It’s a well-known fact that most men don’t need more reasons to have sex, but how many guys actually stop to think about the fact that sex could play a key role in their overall health and well-being? Regular sexual activity is more than recreational; good sexual health is vital to a man’s overall physical, psychological and emotional health. Sex can potentially benefit everything from a man’s short-term mood, to longer-term issues like cardiovascular health and the reduced risk of prostate cancer.
In addition, sex is a cost-effective and enjoyable way to ensure your long-term health. It’s cheaper than a gym membership and a lot better for your waistline than a nightly six pack. With the average man being more mindful than ever about both his budget and his health, sex might be just what the doctor ordered.
Here are 10 reasons sex makes men healthier — so get busy tonight.
While sex alone may not be enough to create bulgingbiceps and washboard abs, intercourse definitely gets the blood pumping by raising the heart rate and burning calories. Estimates show that an average session between the sheets can burn 85 to upwards of 200 calories in 30 minutes. If you spent half an hour having sex daily, that could lead to a weight loss of 10 pounds or more over the course of a year. And it’s hopefully more fun than a run on the treadmill.
In addition to burning calories, sex aids in testosterone production, which can strengthen bones and muscles. Testosterone is also responsible for maintaining healthy energy levels, mood, fertility, and sexual desire. So having sex today could help keep your sex drive up down the road. Decreasing testosterone levels, known as andropause or male menopause, can result in a number of side effects including decreased libido, fatigue and depression, among others.
A number of studies show that men who ejaculate on a regular basis are more than 30% less likely to developprostate cancer. Regular ejaculation, whether from intercourse or masturbation, help flush out the prostate, which may help curb the development of prostate cancer.
Improved cardiovascular health
Because sex is a good form of exercise, it makes sense that it would positively impact the health of your heart. A study from Queens University shows that men who have sex more than three times a week cut their risk of heart attack and stroke in half. Sex has also been shown to lower blood pressure, which further accounts for the overall positive impact on cardiovascular health.
The decreased blood pressure that can result from sex could help lower your stress level. Various study participants have been shown to have a smaller rise in blood pressure during stressful situations after sex, as compared to other test subjects. Moreover, sex releases feel-good endorphins that can help lower anxiety. Who doesn’t want to forget about a tough day at the office with a good roll in the hay?
Boosting your immunity
Everyone is looking for ways to keep their immune system strong during this flu season — one that could potentially be the worst in years. What men may not realize is that regular intercourse increases levels of immunoglobulin A, an antibody known to boost the immune system. Having sex once or twice a week could help ward off colds or the flu.
Right before orgasm a number of endorphins are released and levels of the hormone oxytocin, sometimes referred to as the “love hormone,” surge to five times their normal level. Oxytocin has also been linked to an increased feeling of generosity, and is known to act as a neurotransmitter in the brain, building trust and helping to strengthen bonds.
In addition to bonding you with your partner, oxytocin, serotonin and other endorphins released during your sexual peak can help alleviate pain associated with common problems like headache or arthritis. Next time you’re suffering from neck pain or a stress headache, try forgoing the Advil and hopping in the sack instead.
Oxytocin may sound like the new wonder drug when you consider that research has also shown that the increased levels of the hormone, along with the antidepressant chemical serotonin (which is also released during orgasm) promote deep sleep. Getting a restful night of sleep has been associated with a number of other health benefits, such as maintaining a healthy weight and lowering blood pressure.
Long-term reproductive health
Just as men need regular physical activity to stay healthy and fit, exercising the penis, by achieving erections, is key to maintaining a healthy sex life for years to come. Men who don’t regularly engage in sexual activity or masturbation are at a greater risk for penile atrophy down the road. Just as they should aim for a full-body workout three times a week, men should try to exercise the penis at least three times a week as a way to help ward off erectile dysfunction or other sexual health issues later in life.
While regular sexual activity is an important part of overall health and well-being in men, many men with health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and cancer find erectile dysfunction to be an upsetting side effect of their condition. If you’re one of the millions of men who suffer from ED as a side effect of a health condition, don’t lose hope. There are treatment options available that could help you restore sexual function so you can enjoy all the health benefits mentioned here.
Dr. Phil Nguyen, M.D., serves as a physician with Boston Medical Group, an independent physician network that specializes in men’s health issues, including erectile dysfunction (which is often related to larger health issues such as diabetes, hypertension and cancer).