Whether you’re in a relationship or single, the thought of getting between the sheets with someone you fancy on a regular basis sounds like a pretty good idea, right?
Well not according to a new Simplyhealth survey which found 40% of British people would be willing to go more than 365 days without sex, while 10% wouldn’t go more than a day without eating sugar.
Not only does this reflect pretty poorly on the state of our (non-existent) sex lives, but it seems when it come to associated health benefits, we really haven’t got our priorities in order, as sex can be invaluable to a healthy lifestyle.
To mark World Sexual Health Day (4 September), HuffPost UK spoke to sex and relationships expert Tracey Cox about the health reasons we should all be spending more time in the bedroom.
No excuses people.
1. Regular sex can make you look younger
We all know that having sex gives you that post-coital ‘afterglow’ smugness for a full 48 hours, even scientists confirmed it, but it seems the effects may last much longer than a couple of days.
This is because sex boosts the levels of a human’s anti-ageing hormone DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) – a key factor in keeping us young and after you have an orgasm, levels of DHEA in the blood rise to five times the normal level.
Tracey Cox said: “A study found couples in their sixties still having regular sex looked between five and seven years younger than those no longer having sex.”
2. Sex can make you live longer
Not only does it make you look younger as you grow old, but sex can actually keep you around for longer too.
Studies have shown that regular intercourse (twice a week) can increase your lifespan for as much as three to eight years, according to Cox.
Best get back to bed then.
3. Sex can make you slimmer
“Sex can keep you fit,” Cox explained. “Quickies of 20 minutes weekly means you burn 7,500 calories annually, that’s as much as you consume jogging 120km. A sex session can burn about 200 calories. This is like running for fifteen minutes on a treadmill.”
We know which one we’d rather be doing.
4. Sex can keep your heart healthy
We all know how important cardio is for our health – and that includes sex. As the NHS website says: “Sexual arousal sends the heart rate higher and the number of beats per minute reaches its peak during orgasm.”
Cox said: “Studies have shown that regular sex can help prevent a heart attack. Studies in Belfast showed that sex three times a week could halve the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
“A separate study found that women who had at least two orgasms a week were 30% less likely to have heart disease than women who did not regularly have sex.”
5. Sex keeps away colds and stuffy noses
While a runny nose isn’t the worst thing we can imagine, if we could avoid it by having more sex, we wouldn’t hesitate to throw away the tissues.
Cox explained that having sex once or twice a week raises the level of immunoglobulins (IgA) in the body, increasing protection against colds and flu.
In fact couples who have regular sex have 30% higher levels of IgA than abstainers, she said.
“Sex is [also] a natural antihistamine. It can even help combat hay fever and asthma.”
6. Sex makes men more fertile
Studies have shown that regular sex keeps sperm healthy.
“The quality of sperm improves when men have regular sex,” Cox said. “Tests show that sperm quality lowers through abstinence, particularly after [a period] of ten days.”
7. Sex can alleviate the symptoms of PMT for women
For some women the idea of having sex when you have period pain seems totally undesirable, but Cox said that “many women” actually feel less pre-menstrual pain if they have intercourse before their cycle, because of the side-effects of an orgasm.
“Muscle contraction that occurs during sexual arousal releases tension in the muscles of the uterus, which are responsible for menstrual pain,” she said.
“Women who regularly have sex also have more regular periods. Sex contributes to more balanced hormone levels, including those that regulate the monthly cycle.”