Sex And The Body

Making love isn’t just good for your relationship, it offers a myriad of benefits for your body, mind and soul, according to experts

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Making love isn’t just good for your relationship, it offers a myriad of benefits for your body, mind and soul, according to experts

It Makes You Look Younger

Forget lasers and injectables – good sex is a veritable fountain of youth. From a decade-long study, Australian neuropsychologist Dr David Weeks found that older men and women who engaged in active, regular sex looked between five and seven years younger than those who had sex less often.

The boost in circulation and the body’s release of endorphins and DHEA – the human growth hormone, which makes your skin more elastic – all play a role.

It Reduces Your Stress Levels

While you do build up a lot of tension during sex, experts point out that the release is better at calming you down than any drug available. “It has been proven that touch releases oxytocin, also known as the ‘love hormone’ and the ‘cuddle chemical,’ which showed reduced levels of alpha amylase, a stress indicator,” says Relationship Counsellor and Clinical Sexologist Dr Martha Tara Lee of Eros Coaching.

“Emotional and social support is key to both mental and physical health. When you receive acceptance, love and support from your partner expressed through touch, it certainly reduces stress, including alleviating premenstrual tension for many women,” she adds.

Add to that the fact that sex is a known tranquiliser. The endorphins and oxytocin released post orgasm make us feel calm and sleepy.

It Keeps You Fit

The key is you’ve got to do more than lie back and think of England. Active sex, where you’re switching positions, will work all your muscle groups, increase oxygenation in your blood and can burn up to 150 kcal in 30 minutes. Dr Lee says, “Our orgasms provide the gentle workout our body needs to stay healthy.”

It Boosts Your Immunity

Experts believe that the result of satisfying sex goes beyond the bedroom and is about meaningful interactions with one’s partner through the day. Aside from the feel-good factors emanating from sex, the increase in heart rate and blood flow have been proven to have cardiovascular benefits along with helping prevent type-2 diabetes, says Dr Lee.

“Studies have shown that men who ejaculate have a bigger number of leukocytes, the natural killer cells in our body. Ejaculation also increases levels of the hormone cortisol, which also has a positive effect on our health.”

It Improves Your Blood Pressure

A Scottish study revealed that committed couples who engage in regular sex also tend to have lower diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number on your blood pressure reading). Dr Lee says that both masturbation and sex help keep the blood flow to our genitals at healthy levels, aside from strengthening muscle tone in the pelvic and anal areas. “Both help prevent erectile dysfunction and incontinence in men, and less involuntary urine leakages and uterine prolapse problems in women.”

It Relieves Pain

“Not tonight, I have a headache,” isn’t just a poor excuse for no sex, it’s scientifically unsound, say experts as one tends to forget aches and pains when having sex due to the release of pain-blocking endorphins.

A study by the Headache Clinic at Southern Illinois University in the US backs this up: About half of a group of female migraine sufferers reported experiencing relief after orgasm. Another US study found women with arthritis developed a higher pain threshold via regular orgasms.