(Daily Mail) Enjoyable, regular sex has so many physical and psychological health benefits, it’s (almost) as important to our health as sleeping and eating well.
Take it off the agenda and you could put your health at risk.
Happily, if you don’t have a partner or they aren’t interested in having sex, there’s a simple solution. Have sex with yourself: masturbating to orgasm will reap many of the rewards.
Otherwise, stop having sex at your peril.
You might well find…
Taking regular sex off the agenda could put your health at risk as well as undermining your relationship, warns Tracey Cox
Your sex organs (and bladder) won’t function as well
Orgasm causes your pelvic floor to contract, strengthening the muscles with highly beneficial consequences.
Strong pelvic floor muscles make for intense orgasmic contractions which feel more pleasurable. They also improve bladder function and reduce leakage and incontinence. (Incontinence affects around 30 per cent of women at some point in their lives.)
A weak pelvic floor doesn’t just make orgasm feel less enjoyable, it affects your ability to have them. The contractions become weaker the less you use the muscles.
Regular sex also helps to keep your vagina tight. Stop having it and the vaginal tissue becomes thinner and more prone to tearing.
If that’s not convincing you, try this: The clitoris is one of the most sensitive areas of the human body. Starve it of sexual stimulation, however, and it temporarily shrinks and loses sensation. It’s called clitoral atrophy, it’scaused by a lack of blood flow and it’s not something you want to happen to you.
Sex is a natural painkiller as well: endorphins can help alleviate menstrual cramps and headaches.
Your heart health suffers
Sex increases heart rate and blood flow, contributing to overall heart health. A much-cited study found men who have sex twice a week have a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease than those who have it less than that.
Sex burns calories as well: up to 150 to 200 calories per hour. Don’t scoff – that’s comparable to walking, swimming laps and downhill skiing.
Another study reported that people who have regular sex have lower blood pressure than those who don’t.
You’ll feel more stressed
Stress impacts our sex life in two ways. When we’re under stress, our desire for sex falls. But when we have it, our stress levels fall.
Sex relieves anxiety and stress by triggering ‘feel good’ hormones like oxytocin and dopamine. These relax our body, boost bonding and lift our mood. Sex also decreases levels of cortisol and adrenaline (stress hormones). Add a healthy dose of happiness-inducing endorphins and you start to see why sex feels so good in our brain.
It also provides a positive distraction: a 2021 study found people who had active sex lives during the pandemic had significantly lower scores on anxiety and depression.
Your sleep quality will fall
Forget sleeping pills – having an orgasm will work just as well to improve the quality of your sleep (without the toxic side-effects).
It’s those helpful hormones again: endorphins, oxytocin and prolactin all surge after orgasm, making you fall asleep faster and increasing time spent in better sleep cycles (like REM sleep).
You’ll catch more colds
Chuck out the Vitamin C and throw your partner on the bed instead: people who have regular sex have stronger immune systems.
A US study found people who have sex once or twice a week have higher levels of immunoglobulin, an antibody that plays a crucial role in immune function. Immunoglobulin is what defends your body against germs, viruses and other intruders.
There’s proof that sexually active people take fewer sick days.
Tracey Cox says that weekly sex means you’re likely to be satisfied in your relationship and have better communication with your partner