Depressed? Have a cold? Suffering from heart disease or even cancer?
Researchers are finding that, and I quote, “Sex can offer protection from depression, colds, heart disease and even cancer.” Professor Stuart Brody of the University of Paisley in Scotland published a study showing sex can even lower blood pressure. But it’s not just any sexual activity. According to Brody, studies show that only heterosexual behavior is “consistently associated with better psychological and physiological health.”
Why the health benefits? One theory is that sex stimulates a variety of nerves, most notably the “vagus” nerve, which is directly involved in soothing and calming. If it’s been awhile since high school biology class, the vagus nerve extends from the brain stem to the abdomen, and is considered one of the most important nerves.
So, forget chicken soup for curing colds. Psychologists have found that people who have sex once or twice a week have one-third higher levels of immunoglobulin A (IgA) than those who do not. Again, if it’s been a while since Heath Class, IgA boosts the immune system and is the first line of defense against colds and flu.
Sex has also been linked, in women, to a heightened emotional awareness. Researchers suggest this is because the “love hormone” oxytocin is released. “Sex has huge mental benefits,” adds Dr Hicks. “It’s the outward proof that you are wanted, desired and valued.”
Sex is even a life-saver! Recent studies suggest that heterosexual men who have satisfying sex twice a week are half as likely to die early as men who have the same less than once a month. They are also less like to develop prostate cancer or have a heart attack.
And need to lose some weight? Forget rice cakes or gym memberships. Sex burns off about same number of calories per minute as a brisk walk. “You get all the benefits of exercise,” Dr Hicks suggests. “This includes the release of endorphins, raised heart rate [from] moving the muscles and joints.”
You might even look younger. “Regular sex makes you feel younger as you are more relaxed, satisfied and less stressed,” says Dr Kevan Wylie, consultant andrologist at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital.
And while condoms may offer some health benefits, sex without “protection” actually has health benefits. One study found that semen is a mood-enhancing agent since it contains mood-altering hormones such as testosterone, oestrogen, prolactin and several different prostaglandins which can pass into the woman’s bloodstream. Dr David Hicks, sexology specialist and consultant in GU medicine at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield England concurs.
So, once again, medical science is confirming that men and women in faithful, life-long relationships (marriage) have the best sex—and consequently better health—than those in uncommitted relationships or alternate lifestyles practicing so-called safe sex.”
So, if you feel a cold coming on, get rest, drink plenty of fluids, and get into bed . . . with your spouse. To your health!
Copyright © 2006 James N. Watkins
Note: Hey, I’m not making this up. Read about the finding at theage.com.au.