3 Big Health Benefits of Sex

Learn about the ways intimacy can do you good.

a person holds up a thumbs up sign from beneath a bedspread

Updated on May 5, 2022.

There are a lot of reasons to get excited about spending time between the sheets with your partner. It can be fun and make you feel great, but did you know that sex also brings some major health benefits? Keith Roach, MD, associate professor in clinical medicine in the division of general medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and New York Presbyterian Hospital, shares some key ways sex can have a positive impact on your total health.

Sex can boost your heart health

Studies suggest that sex can be a form of exercise, may lower your blood pressure (except during the act itself, when your heart rate and blood pressure can actually increase), and helps your heart respond to stress in a healthier way. All these things can boost your cardiovascular health.

One 2020 study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine found that people who had sex at least one time per week were 21 percent less likely to die from cardiovascular causes over the course of 11 years, compared to people who had sex one or fewer times per year.

While you can't compare sex to the calorie burn of a two-mile run, it still counts as a workout—especially if your lovemaking is filled with energy and intensity. "The dip in blood pressure after sex can be a good thing, too," says Dr. Roach.

Just be sure to talk to your healthcare provider (HCP) if you have a history of heart attack or cardiovascular disease. "The vast majority of time it should be fine if you're not experiencing symptoms like chest pain or shortness of breath,” Roach adds.

Sex improves your sleep and eases stress

Take a moment to think about how you feel after a romp in bed. Is it easier to fall asleep? Are you less stressed out? Part of the reason may be that you've let off a little steam and eased some tension through this simple act. For some people, that's enough to help them nod off faster and sleep better.

Another reason you may feel at ease after sex is because it helps release feel-good hormones in your body that may bring on a closer bond with your partner, says Roach. "For many couples, feeling that kind of closeness can be a good way to put short-term stress in check."

Here's another bonus tip for even better sex: Try and schedule time for sex in the morning. That's when sex hormone levels are at their peak, which is a great window for arousal and orgasm, says Roach.

Article sources open article sources

de Araújo CG. Sexual activity: an exercise to prevent cardiovascular morbidity and mortality?. Expert Rev Cardiovasc Ther. 2009;7(9):1033-1036.
Zavorsky GS, Vouyoukas E, Pfaus JG. Sexual Activity the Night Before Exercise Does Not Affect Various Measures of Physical Exercise Performance. Sex Med. 2019;7(2):235-240.
Brody S. Blood pressure reactivity to stress is better for people who recently had penile-vaginal intercourse than for people who had other or no sexual activity. Biol Psychol. 2006;71(2):214-222.

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