09 05 19 — Culture, Science
“Pleasure, specifically the physiological impacts it has on our body, is why sex offers many health benefits,” says Kait Scalisi, MPH and certified sex educator. It’s a simple fact that sexual satisfaction contributes to our overall quality of life. But recent studies are taking it a step further with findings that claim a healthy sex life offers anti-aging properties. Research says that having regular sex can make us look up to 7 years younger.
On a physiological level, when our sex lives are active and happy, our bodies are consistently releasing a multitude of pleasure hormones, such as the Human Growth Hormone. It has become such a coveted anti-aging treatment that research and products surrounding HGI have turned into a multi-billion dollar industry. While having sex, the body also releases tons of endorphins (the feel-good chemicals that serve as a natural painkiller) that act to reduce anxiety, help with sleeping issues, and boost our blood circulation—more than enough reasons to get busy!
From her own research and expertise, Scalisi agrees that a healthy sex life is a precursor for a multitude of wellness benefits. “The cocktail of hormones released during sexy times—including oxytocin, serotine, norepinephrine, vasopressin, prolactin, and phenylethylamine—are to thank for many of pleasures health benefits such as boosting your immune system, improving sleep quality, lowering blood pressure and improving memory.”
So how often should we engage in sexual activities to reap anti-aging benefits? “While most research says we need sex a few times per week, the right frequency to give you the best benefits is the one that satisfies you and your partner(s), if you have them. In fact, many people report that the stress of trying to meet an arbitrary number outweighs any benefits that sex bestows,” Scalisi says.
Reaping these rewards on a regular basis plays such an important role in our overall physical, emotional and psychological health. “Pleasure is a powerful force, driving many of our decisions from sex, to food, to work. Most people have sex because it feels good, but sex isn’t just the tip of the pyramid—it’s actually vital for life,” Scalisi explains. So having healthy, regular sex might be just what the doctor ordered.
We’ve put together a list of reasons why sex acts as an anti-aging prescription for better health:
Helps with Detox
Having sex actually gives our bodies a full-on lymphatic massage, which kick-starts the natural detoxification process. Our lymphatic system is the most complex network of tissues and organs in the body, and it’s dedicated to getting rid of wastes and toxins. This system helps to fight infection and delivers white-blood-cell rich lymph throughout the body. There’s no pump for moving lymph around, so our bodies rely on muscle and joint contractions for distribution. Some physical activities like sex can help the lymph to circulate, which in turn kick-starts the detox process.
In general, having an orgasm has been proven to significantly reduce stress in the body. It also assists with deeper relaxation by boosting our endorphin levels and working to flush out cortisol. Go ahead… you know you want to!
There’s definitely something special about that post-sex glow. When we have an orgasm, our levels of DHEA spike within the body. This hormone is said to improve brain function, help to maintain and repair tissues and promote healthy skin. Studies have found that having sex at least three times a week in a stress-free relationship and environment, is directly associated with looking a decade younger.
Regular sex can boost infection-fighting cells (studies say up to 20%) which can help us to fight off colds, the flu and other common sicknesses. Even further, it can assist with pain and stress relief. Research also suggests that sexual activity can help to cure migraines and treat other types of chronic pain within the body.
Makes Us Feel Good
When we orgasm, our hormone levels (especially the hormone oxytocin) rapidly increase. Oxytocin is related to things such as passion, intuition and sociability. When these and other hormones are released, our physical and emotional state is almost reset. Through the release of hormones, stress relief and other anti-aging benefits, healthy sex can contribute to an increase in mood and health.