Aside from reproduction, sex is essential for many reasons in any devoted relationship. It is ultimately all about intimacy, the pleasure, and sexual expression. Intercourse has many positive intellectual, physical, emotional and social benefits. Understanding these benefits will help couples recognize that sex in their relationships will not only help themselves but help bond their relationship further and create a broader sense of intimacy in a loving relationship. Whether this is a long-term relationship or one that’s just starting, sex is an important thing to consider for your overall health.
Physically, an active sex life may yield many benefits, including a youthful appearance due to better dietary habits and frequent exercise. Studies show that sexual activity burns calories and fat, but can also cause people to live more healthy lifestyles in general. People who have intercourse regularly were found to have higher levels of an antibody called immunoglobulin A (IgA), which, according to researchers at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania, combat disease and keep the body safe from colds and the flu.
Sex helps us sleep more comfortably, and through better sleep, sex creates a stronger immune system. Oxytocin released during orgasm promotes a more restful sleep for both individuals. Oxytocin helps other areas of the body as well. It increases levels of oxytocin to the brain and decreases heart problems in both women and men. It can help with pain control, according to a study conducted at the Headache Clinic at Southern Illinois University. The study found that half of the female migraine sufferers reported relief after climaxing. Many other types of pain have been shown to decrease when you are sexually active as well.
For a woman, there is many benefits to having frequent sex, such as experiencing lighter periods with fewer cramps. When the uterus contracts it rids the body of cramp–causing compounds and can expel blood and tissue more quickly, helping to end your period faster. Sex will also lower blood pressure and increase bladder control, which is important for women after giving birth. Orgasm is linked to a decrease in prostate cancer for men and protection against endometriosis for women.
Sex is good for the individual’s emotional health, but also for the overall health of the relationship. Sexual satisfaction is closely correlated with overall quality of life. The increase of sex raises your sense of well–being and satisfaction with yourself. Laura Berman, Ph.D., an assistant clinical professor of OB-GYN, and Psychiatry at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, says orgasms can reduce stress due to the endorphins that are released; these hormones activate pleasure centers in the brain that create feelings of intimacy and relaxation and stave off depression. In a relationship, sex is associated with stability because it increases bonding, especially when each other’s sexual desires are fulfilled.
When the sex is great with you and your partner in bed, your confidence will increase in other areas. According to sex therapist Sandor Gardos, “When things go well in bed, you feel more confident and powerful in other parts of your life,” thus making us more daring and uninhibited in life. It boosts our self–esteem, our sense of being attractive, desirable, proficient and confident. Which in turn brings positive thinking and actions to our personal lives. For our relationships, our increased intimacy due to loving physical contact results in a high amount of oxytocin, released during sex and kissing. We developed the urge to bond, which is where the desire to cuddle and hold each other comes from. Sex with someone you are not in love with can still be pleasurable but doesn’t fulfill the emotional need, which is why it is better to save this for someone you care about.
After talking to several married couples that have been married for two years or more, I received insight into how important sex is in maintaining a healthy relationship. All the married couples stressed that sex is very important in a committed relationship because it maintains a level of intimacy that both people need in order to succeed. They also suggested that it helps one partner bond with the other partner and creates a sense of happiness. All agree that it maintains that so-called “spark” that is often needed so keep desire going throughout the chaotic life that most couples have with financial responsibilities, social engagements, and child rearing. Otherwise, it can often feel like you are in a roommate–type partnership instead of a marriage. Sex between partners helps to maintain an overall sense of well–being.