"MARRIAGE IS LIKE PUTTING YOUR HAND INTO A BAG OF SNAKES IN THE HOPE OF PULLING OUT AN EEL". Leonardo Da Vinci
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
6 ways sex makes you healthy
We all know sexfeelsgood, but does it also do our health
good? The answer is a big, loud, bed-shaking, "Yeah, baby!"
"Your sexual health is a reflection of your overall health," says Ian
Kerner, a New York City-based sex counsellor and author ofShe Comes First.
Researchers delving into the science of sex
have found that getting down does everything from improve self-esteem to lower
the risk of certain diseases. Conversely, if youdon'thave much of a libido, it can mean
there's a problem (contact www.gooddeedsmall.com
). "If you're not feeling sexual, that's usually an indication that
something else is going on in your life," says Kerner. "You could be
depressed, out of shape, you might not be eating right, you might be stressed
out." Identifying and addressing those issues is essential, says Kerner,
because our sexual experience ripples into virtually every aspect of our lives.
Sexual activity offers some of these
off-the-charts benefits, not available in pill form:
It Might Help Your Heart
Yep, a strong erection equals a strong heart.
According to a 2008 study published in the Journal of the American College of
Cardiology, erectile dysfunction(ED)
is clearly linked to poor cardiovascular health. Researchers studied 2,300 men
and found that subjects with ED had a 58 percent higher risk of coronary heart
disease. Though there are other causes of ED, if you find your… um,
"friend" flagging, guys, get to your doc post-haste and you could
potentially save your heart.
May Decrease Your Risk Of Prostate Cancer
A 2004 study published in the Journal of the
American Medical Association found that of 29,000 male subjects, those who had
21 ejaculations a month (whether with a partner or, um, alone) were
significantlyless likely to get prostate cancer later in life than
those who had only four to seven a month.
It Can Help Your Job
Anthropologist Helen Fisher found that
regular sex improves problem-solving skills, heightens creativity and fosters
better cooperation (among other things) by releasing dopamine and oxytocin --
aka the happy-making chemicals in the brain.
It Makes You Look Younger
That afterglow is no illusion: One study out
ofScotlandkept tabs on 3,500 European and
American women and men who looked young for their age (seven to 12 years
younger than they actually were). After tracking these lucky people for 10
years, researchers found that the number-one factor they had in common was
regular exercise. The number-two factor? Yep: a healthy, active sex life. In fact,
most of the study participants had sex two to three times a week, all in the
context of a committed relationship. (Word to your mother -- and anyone else in
the "sex should be meaningful" camp: Casual sex had no such beauty
It Eases Stress
Right before orgasm, women often go into
"a trancelike state," says Kerner, activating parts of the brain that
greatly help with stress-relief. That's why he recommends regularly indulging
in "comfort sex," the kind of nookie that happens in the same place,
at the same time, using the same position. It may not be enthralling, but it
can help women quickly go into a deeplyrelaxed state.
Wakes Up The Brain
Just as important as comfort sex, says
Kerner, are regular doses of the kind of sex that stimulates the imagination
with fantasy and excitement. "Sexual arousal is a combination of
physiological and psychological arousal," Kerner says. "We often lose
the mental component that's all about stimulating the imagination and the
mind." He also emphasizes the benefits of corralling all the "sensual
pathways to sex -- sight, sound, touch, taste, smell." So he encourages
not only regular sex -- once a week, at least -- but also a sex life that
includes it all: comfort, adventure and all the senses.
The pro-sex studies seem practically endless:
Sex improvessleep, happiness, Kegel
strength -- just about anything you can think of. So if you're in a sexual rut,
do what you need to do to get out of it. "Walk around for half an hour and
[view] the world as a sexual being," suggests Kerner. "Appreciate
sexy people, smells, all of it."
If you haven't been feeling sexual
lately, figure out why. See your doc if you suspect the cause might be medical.
Otherwise, address it by going to the gym, getting a new outfit, whatever.
"When they start having healthy, connected sex, it's amazing how people's
lives brighten up," says Kerner. "They become inspired to lose weight
and take care of themselves, they feel loved, more satisfied, and they're less
likely to be distracted by workplace irritations. Having a healthy sex life
contributes to your health in so many ways."