Sex is natural, sex is good (as the song goes), but did you know it's also one of the best things you can do for your health?
The latest research shows that not only does regular sex add years to your lifespan, it can dramatically improve your immunity!
Researchers from the University of Queensland recently discovered that sex hormones in young women stimulate an immune response to rhinoviruses, precursors to the common cold. Translation? Healthy sex can stave off colds.
But women aren't the only ones who benefit from frisky business. Another recent study by the National Cancer Institute in the US found that men with a healthy sex life had less chance of contracting potentially-fatal prostate cancer.
Researchers believe it all comes down to the hormones released during sex.
Alison Richardson, Sexual Health Counsellor for Impotence Australia, says a healthy sex life has numerous physical benefits.
"Research shows regular sex is linked to higher levels of the antibody immunoglobulin A, which may protect us from common colds by boosting the immune system. Your heart also gets a workout, which has been found to be associated with lower risk of fatal coronary heart disease. And the boost in testosterone leads to stronger bones and muscles. But that's not all: orgasm gives a rush of the hormone oxytocin which promotes intimacy by building bonding and trust and can help you relax and sleep better. There is even research that links faster healing of wounds to the increased hormone levels released during sex."
But possibly the best reason to have more sex is because it's one of the easiest ways to stimulate the release of endorphins throughout the body. Endorphins act as natural pain relief, stress relief, euphoria, anti-depressant and immune response rolled into one.
Some studies show they can dramatically reduce our perception of pain similarly to morphine, and others show they regulate addictive tendencies, which have been biologically-linked to serotonin. Endorphin release regulates serotonin levels and promotes longevity, because of the link to better-functioning immune systems.
If you need any more reasons to roll in the hay with someone you love, think about the term "runner's high". The endorphin release from positive, enjoyable sex is like a runner's high but even better. Scientists have found that endorphins are one of the most natural ways to relieve stress and pain in the body. And the best thing? You don't need a prescription.
So, along with a healthy diet, plenty of sleep and regular exercise, start putting sex on your agenda to live happier, healthier and longer.