Sex is important—you’d be surprised at all the unexpected health benefits regular sex offers. In addition to improving your mood and whittling your waistline, sex can even help you live longer. “Investigate and learn how sex is fundamental for our physical and mental health and serves much more than reproductive and gratification functions,” suggests William Kolbe, EdD, author of The Rejuvenating Power of Masturbation. “One way to do this is by exploring both solo and paired sexual activity to stimulate your major endocrine axis and nervous system, which manage all your major body functions.” The sex hormones are involved in maintaining muscle and bone mass, male and female characteristics, sex drive, as well as certain cognitive functions and memory, he adds. Understanding how your body works is a good first-step into truly enjoying sexual activity.
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It’s important to remember that sexual health and general health go hand in hand. “Prevention and treatment of typical chronic diseases are clearly associated with better sex,”adds Alyssa Dweck MD, ob-gyn in New York City and author of The Complete A to Z for Your V. “For example: Are you too tired for sex? Get checked for anemia (low blood count) which can cause significant fatigue and shortness of breath for some, and treat if needed with iron-rich foods or iron supplements.” If you’re suffering from vaginal dryness and pain during sex, she also notes that untreated hypertension (high blood pressure) or coronary artery disease may be the cause. “Insure you don’t have diabetes and treat if you do, as out of control sugar levels can lead to chronic vaginal yeast infections which can cause itching, discharge, inflammation and discomfort during sex.”