Sex isn't just about intimacy and pleasure, it can actually help you in ways that you might not even be aware of, like improving bladder control and curing hiccups. So go ahead and have more sex, it could cure you of all sorts of ailments and even make you look younger. Here's a list of reasons why, if you need an excuse:
Not tonight dear, I've got a headache. The last thing you might feel like when suffering from a migraine is sex, yet studies show you might actually feel better afterwards. In fact, sex relieves migraines better than painkillers, according to findings published in the journal Cephalalgia. A study conducted at the University of Munster in Germany found that 60 percent of migraine sufferers and a third of patients with cluster headaches got relief, or prevented an attack from progressing, after sex. Researchers believe that the release of endorphins during sex acts as a natural painkiller.
2. Looking younger
Forget Botox, having sex is the secret to looking visibly younger, up to 10 years younger to be precise. During sex you release a human growth hormone (HGH) which is made by the pituitary gland. This is responsible for making your skin more elastic. According to a neuropsychologist from the Royal Edinburgh hospital who conducted a study on sex and aging, those who enjoyed a healthy sex life were estimated to be up to 10 years younger than their actual age. They were having sex an average of three times a week.
3. Weight loss
It might not come as a surprise that sex can burn off a few calories, but did you know that different positions can burn up more calories than others? According to a Canadian study on average sex uses up about 101 calories for men and 69 for women (that's sadly only about an apple.) Some positions can burn off more calories than others, up to 300 calories (that's a few more apples.) Superdrug devised a handy "sexercise" tool to calculate how many calories you could potentially burn off and what positions to use.
4. More sex = less sick days
Believe it or not sex can help prevent the common cold by boosting your immune system. Having sex raises immunoglobulin and antibodies that fight off, not only colds, but other germs and viruses.
5. Prostate cancer
The more sex, the lower the risk of prostate cancer. Doctors actually recommend it. In short, ejaculating rids the prostate of harmful toxins and cuts the amount of inflammation in the body. In a Harvard study of over 29,000 men between the ages of 46 and 81 those who ejaculated 21 or more times a month had a 33 percent lower risk of developing prostate cancer.
The big O is really good for your mental wellbeing too and can be just the tonic if you've had a stressful day. An orgasm releases oxytocin (the love hormone), endorphins, which lower stress levels and serotonin, which regulates mood and acts as a natural anti-depressant into your brain.
If you find it difficult to fall asleep at night then try having sex. When you have sex the body releases neuropeptides called endorphins as well as oxytocin. These inhibit the release of the stress inducing hormone cortisol. In short, sex leaves your body feeling more relaxed and ready for a more natural and deeper sleep. In women oestrogen levels increase after sex which improves the important REM cycle for better quality sleep. Men release prolactin which results in fatigue. The combination of exertion and the depletion of energy leaves them sleepy.
Spasms of the diaphragm muscle are not harmful to your health but they certainly can be annoying. There are a multitude of home remedies that can cure hiccups, from holding your breath, to standing on your head drinking a glass of water. As it transpires an orgasm might be a much better alternative. An orgasm causes stimulation of the vagus nerve (the longest cranial nerve) running from the neck and thorax to the abdomen. Stimulating this nerve is believed to stop the hiccup spasms.
9. Helps bring on labour
Not just an old wives' tale, there is some biological truth behind sex inducing labour and some women swear by it. Having an orgasm can stimulate the uterus helping to bring about labour. It also triggers oxytocin which may cause contractions to begin. Semen can also help ripen the cervix ready for childbirth. Either way, if you're more than 40 weeks pregnant it's worth giving it a go.
10. Heart health
Sex is good for the heart. Not only does it lower blood pressure and reduces stress it's a bit of a work out too. In a study by the New England Research Institute they found that men who had sex at least twice a week were 45 percent less likely to develop heart problems.
11. Brain health
Sex might not make you brainier, but it can lead to a healthier brain. Sex assists in creating new neurons in the brain, improving cognitive function and leading to clearer thinking. Sex also causes cell growth in the hippocampus, the area of the brain linked to long-term memory, possibly helping prevent memory loss and dementia. When a woman orgasms 30 areas of the brain are stimulated, increasing the blood flow of oxygen and nutrients to the brain.
Sex is obviously good for making babies, but did you know that more sex can increase your chance of conceiving? Sex helps regulate both men AND women's hormones, increasing fertility chances. Sex helps balance women's hormones needed for reproduction and helps maintain healthy sperm for men.
13. Improves bladder control
Kegel exercises are recommended for all women to help improve pelvic muscles. Having sex and orgasms actually help strengthen your bladder control by exercising the pelvic muscles.
14. Increases libido
The more you have, the more you want. For women, that is. Without the levels of the hormone testosterone (which gives men their sex drive) women can often have lower libidos. Women's libidos go through a 28-day cycle, whereas men's hormone levels fluctuate throughout the day. Increasing the amount of sex you have may make your body desire more, especially craving the highs brought on by the release of oxytocin (not unlike starting an exercise regime where your body starts to need the rush of endorphins.)
15. Heightened sense of smell
Lastly, and possibly the oddest thing sex can help you with is your sense of smell. The hormone prolactin increases after sex causing new stem cells to develop in the brain's olfactory bulb, the area of the brain associated with the sense of smell. A study published in the journal Biological Psychology found that prolactin levels were 400 percent greater after sex.