Thanks to your dedicated years of research, you probably already have plenty of reasons to have sex—it’s fun, it’s a great way to connect with your partner, and, well, you’ve already watched that rerun of Frasier.
But did you know that sex also has plenty of health benefits? Actually, it’s kind of like a cure-all, Fountain of Youth, and pain-reliever all rolled into one. And you don’t need a partner to reap the benefits — there are plenty of reasons to practice the art of self-love.
Need a reason to jump in the sack? Here are seven:
It boosts your immune system.
Waaaay more fun than an apple a day! Having sex just once or twice a week has been linked to having higher levels of an antibody called immunoglobulin, which can increase your protection from colds and other infections by up to 30 percent.
It’s good for your heart.
…And not just the part of your heart that makes up adorable nicknames for each other. A study that spanned 20 years found that men who had sex two or more times per week were half as likely to have a fatal heart attack compared to men who had sex less than once a month. For women, sex increases levels of estrogen, which protects against heart disease.
It strengthens some important muscles.
Ever pee a little when you laugh? Blame weak pelvic floor muscles and then hop in the sack. Sex can tone those muscles that support your uterus, bladder, and bowel. It’s like doing Kegels with a partner!
The “glow” is real!
That gorgeous post-sex glow? Turns out we’re not just imagining it. There’s a hormone called dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA for short) that shows increased levels during sexual excitement…and it also does everything from improving cognition to keeping skin healthy and repairing tissue. Who needs concealer?
It might cure your headache.
Some people who suffer from migraines and cluster headaches have found that the endorphin release that comes after an orgasm offers some relief from their debilitating headaches.
It’s a calorie-burner.
Don’t cancel your gym membership just yet…but sex can be a great exercise option once it gets too late to go for a bike ride. An average half-hour session can burn between 75 and 150 calories, comparable to an easy yoga session or a walk. Arousal and orgasm also releases testosterone in your body, a hormone that, among other things, helps the body maintain lean muscle tissue.
It helps you sleep.
We’ve all been kept awake worrying about work and our endless to-do lists. Next time you can’t sleep, try having sex—orgasms release oxytocin, one of the brain’s stress-relieving chemicals. Sex also involved muscle contractions and movement that deplete the body of energy, allowing it to be flooded with those feel-good, soothing hormones.