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10 Health Benefits of Sex for Women

Is your sex life helping your well-being? It turns out sex is associated with a large number of women's health benefits. People who regularly have sex report being happier and feeling more connected to their partners. But there are many other reasons why maintaining a healthy sex life is a good idea. Is sex good for women's health? Yes. Here’s why.

Several women’s health issues, like heart disease, are a result of stress. For some, sex is a great way to relieve stress. During sex, the brain’s pleasure centers are hit with dopamine while levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, drop. Oxytocin, which boosts feelings of friendship and happiness, is also released. This chemical cocktail can have a calming effect when you’re feeling stressed.

Research conducted at Wilkes University found that college students who had sex at least once a week had higher levels of immunoglobulin A in their saliva. Immunoglobulin A is an antibody that helps the body fight off bacteria and viruses.

Sex can boost serotonin too. This hormone helps produce “happy feelings," and scientists believe that there’s a link between depression and serotonin levels. 

High blood pressure can lead to serious or fatal cardiovascular complications. Research shows that high blood pressure also negatively impacts female orgasm. Sex has been linked to lower systolic blood pressure readings. 

Sex and health are closely linked. In one study, women who reported having a satisfying sex life had a reduced risk of hypertension and other problems. The study’s authors posit that the quality of sex is more important for female’s health than the frequency — having satisfying, happy sex is good for your heart. It might be because a woman’s sexual satisfaction with a partner is often linked to improved emotional well-being.

Sex can help relieve insomnia. After orgasm, prolactin, a hormone that promotes relaxation, is released. And research shows that sex triggers the production of significantly more prolactin than masturbation does.

High libido is associated with improved self-esteem and pain resistance, among other benefits. You’ll feel more desire for your partner, which can turn into feeling more desired yourself. 

Pelvic floor muscles, which are responsible for controlling the flow of urine (among other things), can become weaker with age or after pregnancy. During sex, these muscles get a good workout. You can exercise them on your own by doing Kegel exercises, but sex will also put them to work.

Researchers have found that sex creates intimacy and affection in relationships. The more sex a couple has, the more they feel connected to each other. Research also shows that physical touch and affection are very important, even for couples who have been together for a long time. And talking to a partner after sex to discuss your feelings and fantasies benefits your emotional health.

One study found that women who remained sexually active into old age had better cognitive functioning than those who didn’t. Researchers measured the women’s ability to recall words and adjusted the results to account for factors like depression and physical activity level. Sexually active people performed much better on the test. 

You won’t burn a ton of calories — some estimates put it at five calories per minute — but it’s not nothing.

Sex and sexuality are topics still considered taboo by some. However, sex is a normal, healthy activity that can benefit your health and help keep your body and mind active as you age.

Brennan, Francis X., and Carl J. Charnetski. “Sexual Frequency and Salivary Immunoglobulin A (IgA) - Carl J. Charnetski, Francis X. Brennan, 2004.” SAGE Journals, 1 June 2004, journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.2466/pr0.94.3.839-844?journalCode=prxa.

Brody, Stuart, and Tillmann H C Krüger. “The Post-Orgasmic Prolactin Increase Following Intercourse Is Greater than Following Masturbation and Suggests Greater Satiety.” Biological Psychology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 10 Aug. 2005, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16095799/.

Wright, Hayley, and Rebecca A Jenks. “Sex on the Brain! Associations between Sexual Activity and Cognitive Function in Older Age.” Age and Ageing, Oxford University Press, Mar. 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4776624/.

Young, Simon N. “How to Increase Serotonin in the Human Brain without Drugs.” Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience : JPN, Canadian Medical Association, Nov. 2007, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2077351/.

Liu, Hui, et al. “Is Sex Good for Your Health? A National Study on Partnered Sexuality and Cardiovascular Risk among Older Men and Women .” SAGE Journals, 6 Sept. 2016, journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0022146516661597.

Doumas, Michael, et al. “Female Sexual Dysfunction in Essential Hypertension: a Common Problem Being Uncovered.” Journal of Hypertension, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2006, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17082720/.

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