We all love a good throw down every now and again because, let’s be real, it’s a great time. But guys, here’s a little secret: Sex is more than just an evening (or afternoon or morning) of fun. In fact, according to science, getting busy on the regular can benefit your overall health in some pretty major ways.
In the spirit of empowering ladies everywhere to get it on as much as they can, we’ve compiled a list of 16 medially-proven reasons you should be having more sex.
1. Moderate sex can cure a cold
Not only does sex make you more content in your relationship, but it also keeps you healthier. In 1999, researchers at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania found that college students who had sex once or twice a week had higher levels of a certain antibody that provided a boost to their immune systems, compared to students who had sex less—or more—often.
2. Sex lowers your blood pressure
One study shows that sexual intercourse specifically—as opposed to masturbation or other forms of sex play—has a significant impact on lowering systolic blood pressure (the first number on your blood pressure reading, or the force with which your heart is squeezing to release blood outward).
3. It counts as exercise
While sex does burn calories, it doesn’t burn as many as you think. In fact, according to WebMD, a 30-minute romp can burn around of 85 to 100 calories. There are ways to burn more though, beyond making sex last longer.
“If you’re on top, try moving your hips like a belly dancer; this feels great and will give you a workout,” Jaiya Kinzbach, a Los Angeles–based sexologist and the author told Women’s Day. “Also try a position where you squat on top of him and then bounce up and down. This is a great workout for your thighs and butt, and it can burn up to 207 calories in 30 minutes.”
4. Sex reduces a man’s risk of dying of a heart attack
One study found that men who had sex at least twice a week were half as likely to die from heart disease than men who had sex less often. That’s a huge decrease in risk, and considering that most men are big fans of sex to begin with, it’s just one more reason for your guy to get involved.
5. Orgasm has the power to reduce pain
Next time you have a headache, try an orgasm instead of that Advil. “Orgasm can block pain,” Barry R. Komisaruk, PhD, and distinguished service professor at Rutgers, told WebMD. ” It releases a hormone that helps raise your pain threshold.” Additionally, for ladies, masturbation can reduce mind-numbing menstrual cramps.
6. It helps you sleep better
There’s a reason everyone in movies shows swiftly nods off after sex. “It all has to do with hormone production during intercourse, Saralyn Mark, M.D., associate professor of medicine and OB/GYN at the Yale School of Medicine, told Women’s Health, which also points out that sex boosts the production of euphoric oxytocin and decreases the production of stress hormone cortisol. This shift leave your body in a relaxed state, making it easier for you to fall asleep. Plus, estrogen levels also increase, which can enhance a woman’s REM cycle for a deeper sleep, according to a study published in the Journal of Women’s Health.
7. It brings you closer
For folks in committed relationships, having sex with your partner will help bring you closer together, again thanks to the boost in oxytocin. Even if you’re not in a relationship, a spike in oxytocin could explain why we tend to get attached to people we sleep with.
8. It makes you look younger
One study done by researchers at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital in Scotland found that older people who were enjoying lots of sex with a steady partner—four times a week, on average—were perceived to be seven to 12 years younger than their actual age. Researchers looked at participants through one-way mirrors and guessed their ages; they found that the hormones released during regular sex, like testosterone and estrogen, keep the body looking young. For us ladies, estrogen has also been shown to give us soft skin and shiny hair.
9. It can help ease depression
“When a person has an orgasm alone or with a partner, it gives a boost to serotonin and raises endorphins and opioids, the brain’s so-called happy chemicals,” writes sex therapist Dr. Stephanie Buehler in Sex, Love, and Mental Illness. “Sex also boosts self-esteem.” Win-win!
10. It trumps money in the happiness factor
According to one U.S. study, sex makes people happier for a longer period of time than money.
11. It will give you a literal energy boost
According to some sources, men can transfer energy to their female partners via the testosterone in their semen. This means unprotected sex—with a partner you trust and whose medical history you know, of course—is a literal shot of energy, ladies.
12. Sex can regulate your menstrual cycle
Endocrinologists at both Columbia and Stanford found that women who have sex at least once a week have more regular menstrual cycles than those who have sex less frequently.
13. It heightens your senses
Studies have shown that sex increases the acuteness of senses like taste and smell—which just means that when you’ve finished your romp, you can enjoy that slice of pizza, piece of chocolate, or glass of red wine that much more.
14. It can reduce a man’s risk of prostate cancer
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, the more a man ejaculates, the lower his risk of getting prostate cancer.
15. Sex can help keep a man committed
One 2012 study found that oxytocin, the hormone responsible for creating feelings of love, is elevated in men after sex, and that oxytocin drives men in committed relationships to stay away from other potential partners.
16. It can actually give you swagger
How’s this for awesome: one study showed that vaginal orgasms gave women “a gait that comprises fluidity, energy, sensuality, freedom, and absence of both flaccid and locked muscles.” Translation: It boosted your swagger.
Originally published July 2015. Updated July 2017.