Everyone knows that a day when you’ve had sex is just in a different category than other days— food tastes better, people are less annoying, you smile more. But sex (or simply having an orgasm) does a lot more than just put you in a good mood. That glow you see on the outside is reflected inside with increased health and well-being, even less illness. You don’t really need another reason to have orgasms, but in any case, here are five, all having to do with your health.
1. Orgasms help you sleep.
Forget the Xanax and the Tylenol P.M. and even natural melatonin. More than half of all women (54%) and almost half of all men (49%) masturbate before bed, and there’s a reason why. Orgasms are a great sleep aid. They increase the amount of oxytocin – a hormone that helps human beings to bond with each other – and decrease the amount of cortisol – the stress hormone. And when you sleep better, your immune system (your body has time to rest and repair itself), your skin (we produce collagen during sleep), and of course your relationships (you’re more pleasant to be around) all benefit.
2. Orgasms may help regulate your weight.
Excess cortisol makes your body thinks it needs more food, which can then lead to overeating, which can then lead to, of course, excess weight. Wouldn’t you rather have an orgasm now than binge eat donuts later?
3. Orgasms are good for your heart.
Like all physical activity, sex is good for your heart. In fact, several studies that show that risk of stroke and heart disease both decrease when you have regular orgasms – one showed that men who have sex twice a week are less likely to develop heart disease than men who have sex once a month. Bonus: a healthy heart means better erectile function.
4. Orgasms reduce vaginal dryness symptoms associated with menopause.
In menopause lower amounts of estrogen contribute to decreased blood flow to the pelvic area, resulting in vaginal dryness and some loss of muscle tone. But there’s no need to throw up your hands in defeat. Like any muscle, the vagina can be “kept in shape” with more regular use. Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale, has given her patients We-Vibe vibrators and suggests they use them 3-4 times a week. Her patients reporting less need for topical estrogen to help with lubrication issues, because regular vibrator use increased lubrication naturally.
5. Orgasms reduce the occurrence of prostate cancer.
Young men (20-29) who ejaculated 21 times a month or more were 19 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer than those who only did so only 4-7 times a month. Older men (40-49), saw their risk drop 22 percent, also with 21 orgasms a month. Researchers don’t know why, but the basic theory – that clearing out the prostate by ejaculating helps to keep it infection-free – makes a lot of sense.
By the way, sex is good for everyone, of all ages. You know how old people in movies are always dying when they have sex? It’s a myth that sex is that strenuous. If you can walk up a flight of stairs, you can have sex. So do it.