Sex may give a boost to certain aspects of people’s well-being and physical health, some research suggests. However, several studies on the subject are now outdated, and not all potential benefits apply to everyone.
According to certain research, engaging in sexual activity may have positive effects on certain aspects of individuals’ well-being and physical health. However, it’s important to note that some of the studies on this topic are outdated, and not all potential benefits apply universally.
Scientific investigations have shed light on various potential advantages of sexual intercourse beyond procreation. These benefits encompass potential improvements in cardiovascular health, blood pressure reduction, and enhanced immune function.
Moreover, engaging in sex can contribute to an uplifted mood, strengthened relationships, and enhanced mental well-being.
This article delves into the potential health benefits associated with sex, emphasizing relevant research primarily focused on the physical aspects rather than the emotional ones.
Helping Heart Health
Engaging in sexual activity with a regular partner appears to offer a protective effect on cardiovascular health, particularly in women.
A study conducted in 2016 examined the potential health advantages of sexual activity within a committed relationship. The findings of this research revealed that women who are sexually active have a reduced risk of experiencing cardiac events later in life.
However, it’s important to note that the same study concluded that high levels of sexual activity could potentially increase the risk of cardiovascular events in men. This conclusion contradicts earlier research findings, underscoring the need for further studies to verify this risk.
Individuals, both male and female, who have existing heart conditions should consult with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate level of sexual activity that is safe for them. It is also crucial for them to discuss the frequency and intensity of their sexual encounters as these factors may impact the potential strain on the heart.
Reducing Blood Pressure
The aforementioned 2016 study also investigated the relationship between blood pressure and sexual satisfaction as an indicator of heart health. The researchers discovered that older women who expressed contentment with their sex lives were less likely to have high blood pressure.
However, the study did not yield the same findings for older men.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), high blood pressure can impact both libido and a man’s ability to achieve and sustain an erection. Additionally, medications prescribed for high blood pressure can potentially reduce libido and cause erectile dysfunction.
Although this correlation does not confirm a direct benefit, it suggests a connection between blood pressure and sexual health.
Many individuals with high blood pressure, or hypertension, may have concerns regarding the safety of engaging in sexual activity. However, in most cases, it is generally safe for individuals with high blood pressure to have sex.
If medication for hypertension is causing sexual difficulties, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional who may consider prescribing an alternative medication or adjusting the dosage to alleviate the adverse effects.
Boosting the Immune System
Initial research indicated that regular sexual activity had a positive impact on the effectiveness of the immune system.
Researchers observed that individuals who engaged in frequent sexual activity, defined as one to two times per week, had higher levels of immunoglobulin A (IgA) in their system compared to others. IgA is an antibody present in mucosal tissues like salivary glands, nasal passages, and vaginal tissue.
However, it is important to note that this study was conducted in 2004, and subsequent replication of the research has not taken place. Therefore, the results might differ if a new study were conducted.
A more recent study focused on a small group of women to investigate potential differences in immune activity between sexually active individuals and those who were not. The study assessed the immune system’s ability to combat various infectious pathogens at different stages of the menstrual cycle.
While the findings suggest potential variations between the groups, the authors emphasize the need for further research before drawing any definitive conclusions.
Reducing Prostate Cancer Risk
A study conducted in 2004 explored the potential association between a high frequency of ejaculation and the risk of prostate cancer.
The study examined a sizable group of nearly 30,000 males, analyzing their ejaculation frequency at different stages of life. The researchers concluded that individuals who ejaculated more than 21 times per month had a lower risk of developing prostate cancer compared to those who ejaculated between 4 to 7 times per month.
In 2016, the researchers extended their study by following up with the participants for an additional 10 years. This follow-up investigation confirmed the initial findings, reaffirming that males who engaged in more frequent ejaculation had a reduced risk of prostate cancer compared to those with lower ejaculation frequency.
Engaging in sexual activity can act as a natural means of stress relief. In 2019, a study investigated the impact of intimacy with a partner on cortisol levels. Cortisol is a steroid hormone that circulates in the body as a response to stress.
The researchers discovered that expressions of intimacy, whether sexual or non-sexual, contributed to bringing cortisol levels back to a normal range in both males and females.
Sexual activity stimulates the release of oxytocin, endorphins, and other “feel-good” hormones, which may be responsible for the stress-reducing effect observed.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, sexual activity is believed to have hormonal benefits that can contribute to better sleep.
The hormones responsible for reducing stress and anxiety also play a role in promoting sleepiness. During sexual activity, the body releases oxytocin, dopamine, and endorphins, which are known to have a calming and pleasurable effect.
Following orgasm, another hormone called prolactin is released, which induces feelings of satisfaction and relaxation, further aiding in the promotion of sleep.
Although sex can bring pleasure and potential health benefits, it is crucial to recognize that engaging in unprotected sexual activity can pose risks to overall health.
Individuals who have sex without using contraceptives are at risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unplanned pregnancies. To mitigate these risks, it is advisable to use condoms or other contraceptive methods.
For individuals with multiple sexual partners, the risk can be reduced by limiting the number of individuals they engage in sexual contact with.
If sex becomes painful or causes bleeding, it is important to seek guidance from a healthcare professional.