Science has revealed that women in their mid-40s to mid-50s who have weekly sex are 27% less likely to have early menopause than women who have sex once a month or less. But that’s not the only reason to maintain an active sex life. Here are five reasons safe sex is good for you.
1. It’s a good stress-reliever
Sex is an excellent stress-reliever. According to a 2006 paper in Biological Psychology, people who have penetrative or non-penetrative sex or masturbate cope better with stress. It certainly gives a new dimension to the way people perceive sexuality.
2. It’s a natural drug
In the 1950s, the controversial US psychologist, Harry Harlow, placed rhesus monkeys in a cage and gave them the option of a wire “mother” that dispensed milk or a soft-cloth “mother” that they could cuddle. The monkeys preferred the company of the soft-cloth mother, even though it didn’t dispense milk. Like monkeys, humans have a powerful need for touch. When we touch each other, the brain releases the hormone oxytocin, the so-called love drug. Released during sex, oxytocin helps you to feel loved, and even helps with sleep. So, the next time you feel inexplicably in love with a one-night stand, it’s just the hormones talking.
3. It could fend off illness
There’s limited evidence to show that having moderate amounts of sex can be associated with higher levels of the antibody immunoglobulin A. A 2004 study published in Psychology Report found that people who had sex once or twice a week had 30 per cent higher levels of immunoglobulin A than those who had no sex. But those who had sex more than twice a week had lower levels than celibate people.
4. It could make you smarter
Research from Oxford and Coventry universities, published in the Journals of Gerontology, found that people who were sexually active into old age (defined for this study as adults between 50 and 83) performed better on cognitive tests than their sexually inactive peers. In particular, men seemed to benefit the most, performing well in tests involving number sequencing and recall. Women also performed well in recall tests, but not as well in number sequencing.
5. Horizontal workouts are good for your heart
You don’t have to hit the runway or the racetrack to get your heart rate up. Research published in the European Heart Journal found that your heart expends a mild-to-moderate effort during sex, similar to walking up a flight of stairs. Of course, you might not have set time or resources required to hit the gym to attain the recommendation of 150 minutes of exercise a week. But it’s better than nothing. Just don’t let your partner do all the work.