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"Can we, as a country, all agree

xmag.com : November 2005 : By Victor M. Parachin

Was it good for you?

Science is answering that age-old question with a resounding yes! An increasing number of studies confirm that sex is very good for you and your health. Indeed, regular and frequent sex can add years to your life, not just life to your years. Here are a dozen amazing and wonderful health benefits which come from making love, great reasons for you and your partner to connect as often as possible.

#1) The bed may be the single greatest piece of exercise equipment.
The fact is that sex is good exercise and exercise is good for your body. Making out is a great way to bum off calories. A 120-pound woman can burn 4.2 calories per minute during sex. Also, this pleasurable activity results in a good cardiovascular workout. During sex, the heart rate rises from 70 to 150 beats per minute. It is estimated that a vigorous sexual encounter burns some 200 calories, the same as running 15 minutes on a treadmill. Muscular contractions during sexual activity work the pelvis, thighs, buttocks, arms, neck and thorax.

#2) Sex is really, really good for women.
There’s a reason why women feel better after sex. Research reveals that sex helps pump up a woman's endocrine system which, in turn, boosts hormone production. Some studies show that women who make love at least once a week have twice as much estrogen as women who make love sporadically or not at all. This increase in estrogen gives women a wide range of benefits. "It keeps the cardiovascular and circulatory systems running smoothly, lowers LDL cholesterol (the bad one), raises HDL cholesterol (the good one), helps keep skin smooth, and may help prevent depression," says Winnifred Cutler, PhD., president and founder of the Athena Institute for Women's Wellness in Haverford, Pennsylvania. Estrogen is also instrumental in maintaining bone density in women, thus reducing the risk of osteoporosis, a serious problem for women as they age.

#3) Sex lengthens life.
One of the most comprehensive sexual health studies was done by researchers at Queens University in Belfast, Ireland. They tracked the mortality of nearly 1,000 middle aged men over the course of a decade. The carefully constructed project compared persons of similar circumstances, age and health. Its findings, published in the British Medical Journal, reported that men with the highest frequency of orgasm had a death rate half that of those who had sex less often. Add to that study conclusions drawn by Chicago internist Dr. Michael F. Roizen, MD, author of Real Age Makeovers. For his book, Dr. Roizen reviewed more than 25,000 studies linking lifestyle factors to longevity. He says you can add two years to your life simply by regularly hooking up with your mate in the bedroom. Dr. Roizen says "regularly" means just twice a week.

#4) Your immune system is

With stronger immunity your body can better fight off colds and headaches. People who averaged one to two sexual encounters per week had higher levels of immunoglobulin A, which protects against disease. Additionally, people who had sex two or three times a week reported fewer migraines because sex releases hormones, which block headaches.

#5) Your heart will be stronger and happier.
British researchers looked at 900 men over the course of ten years They found that men who had sex twice or more a week had a lower risk of heart attack than men who had sex less often.

#6) In women sex prevents some
gynecological problems.

One study published in the journal Gynecologic and Obstetric Investigations strongly suggests that sexual activity may prevent endometriosis, a common gynecological condition that occurs when the tissue lining inside a woman's uterus grows in other places, such as the ovaries or fallopian tubes. This growth can cause much pelvic pain and even infertility. The study discovered that women who were sexually active during menstruation were 1.5 times less likely to develop endometriosis than women who didn't have sex during their periods. Researchers also learned that orgasm during menstruation lowered this risk. Study author Harvey J. Kilman, MD, PhD, a researcher at Yale University of Medicine explains that anything that contributes to menstrual debris going backward into the pelvis might increase the risk of endometriosis. The contractions of the uterus which occur during sex and orgasm may help push menstrual debris out of the uterus.

#7) For men there is a decreased risk of prostate cancer.
According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, frequent ejaculation helps protect the prostate from cancer. An Australian study came to a similar conclusion. It found that men in their 20s who ejaculated more than five times a week were one third less likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer than men who ejaculated four to seven times a month. Scientists theorize that ejaculating regularly may lower risk because cancer causing substances get flushed out of the body in the seminal fluid instead of remaining in the prostate.

#8) Pain relief
If you have a headache, don't let that stop you from making love. Many people report that their headaches disappear after having sex. That's not their imagination. Immediately before orgasm, levels of the hormone oxytocin surge to five times the normal level. That forces the release of endorphins which alleviates a variety of pains such as headache, arthritis and even migraines. In women, sex also prompts increased production of estrogen, which reduces the pain of PMS.

#9) Cold and flu fighter.
Here's another good reason to snuggle up during cold and flu season. Researchers at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania report that individuals who have sex once or twice a week show 30% higher levels of the antibody immunoglobulin A which is known to boost the body's overall immune system.

#10) Your overall appearance improves.
Many people notice that the morning after sex, their skin looks great. There's a reason for that. As partners make love, the skin's blood vessels dilate, producing a flush that can last for hours. In addition, sex also makes partners perspire which opens up pores, expelling toxins from the body and leaving you both with a radiant, rosy flush.

#11) You'll stress less and sleep more.
Most individuals have had the pleasant experience of falling into a deep, restful sleep after having sex. New research indicates that sex does indeed act as a sedative by immediately reducing anxiety and stress. One recent study done by researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and the University of Wisconsin in Madison studied college students who simply fantasized about sex. They reported feeling less anxious, depressed, and angry than those who didn't think about sex. In fantasy or reality, sex is a calming sedative. Interestingly, psychiatrist Edward Hallowell, MD, director of the Hallowell Center for Cognitive and Emotional Health in Concord, Mass., often prescribes a half hour of exercise every other day for his anxious patients." And on the days you don't exercise," he tells them, "have sex. Sex and exercise are both great anti-anxiety medications."

#12) Intimacy is a healing power.
While sex is good for men and women, sex with love is even better. Dr. Dean Ornish, author of Love and Survival: The Scientific Basis For The Healing Power of Intimacy, says that "an open heart can lead to the most joyful and ecstatic sex." His observations and research on intimacy and its health benefits lead him to conclude: "anything that promotes feelings of love and intimacy is healing." His observation is mirrored by Felice Dunas, PhD., author of Passion Play: Ancients' Secrets for a Lifetime of Health and Happiness Through Sensational Sex. In her book she extols the healing, unifying power of human sexuality: "Isn't life easier when you're having great sex? Don't mountains turn into molehills? Isn't your step lighter and your mind clearer? Don't everyday annoyances bother you less? Aren't you more at peace with yourself, more optimistic, more content with your lot in life? You no doubt feel healthier, too—more vital and vigorous, with greater physical stamina and emotional strength. Your relationships—with everyone, but especially your love—are more harmonious. Those who go without it lose out on a source of revitalization, and possibly open the door to health disorders."





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