older man in bed enjoying himself and then suddenly suffering a heart attack, and it’s difficult to shake these things from our psyche. It doesn’t help when headlines such as, “sexual activity nearly triples risk of having a heart attack,” which, if you don’t read any further, can scare you. The fact is, the numbers have gone from 1 in 1 million men to 3 in 1 million men, which is indeed triple. However as you can see, you have a far greater chance of having a heart attack from smoking, not exercising, and eating artery-clogging foods than you will from having sex.
Got Pain? Have Sex!
I am no different from most people. I get migraines and sinus headaches, and as I get older, my joints pop and my muscles ache – especially as I wake up. And like most people, I want the pain to stop as quickly as possible. Long before I read that having sex elevates levels of oxytocin (yes, that same hormone that helps build trust and restores bonds), which in turn releases endorphins that reduce pain, I was able to prove this in a very non-scientific study. I was having a killer migraine—the kind that if I didn’t catch it immediately would most assuredly ruin my day and render me completely unproductive for several hours. My husband, in his eagerness to do his part for humanity, suggested that if my prescription pain medication wasn’t doing the trick that I could join him in the bedroom. Well, I was skeptical, but I figured that it couldn’t be worse than where I was. Who needs to cite myriad university studies when you can test these things out in the privacy of your own bedroom? Not needing to spend millions of dollars on research, I can report that sex reduces joint pain and eliminates headaches (even nasty migraines).
Sex Will Help You Sleep Better and Reduce Stress
Ever fall asleep after having sex? Here comes good old oxytocin again stirring stuff up in your body. This is a pretty powerful hormone because it also is to “blame” for why immediately following sex, your husband falls asleep. Instead of getting mad, just go to sleep with him. If you are having trouble falling asleep, sex before bed can help that. It reduces your inhibitions, shuts out the noise from the day, and promotes drowsiness. I don’t think any of us needs any studies to prove that sleep is necessary. Whether you are a strict adherer to no fewer than eight hours of sleep or you can function on six or seven, sleep is as important to our bodies as eating, drinking water, and exercising.
There are very few people who do not experience stress from time to time. Just because many of us have removed ourselves from the pressures of working for corporate America doesn’t mean we are immune to stress. The pressures living off the grid are different, and, of course, many of the familial ones remain. It is so easy to get caught up in stress, and it takes a toll on our bodies and minds. Rather than react to stress by losing your cool and yelling at your spouse, your kids, or whatever you it is you typically do when you’re stressed, instead grab your spouse and spontaneously have sex! Okay, it’s not always convenient to do this, I realize, so it’s much easier said than done, but I hope you get the idea of what I am saying. Channel your energy elsewhere and stop focusing on the big ugly green, red (or whatever color your stress is) blob and try a different strategy. If it doesn’t work, as Bart Simpson says, “I’ll eat my shorts!”
I hope I haven’t embarrassed anyone too much with this article. We are all adults and whatever your spiritual beliefs are, I assure you that God approves of a healthy sex life. Sex isn’t dirty, and it’s a very natural response to want to feel desirable and desire someone in return. In fact, sex does improve one’s self esteem. Whether you are consciously aware of this fact or not isn’t really relevant. No matter who we are, how we were raised, and what we look like, from the time we were little girls and boys we stood in front of the mirror with the hope of improving our appearance. Maybe in the beginning it was to be cute for mommy and daddy and the family dog, but eventually it is to be considered attractive and sexy to the opposite sex. Think of how you feel when go out for an evening with your spouse and he pays you an unsolicited compliment. It brightens your day, doesn’t it? It becomes cyclical after a while. A compliment ultimately turns into sex and sex in turn increases our endorphins and feelings of being in love.
Although it’s possible that I am wrong about all this, the fact that there are over 7 billion people on the planet tells me that I am on to something.
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