15 Important Ways Sex Helps With Mind and Body
Sex is awesome. While I don't get as much as I'd like, there are quite a few benefits to your mind and body.
We all know that sex improves our moods, but did you know that it could actually sharpen our memories? A study that was published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior showed that people over 50 could boost their short-term memory by engaging in an active sex life.
Related - Sexercise: Does Sex Count as Cardio?
In 2012, 6,016 men and women completed a memory test and questionnaire regarding their health, diet, sex lives, and their emotional connection with their partners.
In 2014, the process was repeated. The researchers from the University of Wollongong in Australia compared the results.
Unfortunately, overall, memories declined over a two-year period. The people who did have more sex felt a stronger emotional bond with their partners during intercourse and also scored higher on memory tests. The researchers noted that it was short-term memory that was boosted - not long-term.
Luckily, there are studies that suggest exercise can help boost long-term memory.
A 2016 study was conducted by a team from Canada's McGill University that concurred with other studies stating that those who have more sex have better memories.
There's a strong correlation between sex and the growth of the hippocampus.
While the hippocampus sounds like a cool place to go to school, this part of your brain controls your emotions, memory, and nervous system. The hippocampus looks like a seahorse and is a major component of our brains.
We actually have two hippocampus - one on each side of our brain. It's part of our limbic system and plays a huge role in the consolidation of information in short-term memory, long-term memory, and spatial memory.
In Alzheimer's disease, the hippocampus is one of the first regions of the brain that suffers damage. Short-term memory loss and poor disorientation are among the early symptoms.
I've been dealing with my mother being sick, ultimately developing Alzheimer's and after researching the hippocampus, this is no doubt what happens.
15 Benefits of Engaging in Sex
Aside from being a fun activity, there are many benefits of sex that you may not know.
#1 - Sex Is like a Drug
Sex makes us feel great. That's why we spend so much time finding another mate.
The pleasure we get is due to the release of dopamine - a neurotransmitter that activates your "reward center" part of your brain. Dopamine is the chemical that's responsible for people who get high on certain drugs; they involve the same parts of the brain.
Caffeine, nicotine, and chocolate also tickle our reward center... It's why they are all addictive.
#2 - It's Also like an Antidepressant
In 2002, a study came out of the University at Albany that took a look at 300 women.
They found that those who had sex without a condom had fewer depressive symptoms than those who did use a condom.
The researchers hypothesized that various compounds that are found in semen - estrogen, and prostaglandin - both have antidepressant properties. I don't advise playing the field without a helmet - but go for it if you're in a committed relationship.
#3 - Sex Can Also Be a Downer
There actually is a thing called "post-sex blues."
The technical term is postcoital dysphoria. Roughly one-third of the women participating in a study reported having experienced sadness after sex at some point in time.
Researchers can't explain the connection currently, but the possible feeling of regret or other feelings may spur it.
#4 - Sex Helps Relieve Pain
A 2005 study from the University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands used a positron emission tomography scan to monitor cerebral blood flow of male participants while their genitals were being stimulated by their female partners.
The scans demonstrated that the stimulation increased blood flow to the posterior insula and the secondary somatosensory cortex in the right hemisphere of the brain. The right amygdala had a decreased blood flow.
The insula is part of the brain that is tied to processing emotions and sensations of pain and warmth. The secondary somatosensory cortex plays an important role in encoding sensations of pain.
#5 - You Will Have Better Memory
Touching on the topic of memory again, a 2010 study compared rats who were allowed to have only one one-night stand and rodents who engaged in "chronic" sex - once a day for 14 consecutive days.
The rats grew more neurons in the hippocampus.
#6 - Sex Will Calm You Down
That same study also linked frequent sex to boosting the brain in those rats.
They were also less stressed.
Another study found that people who had regular sexual intercourse had a better response to stressful situations than those who did not engage in sex.
The sex eases stress by releasing feel-good chemicals and lowering your blood pressure.
#7 - Having Sex Will Make You Sleepy
Aside from the energy expenditure, when we have an orgasm, the prefrontal cortex starts to wind down.
This, along with the release of oxytocin and serotonin can cause us to have a "sex coma."
#8 - Your Immunity Will Be Improved
People who have sex at least one or two times per week have higher levels of immunoglobulin A. This is your body's first line of defense.
It fights off invading organisms and helps reduce or even eliminate the need for your body's immune system to activate.
#9 - It's Good for Your Heart
A study has shown that men who made love regularly - at least twice per week - were 45 percent less likely to develop heart disease than those who had sex once per month or less.
Sex is like cardio and it also helps your estrogen and testosterone hormones to stay balanced.
#10 - Your Blood Pressure Is Lower
Sex will lower your blood pressure and improve your stress response.
#11 - It Really Is Exercise
Sex burns calories, uses muscles, and improves mobility.
Research recently revealed that sex burns about 4 calories per minute in men - 3 in women. This can improve your balance, flexibility, and keep your heart healthy.
#12 - It Can Help Reduce the Risk of Prostate Cancer
Research shows that men who ejaculate at least 21 times per month have a lower risk of prostate cancer - through sex or masturbation.
Sure, you'll probably go blind, but with a little bit of hands-on elbow grease, you can reduce your risk of prostate cancer.
#13 - Your Libido Will Be Boosted
There are a mental connection and physical connection with sex, especially for women.
In women, more frequent sex helps increase vaginal lubrication, blood flow, and elasticity. This is a win for everyone. Get busy.
#14 - Women Will Experience Improved Bladder Control
Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles is important to both men and women.
In women particularly, this improves bladder control and helps you avoid incontinence. Practicing Kegel exercises helps build a stronger pelvic floor.
It also will feel great for your man.
#15 - Your Intimacy and Relationship Will Improve
Having sex and sharing an orgasm with a partner increases levels of the hormone oxytocin. This is the "love" hormone.
You'll feel more bonded to your partner and your empathic connection will grow.
Wrapping It Up
Having sex is great for us - just be safe.