There are a few things most of us women have in common: we appreciate a decadent dessert, we love a clearance sale at our favorite store and we all wouldn't mind looking and feeling younger and healthier.
Some of us are so devoted to our personal fountain of youth, we invest small fortunes into overflowing bathrooms filled with lotions and potions, visits to trainers, doctors, nutritionists and healers … whatever it takes to find the miracles that will give us smoother skin, fuller hair, less aches and pains, reduce terminal illness risk and just overall, make us feel awesome. Well as it turns out, the secret to youth might just be right between the sheets: sex!
That's right. Sure, sex feels good and deepens those lovey feelings, but it is proven that sex is good for you be good for you—physically. An active sex regimen, (2-3 times per week), has fascinating and evidenced-based benefits. So if sex hasn't been a priority in your life, you MIGHT want to put it at the top of your "to do" list because your sexcapades could actually save your life (and strengthen your teeth).
Behold, the 16 health and beauty benefits we reap from having sex:
1. Keeps Skin Young AND Healthy
Sex increases blood circulation, which helps pump oxygen to our skin resulting in a brighter appearance. Hence: that after-sex glow. Regular sexual engagement has prolonged effects in this regard and can actually make us look younger. Sex boosts our natural collagen production, which staves off age spots and sagging. So simply put? More wrinkles in the bed equals fewer wrinkles on your face!
2. Boosts Immunity
You know the old saying, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away"? Turns out there was a typo in that medical journal. It should have said, "Having sex once or twice a week increases levels of an antibody called immunoglobin A (the stuff that fights off colds and other infections), which really keeps the doctor away!" So more sex means a stronger immune system. It's time to cash in those unused sick days as SEX days!
3. Makes Hair Shine
Hormones not only control our sex drive, but they affect the way our hair looks. Research has shown that a satisfying sex life results in healthy, lush hair due to the body's increased ability to receive and metabolize nutrients efficiently. Proof positive that Angelina Jolie and Catherina Zeta-Jones have healthy sex lives!
4. Produces Healthy Sperm
We know men are proud of their sperm counts, but now we are too! Several studies show that men who have frequent sex have higher volumes of semen, a higher sperm count and a higher percentage of healthy sperm compared to men who have infrequent sex. This is good news for women because research shows that semen helps us combat depression, boosts our energy and even helps us have a smoother delivery, if we're pregnant.
5. Reduces Stress
Life is stressful. And while there are many proven ways to cure stress: daily exercise, evening glass of wine, b*tch-fest with a BFF, morning meditation, a walk on the beach and so on—a good, old-fashioned sex session does the trick, too! Though blood pressure levels spike during the act itself, maintaining a healthy sex life helps us keep blood pressure and stress levels low.
6. Strengthens Nails
The same sex-triggered hormones that make your skin glow also make our nails strong, which means less splitting and breaking, and longer-lasting manicures.
7. Improves Heart Health
Want your guy to live to 100? Sex can help! Research shows that men who have sex 2+ times per week have a lower risk of heart disease than those who have sex less than once a month. Of course, I've yet to meet a guy who needed cardiovascular research to convince him to have more frequent romps in the sack, but isn't it nice to know we are helping our guys' hearts whenever we have sex?
8. Zaps Zits
Say bye-bye to acne treatments and miracle pills! Sex balances our hormone levels, which results in clearer skin. Probably good we didn't know this in high school...
9. Hydrates Skin
Now here is some real science for you: sex improves circulation, gives the body the moisture it needs to stay healthy. Translation: no more dry skin. Furthermore, having sweaty sex is like a facial for your skin, as sweat expels excess dirt from our pores. Your man: the sex god and the esthetician? Who knew?
10. Acts As A Natural Pain Killer
Oxytocin, one of the chemicals released during sex, increases endorphins and decreases pain, particularly headaches. So that headache excuse isn't going to cut it anymore! Sex also speeds up the healing of wounds, even stubborn sores like those suffered by diabetics. Before heading to the medicine cabinet, why not try a quickie first?
11. Sheds Pounds
Got a few pounds to lose but aren't willing to abandon your love affair with hot wings and chocolate cake? Sex could be an option! While it's not as productive at weight loss as more traditional cardio or strength training, we burn an average of 170 calories per hour of active sex, which is about a pound after 21 hour-long sessions. There are certainly WORSE ways to lose weight.
12. Lowers Cancer Risk
We love our guys, so let's love their prostates too by helping them get off more often. Studies show that men in their 20s who ejaculate 5+ times a week reduced their risk of prostate cancer by a third, and older men reporting 21+ ejaculations per month lowered their risk as well. As for us ladies, regular sex reduces our risk of breast cancer.
13. Fights Cavities
Turns out that semen is chock-full of zinc, calcium and other tooth decay-fighting minerals that benefit us when our bodies absorb it. While having lots of sex can't replace a biannual trip to the dentist, having extra doses of these minerals certainly can't hurt our pearly whites.
14. Promotes Sleep
Ever wondered why your man konks out after sex? Turns out, he's not trying to avoid a cuddle session. The oxytocin released during orgasm is to blame. Skip the warm milk or the sleeping pill the next time you can't sleep and try getting busy instead.
15. Keeps The Love Alive
Oxytocin is known as the "love hormone" because it helps people build trust and bond with one other. The more a couple has sex, the more oxytocin they exchange and, by default, the more bonded they feel. Oxytocin increases feelings of generosity, too, so if you wind up with more random acts of kindness like surprise flowers, you have this miracle hormone to thank.
16. Boosts Self-Esteem
There is good sex and then there is GREAT sex, and one of the differentiators is your self-esteem. When you feel amazing about yourself, sex is infinitely better. But here is the catch: having sex actually boosts your self-esteem. So the next time you're feeling so-so on the sexy scale, see if a good romp doesn't do the trick.
This pose doesn't sound sexy by name, but it is by practice! Lie on your back with your tailbone on the floor. Hold the outside edges of your feet with your hands and draw your knees down towards the floor. Gets everything nice and open!
Theresa Polley, host and instructor at Retreat in the Pines yoga retreat says this makes it perfect for hip opening—and other areas, as well. In fact, this pose is often also called Happy Husband!