Health Benefits of Having More Orgasms

The big O makes you feel good, but it’s helping your health, too.

Orgasm, climax, the big O—whatever you want to call it, you’re probably a big fan. But did you know that, according to a Planned Parenthood survey, 15 percent of women have trouble having an orgasm, and 10 percent say they’ve never had an orgasm during sex? It’s time to start decreasing these numbers, ladies. Orgasms make you feel good, but what you may not know, is that regular orgasms can help your immune system, boost your mood and help you lose weight. Need we say more?  

Orgasms that spark from penile-vaginal intercourse offer the most health benefits, but self pleasure can help you get to the top of the mountain, too, says female sexual health specialist Samantha Tojino, Certified Family Nurse Practitioner, of Doctors Hospital of Augusta in Georgia.

As if you needed another reason to enjoy the fireworks, here are eight ways orgasms keep you healthy and four of Tojino’s tried-and-true ways to make time for sex in general, so you can live a long, fulfilling life. 

Orgasms keep you from getting sick

Vitamin C may not be the only thing that can help prevent a cold—sexual activity and orgasm can effectively promote good immune response, says Tojino.

“Sexual arousal and orgasms increase the absolute number of leukocytes and natural killer cells in peripheral blood, which helps boost the immune system.”

They keep your ticker strong

Oxytocin, a hormone produced by the hypothalamus which is also responsible for helping you contract during childbirth, is released during orgasm. The love hormone, as it’s commonly called, may help control your blood pressure and heart rate.

“One study found that women who had sex the night before had better blood pressure control and heart rate variability while in a stressful situation the next day than those women who were not sexually active,” says Tojino.

Surprise! Orgasms make your vagina happy

You know the old saying “if you don’t use it, you lose it?”  The same holds true for your genitalia. As you get older, especially after menopause, if you don’t have sex very often, the vagina can actually dry out and shorten in length, making sex very painful when you begin again.

On the flip side, if you’re having regular sex, your vagina is going to love you. “A review of female genital reflexes concluded that vaginal intercourse helps to maintain vaginal and pelvic function, says Tojino. How? “It triggers a muscular reflex of contractions that helps maintain and improve vaginal function.”

It may help you fit into those jeans

Having sex (we’re talking about 10 minutes of foreplay and 15 minutes of going all the way) burns calories—88 for a 150-pound woman to be exact. But there’s more to it than that.

“A German study revealed that when physicians measured body masses, women who had regular penile-vaginal sex had slimmer waists and hips than those who didn’t,” says Tojino.

The reason? Studies show that it may be linked to testosterone, a hormone that’s associated with enhanced libido. “Testosterone levels spike after sex and that’s been linked to improved mood and memory, and the prevention of abdominal fat,” says Tojino. Higher testosterone levels lead to leaner muscles and less fat which assist in maintaining a healthy weight, she adds.

It comes full circle, too. Women who feel better about themselves after trimming some extra weight may notice an increase in arousal, orgasms and overall satisfaction.

Orgasms put you in a good mood  

Another benefit of oxytocin, the love and bonding hormone that’s released during orgasm, is relaxation. “In addressing depression, it’s likely that penile-vaginal intercourse has an important mood-enhancing benefit,” says Tojino.

And when it comes to depression, one study examining young women found that Beck depression test scores, a self-assessment test measuring the severity of depression, were actually better in those who had condom-free penile-vaginal intercourse. “Semen contains prostaglandins that could be responsible for the improved depression score outcomes,” says Tojino.

Climaxing promotes emotional expression and marital happiness

Having regular sex—penile-vaginal intercourse to be exact—may help both men and women express themselves better—especially if you have alexithymia, an inability to perceive, identify and express yourself.  “An increase in sexual activity promoted more emotional integration into the relationship and more partner communication,” says Tojino.

And research done by the Kinsey Institute found that individuals who had intercourse more than four times per month had greater marital happiness, adds Tojino. And women who had coital orgasms in the missionary, or man-on-top position, may also be happier in their marriages. “I think it relates to the fact that there’s better communication in a partner who understands what it takes to help their female partner effectively reach orgasm.”

The big O helps you sleep

If you’re having trouble getting enough ZZZ’s, you may need to spend more time in the sack.  

During orgasm, the body releases oxytocin, a hormone that may help you sleep. “Oxytocin release helps reduce our cortisol levels, which may create an overall feeling of relaxation and even sleepiness for some individuals,” says Tojino. Post-climax, it’s likely you’ll feel ready for a nice, deep sleep.

Not sure if your sleeping habits are up to par? Take our RealAge Test for a personalized look into your lifestyle habits and for tips that will help you stay healthy.

4 Ways to Keep Your Sex Life Going

Whether you’re having frequent sex or you want to start, here are the four ways Tojino suggests her patients embrace a more frequent love life.    

  1. Shoot for once a week or once every two weeks
    Every couple has different schedules and needs, so there’s no set number on how often you should be having sex. But if you’re working hard to have more sex, aim for once every week or once every two weeks, say Tojino.
  2. Don’t forget to cuddle
    Whether cuddling happens throughout the day, or as a precursor to sex, it can be an important part of intimacy. “One study measured the levels of testosterone in women before sex, after sex, after cuddling and after exercise. Women’s testosterone levels were higher both before and after sexual intercourse, but cuddling gave the biggest testosterone boost of all,” says Tojino.

    Remember that cuddling doesn’t always have to lead to sexual activity—try incorporating more snuggle time during Netflix binges on the couch or right before bed as you wind down and relax.
  3. Plan a date night
    If you plan a special night out or at home, it doesn’t have to be extravagant. “A date night can just be in the bedroom where you shut the door for mommy and daddy time, or if the children are gone, it’s just a time you can make things interesting,” says Tojino.

    Have romantic foods like chocolate-covered strawberries or experiment with toys if those are things you both enjoy, she adds.  
  4. Get creative
    “I like to tell my patients to create a fantasy box where they can put in three benign fantasies, and draw one out per week,” says Tojino. The fantasy could be something as simple as a new position and location (somewhere other than the bed!) or something as creative as roleplaying. If you draw the fantasy out at the beginning of the week, you’ll have a whole week to plan for fantasy night on Friday or Saturday.

    “It creates an excitement factor for both parties, knowing that something new and exciting is coming at the end of the week,” says Tojino. Just make sure you’ll both enjoy the activity. 

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