The closer the average person gets to death, the more they tend to try and fight to stay healthy and active. Whether that is through excessive exercise, keeping up with daily vitamins, or strict diets, humans are constantly trying to better their health through simple daily life fixes. But, one thing that seems to slip older adults mind is sex! As people grow older, it seems they tend to have sex less and less.
In the words of Joy Davidson, a New York psychologist and sex therapist, “Of course, sex is everywhere in the media, but the idea that we are vital, sexual creatures is still looked at in some cases with disgust or in other cases a bit of embarrassment. So to really take a look at how our sexuality adds to our life and enhances our life and our health, both physical and psychological, is eye-opening for many people.”
These health benefits are not simply a result of speculation or hypothesis, but are backed up by scientific scrutiny. Sex has a number of benefits to both ones mental and physical health. Mentally, sex boosts ones self-esteem and strengthens their overall well-being. Results of this is not only seen through a more positive connection between the two participating in sex, but also through their relationships with their family, friends, and peers. Although benefits such as these are only recorded through observation by sex therapists such as Gina Ogden, there are many physical benefits much more testable and scientifically proven.
A huge health benefit of sex is its positive impact on the immune system. Researchers at Wilkes University of Pennsylvania discovered that students who had sex once or twice a week had higher levels of certain antibodies ,than students who don’t, which defend the body against germs, viruses, and other intruders. Simply put by sexual health expert, Yvonne K. Fulbright, “Sexually active people take fewer sick days.”
Another huge benefit of sex is its close correlation with lowered blood pressure. Joseph J. Pinzone, MD, CEO, and medical director of Amai Wellness, has preformed many studies involving the benefits of sexual intercourse on the human body. He states, “One landmark study found that sexual intercourse specifically (not masturbation) lowered systolic blood pressure.” Systolic blood pressure was the first number on the pressure test.
Besides being a great way to raise your heart rate, sex helps keep your estrogen and testosterone levels in balance. “When either one of those is low you begin to get lots of problems, like osteoporosis and even heart disease,” Pinzone says. His studies have shown that men and women involved in sex one to two times a week are half as likely to die of heart disease.
Almost every pain medication, from over the counter to prescription drugs, comes with danger of misuse, abuse, and liver damage, so why not just have sex? “Orgasms can block pain,” says Barry R. Komisaruk, a distinguished service professor at Rutgers at the State University of New Jersey. It releases a hormone in your brain that helps to significantly raise your pain threshold.
Sheenie Ambardar, MD, says that touching and hugging can release your body’s natural “feel-good hormone.” Sexual arousal releases a brain chemical that revs up your brain’s pleasure and reward system countless times during sex. This could possibly be the most significant benefit of sex because this means that by having sex it can help with stress and negative emotions. Although stress may not seem as significant as heart disease or a weak immune system, according to http://www.statisticbrain.com/stress-statistics/, 77 percent of U.S. citizens suffer from physical symptoms of stress and 48 percent report that these symptoms play a negative role in their personal or professional lives.
Effects of stress on the body:
Effects of stress on the brain:
- Lack of motivation or focus
- Irritability or anger
- Sadness or depression
Effects of stress on behavior:
- Overeating or under eating
- Angry outbursts
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Tobacco use
- Social withdrawal