Did you know that an active sex life is now thought to be a key pillar to longevity, a viewpoint gaining increasing speed and power in the regenerative medical community?
Dr. Amy Killen, an anti-aging and regenerative medicine physician, specializes in sexual medicine. She always opens her Ted Talk (now reaching 8 million views on TikTok) with the following saying:
"what you probably don't know is that sex is great for your immune system, helps you fight infections, reduces your risk of depression, helps you sleep better, decreases blood pressure, chronic pain, and more."
When I started learning about the powerful physiological and psychologically healing powers of sex, I realized how overlooked sex and intimacy is as part of our key pillars of health in today's society. So today, I'm going to tell you about why the benefits of sex, intimacy, and even self-pleasure are not just confined to the bedroom. The benefits are CRAZY!
Now, one thing I learned that made this clear to me is that if you are having sex, you are less likely to die. Yes, read that again. *If you are having regular (safe) sex, you are less likely to die!). Studies show that people having sex have lower mortality rates, meaning sex can help you not only survive but also thrive! A fascinating study linked here looked into 'sex and death, are they related?' and confirmed that men who had sex twice a week vs. once a month had a 50% lower death rate over a 10-year period. Isn't that crazy!?
When I discovered that, I started to look into the reasons why that might be, and a lot of what came out of my research is listed below. The benefits of sex are not just confined to the bedroom; they actually overhaul our physiological health and even emotional health too,
First up - sex means intimacy, and close personal relationships have been connected to longevity. Loneliness and social isolation have been increasingly linked to serious health conditions and mortality. Recent studies have found that social isolation increases the risk of premature death from all causes, and poor social relationships have been associated with:
- A 29% increased risk of heart disease;
- 32% increased risk of having a stroke;
- Higher rates of mental health challenges (depression, anxiety, and suicide);
- A 4x increased risk of death for heart failure patients suffering from loneliness and a 57% increased risk of ER department visits. Woah!
So, loneliness impacts our physical health and longevity predictions. Sex is connection and intimacy. It helps bring people closer, reducing the loneliness factor. This means that continuing to have sex as you age is an essential part of your longevity predictors - as well as helping to nurture deeper relationships and partnerships with your significant other (and really just having a good time too!)
Other factors contribute to increased longevity - including exercise, immunity, blood pressure, etc. Depending on how you do it, sex can also be considered some sort of exercise too. A recent Harvard study looked at how sex really stacked up against traditional exercise, and it concluded that during sexual intercourse, a man's heart rate generally stays below 130 beats per minute and blood pressure stays below 170 - logging sex as 'mild to moderate' in terms of exercise intensity. The Harvard research team said having sex is the same as walking the golf course or taking the stairs, which is a form of physical exercise. I don't need to explain why physical activity helps you live a longer, healthier life (that's an obvious one) but let's just say sex is taking you in the right direction toward better health and longevity - especially if you can't make it to the gym!
Sex is also good for your immune system. Now, maybe this is counterintuitive because you might think you might be more likely to come into contact with infectious agents when having sex, but studies actually show that having sex once or twice a week helps boost the immune system by increasing IgA (the antibody that drives our immunity) by 30%! So, this is why it is thought that sexually active people are healthier. One study even showed that they take fewer sick days. Maybe it's because they have a more robust immune system and better immunity against infectious agents as well as the standard bacteria, germs, and viruses that you come into contact with daily. Sex is thought to reduce your likelihood of catching a common cold or flu, too. So, as well as taking your multivitamin, why not think about having (safe) sex, as well?
Regular sex is also thought to be good for your blood pressure because it lowers it. Studies have shown that frequent sex can lead to reduced hypertension, reduced blood pressure, and, in turn, reduced risk of heart attack and stroke. This is also thought to lead to lower stress and anxiety levels, thanks to the decrease in blood pressure.
Something that can benefit both men and women too is how sex can have the healing benefits of improving your sleep as well. After an orgasm, a cocktail of chemicals is released into the brain and body, including dopamine, oxytocin, and more. These feel-good hormones are thought to help you sleep. Recent studies even go as far as calling sex a 'sleep promoting behavior' so, if you can't sleep, some pre-sleep sex might be a great way to help you sleep better that evening.
For my chronic pain sufferers, the good news is that neurologists have also been studying how sexual activity can reduce pain, chronic pain, migraines, cluster headaches, and more. A German study looked at migraines specifically and reported that 60% of people in the study experienced less pain after sexual activity. This is thought to be connected to the release of endorphins and happy hormones that also act as the body's natural painkillers. So, if you're using a headache as an excuse as to why you don't want to have sex - you might need to think about that one again!
I think this research is also really interesting for people suffering from chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia, endometriosis, or even vaginismus. I know that for anyone with chronic pelvic pain, endo pain, or any other type of chronic pain, sometimes sex can be the last thing on your mind or really the last thing that you want to engage in, but in my personal experience, trying to stay connected to yourself, your body and your partner is an important part of the healing journey.
For me, it is essential to relax deeply into the intimacy process, take things slowly, and connect with my pelvis and my partner, with gratitude and thanks - knowing that I am worthy of the pleasure, adoration, and benefits that my body is about to receive. Sometimes it really is about taking things slowly (to make sure your pelvis is not tensing up further).
For me, my holi (sex) intimate oil is a massive part of my beautiful, worshipping, calming self-connection process. We've also reformulated the bottle, which is super cute with a new pump.
As well as longevity, connection, immunity, blood pressure, sleep, and pain relief, there are a ton of other benefits that regular, safe sexual activity involves, and these include:
- Stress and anxiety reduction - a study published in Biological Psychology concluded that regular sex lowered blood pressure.
- Stronger memory and brain-boosting power - research from the Archives of Sexual Behaviour even confirmed that women in their study having sex had better memory recognition in a word memory task than those not having penetrative sex! The journal suggested that this could be due to brain-stimulating activity that can help with learning and memory;
- Better self-esteem, better emotional wellness;
- Deeper, more connected relationships, and more!
All of the above is enough to understand how powerful sex is, but when you think about the benefits for your skin and helping you to 'get the glow', it takes it one step further. Sex improves your heart rate, increases your blood circulation around the body, increases oxygen flow, and helps combat stress hormones. High stress, high cortisol, and deoxygenated blood can lead to lackluster, sallow skin. Sex is thought to be great for your skin and for helping you to 'get the glow' and it's also believed that an orgasm could boost collagen levels because it can help trigger human growth hormone in the body.
The healing benefits of sex inside and outside the bedroom are crazy. I hope this blog brings more pleasure, more connection and a longer life - you deserve them.
***THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN APPROVED OR REGULATED BY THE FDA. WE ARE NOT DOCTORS, THEREFORE ALWAYS CONSULT WITH YOUR DOCTOR FIRST.