- It’s all too easy to come up with an excuse not to have sex, but sex is worth prioritizing.
- It benefits your body, your brain, and your relationship — with your partner and with yourself.
- Benefits of sex include strengthens immunity, lowers stress, boosts mood, protects your heart, and increases intimacy.
- Read to the end for sex hacks to supercharge your performance, in every area of your life.
It’s all too easy to come up with an excuse not to have sex. You’re too tired; you don’t have time; your partner always works late; you have your period; and the most common one: you simply don’t feel like it. The thing is, sex is worth prioritizing. It benefits your body, your brain, and your relationship — with your partner and with yourself.
“[Sex] directly impacts your performance, in ways you might not realize,” writes Bulletproof Founder Dave Asprey in his new book, “Game Changers: What Leaders, Innovators, and Mavericks Do to Win at Life”.
Read on for the benefits of sex, and how sex can supercharge your performance, in every area of your life.
9 benefits of sex
1. Lowers stress
Sex can help you feel more zen.
Scientists consider sex a form of gentle exercise, and working out lowers stress hormones in the body, namely cortisol and adrenaline. Exercise also floods your body with endorphins, aka mood-boosting hormones.
Sex also strengthens parts of the brain weakened by stress. In one study done on rats, daily sex for two weeks created new neurons (or brain cells) in the hippocampus, an area of the brain particularly sensitive to stress.
Sex can also lower your blood pressure, which eases stress (people show higher blood pressure readings when they’re under physical or emotional stress). In one study, men and women who had intercourse every day for two weeks had lower stress-related blood pressure than those who only masturbated or fooled around with their partners without penetration.
2. Strengthens your immune system
Sex can boost your immune system. A 2004 study of 112 college students found that those who had sex once or twice a week had higher levels of immunoglobulin A (IgA), an antibody that serves as your body’s first line of defense against an illness. The study also found that those who were in longer-term, committed relationships had more IgA.
“I like to say ‘An orgasm a day’ is like ‘An apple a day,’” says sex therapist Megan Fleming, PhD, a clinical instructor of psychology in psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College.
3. Lowers risk of prostate cancer in men
Research shows that frequent ejaculation — from either sex or masturbation — lowers a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer (the most common cancer among men, after skin cancer). A long-term study of nearly 30,000 men over the course of 18 years found that those who reported ejaculating 21 times a month or more reduced their risk of prostate cancer by 20 percent compared to men who ejaculated between four and seven times a month.
4. Increases intimacy
Touch and orgasm releases oxytocin — “the love hormone” — which strengthens trust and bonding between you and your partner. In a series of four studies that looked at couples in a committed relationship, having sex increased affection (such as holding hands or kissing on the cheek), and the more affection they had, the more they had sex.
5. Improves sleep
You may feel too tired to get it on with your partner, but research shows that sex can improve sleep. That goes for masturbation, too. An orgasm releases oxytocin and other feel-good endorphins, and at the same time lowers cortisol (aka “the stress hormone”), relaxing you and making it easier to fall asleep.
6. Powers your brain and improves memory
Having sex can boost brain power as you get older. In a study of men and women between the ages of 50 and 89, those who were sexually active at least once a week had stronger verbal fluency (for instance, saying as many words as possible that start with the letter “B”) and visuospatial ability (how you make sense of the world around you).
In another study of 6,000 adults over the age of 50, those who had regular sex had better memory recall than those who weren’t as sexually active. This was especially true for the older participants in the study.
7. Protects your heart
Having a heart attack during sex may be a common Hollywood trope, but the chances of going into cardiac arrest are actually very slim. In fact, having sex can actually have a protective effect on the heart, especially if you’re a man. In a longitudinal study of more than 1,100 men aged between 40 and 70 years, those who had sex two to three times a week were 45 percent less likely to develop cardiovascular disease than those who had sex just once a month.
8. Relieves pain
Sex can lower pain. In a 2013 German study, researchers found that having sex can lead to partial and even total relief from migraines and cluster headaches. More than half of migraine sufferers reported an improvement in their symptoms, with more than 90 percent of those with cluster headaches finding relief. Some male migraine sufferers even said they used sex as a therapeutic tool to relieve their pain.
Sex also releases oxytocin, which studies show can increase tolerance to pain.
9. Boosts mood
Sex makes you feel good. When you orgasm, your body releases a strong dose of so-called happiness hormones, including estrogen, which, along with oxytocin, fill you with a sense of well-being. Sex, particularly orgasm, also floods the reward center of your brain with dopamine, the same neurotransmitter that gets released when you take drugs or listen to rock and roll.Sex triggers this pleasurable high, causing you to want more of it.
Try these proven sex hacks
Now that you know how good sex is for you, give these science-backed sex hacks a try.
- Learn how to orgasm. If you’re a woman, learning how to orgasm and how to increase the intensity of your orgasms will help you reap the benefits that sex has to offer. Learn all about the female orgasm here.
- Schedule in sex. It may sound unromantic, but sex therapists suggest scheduling sex into your diary, much as you would any other appointment. That ensures it doesn’t fall to the bottom of the list of priorities. “You plan the time, then you decide in that moment what you want to do,” says Fleming, adding that sex doesn’t have to be spontaneous to be fulfilling. “Some people don’t like things to happen unexpectedly, so scheduling sex helps them get into the right headspace.”
- Take maca. This Peruvian root is a powerful aphrodisiac that gets both men and women in the mood. Learn more here about how maca can boost your sex drive. Aim for 1 to 2 tablespoons of maca powder a day.