Is Sex Healthy? Here Are A Few Reasons That Prove It

Even though some people might be more conservative when it comes to sex, we can only conclude today that sex is healthy.[1]

Decades of research have taught us several things about how sex contributes to our health. Today, we’re going through some of the most well-known health benefits of having sex.

Before we start, just keep in mind these benefits come from a healthy sex life. It doesn’t mean you ought to go and have as much sex as possible – quite the opposite.[2] Catching an STI can result in the complete opposite effects, and the more careless you are about sex, the higher the chances of contracting one (or more) of these conditions.

Flu and colds

There’s a link between having sex and IgA (immunoglobulin A) levels; people who have sex at least twice every week are likely to have higher levels than those who don’t.[3]

Immunoglobulin A Is the first antibody responsible for keeping colds and the flu at bay. The difference between people who have sex twice per week and people who only do it once is actually quite noticeable.[4]


A lot of people consider sex a workout, and there’s good reason for that. Having sex – and sexual arousal – makes our hearts pump more, thus increasing our blood flow. In other words, sex has the same cardio effects as exercises such as walking or running.

Of course, it’s not as effective as running laps, so it shouldn’t substitute your regular workout routine if you have one. However, it still burns calories, so it can – at least – somewhat make up if you miss cardio one day.

In fact, men in their 30s can burn as many as 21 kilocalories just by having sex. Anyone who works out knows that’s not a lot, but anyone can guess it’s more than you’d burn by watching T.V.

Heart disease

Different studies have pointed to the link between having an active sex life and longer life spans. One of the most common reasons behind it seems to be how sex may decrease the chance of suffering heart attacks and strokes, among similar heart diseases.[5]

Hormone regulation

Women in particular are likely quite aware of how ugly things can get when hormones start going even just a bit crazy. Well, sexual intercourse helps regulate hormone levels, which goes a long way in keeping a regular menstrual cycle.

Other benefits of hormone regulation include a better mood and even reducing negative symptoms from different processes. Mainly, women going through menopause or recovering from childbirth can experience a lot less discomfort if they’re able to have sex during the process.

Physical pain and headaches

It might seem strange that sex can relieve headaches; after all, aren’t they a common reason people put off sex? Certainly, exercising is among the last things in your mind when your head is hurting.

Well, turns out that sex releases an hormone called oxytocin into your body. Oxytocin is often responsible for inducing childbirth, but it’s also responsible for reducing pain.

One experiment – released on the Bulletin of Experimental Biology and Medicine – divided volunteer into two groups: one group would inhale oxytocin via vapor and the other wouldn’t. They then pricked the volunteers’ fingers, and those who didn’t inhale oxytocin experienced twice as much pain as those who did.

Stress and blood pressure

Speaking of oxytocin, there’s another benefit from having it released in our bodies through orgasm. If you’ve ever had one, then you surely can remember how relaxed one can feel after orgasming.[6]

Well, this sensation is also thanks to the mentioned hormone. Studies on rats have proven that oxytocin acts as a counter-effect to cortisol: the most popular stress hormone.[7]

That’s also the reason why so many people feel sleepy after having sex; it promotes better sleep. Add the pseudo-cardio from your physical activity during intercourse, and you’re in the perfect conditions for a good night’s sleep.

Prostate cancer

There used to be a lot of debate between ejaculation and prostate cancer. Some argued it increased the chances while others argued the opposite.

Luckily, a 2003 study showed a link between ejaculation frequency and lower chances of developing prostate cancer in men between 20 and 50 years of age. In fact, the same study suggested that men going through their 20s should benefit from ejaculating once daily.[8]

Another study released a year later followed the same suggestion. According to it, men ejaculating at least 5 times per week had lower chances of getting prostate cancer. The main benefit seems to be linked to clearing out the prostate instead of “accumulating” semen in it.

Breast cancer

Similar to men, women can also help reduce their cancer risk by having sex. This time, is breast cancer: one of the most common cancer types in women – often compared to prostate cancer in men.

Vaginal intercourse seems to be linked with reduced risk of getting breast cancer. However, there are no conclusive studies on this as of yet, but it’s a promising statistic.

Mood and self-esteem

Sex has a lot of psychological benefits – some of which can be traced to the hormonal advantages of having sex. In fact, the mental benefits of sex can go for a good while after orgasming.[9]

Having a healthy and responsible sex life has long-term advantages, mostly related to a feeling of satisfaction and even a stronger ability to communicate with others both intimately and honestly.

Alexithymia – a trait related to a lack of understanding and expressing emotions – is less likely to show on people who have sex regularly.


Preeclampsia refers to a surge in blood pressure that often causes organ dysfunction. It can manifest in pregnant women, more commonly after 20 weeks.[10]

Women might significantly reduce their chances of preeclampsia by exposing themselves to their partner’s semen before conceiving. The same goes for women who practice oral sex regularly, especially when ingesting the ejaculate.


Prolactin levels increase in both women and men after having an orgasm. A 2003 study on mice discovered that this hormone actually promotes neuron production from brain stem cells, particularly in the “smell center”.[11]

One of the researchers suggested that this is actually an evolutionary trait. Heightened prolacting levels post-sex could help forge relevant memories related to mating habits.

Bladder control

The pelvic motions when thrusting are an obvious part of sexual intercourse. What might not be obvious is that they’re virtually the same as Kegel exercises.[12]

Kegel exercises are a common treatment for incontinence – either due to aging or other conditions. In other words, having sex today might reduce your chances of incontinence down the road.


[2] Brody Stuart. The Relative Health Benefits of Different Sexual Activities. Journal of Sexual Medicine. 2010;7(4pt1):1336–61. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]

[3] Butt Dorcas Susan. The Sexual Response as Exercise. Sports Medicine. 1990;9(6):330–43. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]

[4] Cheitlin Melvin D. Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease. American Journal of Cardiology. 2003;92(9):3–8. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]


[6] Cohen S. Social Relationships and Health. American Psychologist. 2004;59(8):676–84. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]


[8] DeLamater John. Sexual Expression in Later Life: A Review and Synthesis. The Journal of Sex Research. 2012;49(2–3):125–41. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]


[10] DeLamater John, Sill Morgan. Sexual Desire in Later Life. The Journal of Sex Research. 2005;42(2):138–49. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]

[11] DeLamater John, Friedrich William N. Human Sexual Development. The Journal of Sex Research. 2002;39(1):10–4. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]