Obviously there's its evolutionary purposes of making babies, but generally the way we think about it is a fun thing to do when we're in a relationship. (Or when you're not in a relationship, depending on your preferences.) But doing the deed can also be really good for our bodies and emotional health way beyond just being pleasurable in the moment.
Of course it has to be consensual and safe and all that good stuff for it to be healthy, but when that's all handled, there are some health benefits of doing the deed that might totally surprise you. Spoiler alert: your period is really going to thank you for reading this and taking note.
13 It Can Be A Workout
There are a lot of differing viewpoints when it comes to figuring out how many calories the average person burns during sex, but of course it also depends on how you're having sex. Whatever you're doing, you're going to be burning more calories than you would be if you were just sitting there, and any boost to the heart rate is great for the cardiovascular system. Plus, certain positions will work out different muscles in your body, which you might have realized if you've ever had weirdly sore abs or quads after being on top, in particular.
12 It Reduces Depression
Some studies done on rats have found that having sex each day over a two week period actually increased cell growth in the hippocampus area of the brain. That is the area of the brain that keeps our stress levels at a normal level. A separate study done on humans concluded that people have lower levels of stress related blood pressure when they too have sex each day for two weeks, in comparison to people who did not. So yeah, when you're doing it for the right reasons, in the right amount for you, then having sex might just be making you happier.
11 It Boosts The Immune System
When we have sex regularly, we tend to have higher levels of immunoglobulin A in our body, which is a helpful antibody that we use to fight colds, flus, and other infections. One study found that there's actually a sweet spot of sex to be having to keep this antibody at its highest, which is a few times a week. People who went without or had everyday actually had lower levels of the antibody. So if you have a significant other or someone to sleep with regularly, you might be doing your immune system some favors. And it's a lot more fun than popping extra vitamins.
10 Pain Relief
Having sex leads to the releasing of many different hormones, including oxytocin which reduces stress levels, as well as serotonin, endorphins, and phenyl ethylamine, all of which create feelings of pleasure and euphoria. Some studies have even found that sex can instantly cure headaches. They suggest that 60 percent of women who have sex can find headache relief, which is pretty good considering that migraine drugs have around the same rate of effectiveness. So the "I have a headache" excuse to get out of sex that we've seen on so many sitcoms is really not much of an excuse at all.
9 It Makes Your Skin Look Great
Seriously a study was done to see how people were perceived that have regular sex vs people who don't, and the people who had sex four times a week on average were perceived as seven to 12 years younger than their actual ages. This is most likely because of the hormone releasing that goes on during sex. Testosterone and estrogen are both released in the body when you have sex, and both of those hormones are helpful for keeping a youthful bod. Estrogen in particular has been shown to make skin soft and hair shiny.
8 Keeps The Brain Sharp
Forget another cup of coffee, maybe all you need is an afternoon roll in the hay. Research has shown that sex increases the blood flow to the brain, which brings it extra glucose to use as energy. So basically, having sex can make you that much more alert. Other studies done on rats have suggested that regular sex leads to neuron growth in the hippocampus, which is the area of the brain that we store memories. Who knew studying for a test or prepping for a presentation could actually go better if you take some fun breaks while you do it.
7 It Can Help You Sleep Better
Some studies have found that one in six women report sleeping better after they have had sex. (It's not just men, ladies!) During sex, the body releases hormones like norepinephrine, serotonin, oxytocin, and vasopressin, which have a tendency to both make people want to cuddle and to go right to sleep. Men are only more likely to fall asleep first because the activity in their prefrontal cortex also slows down after orgasm, and that's the part of the brain that's used to taking in and responding to new information.
6 It Decreases The Risk Of Heart Disease
Well in men at least! One study found that men who only had sex once a month or less had a 45 percent higher risk of developing a cardiovascular disease than men who had regular sex. More sex means a less likely chance of getting heart disease or experiencing a stroke. These results are sort of circular, because men who are in better health are also more likely to have higher libidos and have sex more often, which just reinforces their health by keeping their cardiovascular system on point.
5 It Enhances Your Sense Of Smell
This one is a little strange, but when we have sex, the body produces the hormone prolactin, which actually creates new neurons in the olfactory bulb of the brain. The olfactory bulb is the part of the brain that is responsible for how we react to smells. So more sex could lead to a better sense of smell. It's unclear whether this serves some purpose related to sex or if it's just a side effect of yet another hormone surge that goes on when we get down.
4 It Makes Pregnancy Safer
When you have a bun in the oven, having sex can actually help prevent some pregnancy complications. The risk of developing a condition called preeclampsia can be prevented with regular sex, since a protein found in semen called HLG-A can regulate the immune system. (And there's no need to avoid semem when you're pregnant obviously because you're already pregant.) If preeclampsia sounds familiar, it might be because Kim Kardashian suffered from it. The condition can cause danger for the baby and painful side effects for the mom to be.
3 Lighter Periods And Less Intense Cramps
During a female orgasm, the uterus contracts, which can make your period more tolerable in a couple of ways. For one thing, it helps to relieve cramps, and for another thing, those contractions can get rid of blood and tissue faster, which means that your period can actually be sped up a bit. Luckily our blood flow tends to be lighter when we lay down, so it's possible to get down without too much mess. But even with the mess...anything that has the real power to get rid of cramps is pretty special.
2 It Decreases The Risk Of Endometriosis
Having sex on your period has also been shown to reduce the risk of developing endometriosis. Endometriosis is a common but painful condition where uterine tissue starts to grow outside of the uterus, which causes painful sex and general pain in the pelvis. For some reason, having sex however helps, probably thanks to how it speeds up shedding the lining of the uterus. If you're not having sex, you can still help speed up the shedding however, simply by wearing a tampon. For some reason that seems to help as well.
1 It Can Also Regulate Your Period In General
If your cycle always seems to be unpredictable and out of whack, there might be some sex to fix that. Some research has found that when women are exposed to male sweat they respond by becoming more calm and relaxed. Additionally, the luteinizing hormone that controls the menstrual cycle fluctuates less in the blood, which means that it can actually help to regulate the cycle. Now the study was done on male sweat and not from sex in particular, but let's be honest, having sex is a lot more appealing than cuddling your man when he's straight from the gym.