My dear hubby decided to purchase a copy of the Wall Street Journal this week – something he usually does not do. He even brought it home to share with me! WOW! How sweet. What sparked his purchase and lovely sharing? Why “The Joy of Researching the Health Benefits of Sex” article, of course (WSJ, Tues. May 3rd, D1). LOL. The media truly has it right, sex sells.
So, my hubby came home and said, “I found the perfect article for your blog!” I’m imagining something along the lines of how to lose 20 pounds in a week, or how to eat lots of foods with bad fat and sugar and still stay thin, or maybe even how to have a body builder’s body w/o working out. But, no, it’s even better (in his mind) – “The Joy of Researching the Health Benefits of Sex.” Of course, I had to read it.
To recap this stimulating article – some small studies suggest that sex is as good for you as vitamin D and broccoli. It relieves stress, improves sleep, burns calories, and can also reduce pain, ease depression, strengthen blood vessels, boost the immune system, and lower the risk for prostate and breast cancer. However, more research is really needed to evaluate these claims. The problem is the lack of funding. According to Irwin Goldstein a urologist and editor in chief of the Journal of Sexual Medicine, “If ‘sex’ is in your grant proposal, it’s very hard to get in approved,” and thus no funding.
But researchers do know some physiological benefits of sex. There is a rush of hormones and neurotransmitters which ultimately boost dopamine (which activates the brain’s center of craving and reward); and there is an increase in oxytocin (which stimulates endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers. After sex, dopamine levels plummet and prolactin levels rise which may ultimately result in the feelings of satisfaction and sleepiness (so you cannot really take offense when your mate immediately turns over and passes out asleep).
Sex also increases heart rate and blood pressure to the tune of about walking up a flight or two of stairs (about 125 beats/minute and 160 peak systolic rate). There was a British study that found that men who reported having 3/more orgasms/week experienced 50% fewer heart attacks than those who engaged less frequently. Why was that? May be that male orgasms trigger the release of DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) which helps with circulation and arterial dilation.
There are even a few studies that suggest having more sex may extend life in general!
So, to all my blog followers – get busy! And you may just find that you are in better health.