7 Unexpected Health Benefits You Get From Sex

Fight disease, reduce pain, look younger; find out why sex might be the key to a long and healthy life.

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1. It helps you breathe easier

1. It helps you breathe easierDean Mitchell/iStock
Sex is reputedly a natural antihistamine, helping to combat hay fever and asthma symptoms.

2. You'll look younger

 2. You'll look youngerDean Mitchell/iStock
A good sex life is a key to youthful looks, according to a study of 3,500 people age 18 to 102 conducted by the Royal Edinburgh Hospital in Scotland. Researchers attributed this to reductions in stress, greater contentment and better sleep, all of which are also associated with sexual activity.

3. It can help your body fight disease

3. It can help your body fight disease  Thomas_EyeDesign/iStock
Engaging in sex once or twice a week produces 30 percent higher levels of immunoglobulin A, which boosts your body’s immune system. Scientists have also found that having an active sex life may even lower your risk of developing cancer, heart disease and stroke. On top of all that, it’s a remedy for colds and flu.

4. It burns calories

4. It burns caloriesstevecoleimages/iStock
Like any exercise, sexual intercourse burns fat and calories—about 96 calories in 20 minutes for a 150-lb. person. That means it’ll burn off the calories from that extra glass of wine at dinner (which may have been what put you in the mood in the first place!).    

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5. It reduces pain

5. It reduces painMarsBars/iStock
Studies show that vaginal stimulation results in increased pain tolerance, and pleasurable self-stimulation of the clitoris also has an analgesic effect. Researchers report that this type of stimulation can ease the pain of menstrual cramps, arthritis, migraine and other conditions.  

6. It helps you live longer—if you do it often enough

6. It helps you live longer—if you do it often enoughstevecoleimages/iStock
A Welsh longitudinal study examined the relationship between mortality and frequency of sexual activity. Researchers found that the risk of dying in any one year was 50 percent lower among men who had sex twice or more a week than among men who had sex less than once a month. Even when controlling for such factors as age, social class and smoking status, the study concluded that the more sex, the better.    

7. It promotes a feeling of well-being

7. It promotes a feeling of well-beingSquaredpixels/iStock
Sexual activity fosters everything from sexual and reproductive health to happiness. And one U.S. study of more than 1,800 people found that surges in oxytocin and endorphins (which have an apparent sedative effect) occurred as a result of orgasm, explaining why sex often leads to falling asleep.

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