It’s not rocket science ― sex plays an important role in enhancing and maintaining a loving relationship between you and your spouse.
Explains Eros Coaching clinical sexologist Dr Martha Tara Lee, “Oxytocin, in particular, a hormone released during and after sex, has been shown to make women bond, trust and also feel more generous towards their partners.”
Another neurotransmitter — serotonin — functions like an antidepressant making people smile and feel happy and relaxed after intercourse. Dr Lee says, “Sex contributes to our well-being, enhances emotional attachment and facilitates intimacy in our relationships.”
“We can get so goal-oriented that we may be rushing the process of having sex that we can forget to enjoy ourselves.”
So, why aren’t couples having sex more often? An obvious reason is stress, which can affect your performance in the bedroom. The pressure to conceive can lead to added stress for you and your spouse. Besides, after a long day in the office, all you probably want to do is hit the sack, forget any co-curricular activities with the significant other.
For some couples, an inability to have an orgasm could be affecting your decision to make love. Dr Lee points out, “We can get so goal-oriented that we may be rushing the process of having sex that we can forget to enjoy ourselves.”
Ironically, feeling pressured about achieving an orgasm can lead to you not having one. Dr Lee stresses, “Being concerned about what is “supposed” to work or is “normal” is a good way to prevent yourself and your partner from just appreciating [sex].”
You shouldn’t get fixated on an “optimal” frequency for sex, either. Dr Joe Lee, consultant at Department of Urology, National University Hospital, says “It is important that the frequency of sex is adequate in meeting both partner’s expectations for intimacy, so as to achieve better mental well-being.”
But if you’re still on the prowl for more reasons to “get jiggy” with your spouse, the following benefits from sex may hold the key:
For both ladies and gents…
1) Burns calories — 85 calories, this is how much energy you’ll burn in half an hour of sex. Dr Joe Lee notes that in an average man, this works out to about 3.6 calories burnt per minute. SmartParents expert and ob-gyn at Gleneagles Hospital, Dr Christopher Chong notes that you can easily burn more than 100 calories. “Sex has been rated as one of the highest calorie-burning activities.”
2) A good form of cardio exercise Another great reason to ditch the gym for a romp: Regular sex at moderate intensity can improve your heart health. An orgasm increases your heart-rate and thus improves your cardiovascular system and blood circulation.
“Sex has been rated as one of the highest calorie burning activities.”
3) Strengthens muscles Ob-Gyn Dr Peter Chew says sex is like a workout for the pelvic-floor muscles. During an orgasm, your pelvic-floor muscles will contract, which strengthens them. And having routine orgasms lowers your risk of urinary incontinence later in life, too.
For men, trying out different sex positions won’t just spice up your bedroom activities, it can strengthen different sets of muscles, too. Depending on the position, some may work out muscles in the upper part of your body, others, the lower end. Dr Lee notes, “For men, the group of muscles consistently used and strengthened during sex are muscles involved in the pelvic thrust.” These include:
- Abdominal wall.
- Lower back.
- Pelvic-floor muscles.
- Gluteus (muscles in your hip, upper leg and buttocks).
Even if your spouse is pregnant, it doesn’t mean that you should stick with the same old, same old. Find some baby bump-friendly sex positions and put it to good use ― tonight!
For the ladies…
4) Gives you a youthful glow Hormones like oestrogen and testosterone are released after sex with your spouse. These hormones are crucial in keeping the body looking young and vital, notes Dr Chew. “Oestrogen has been shown to promote soft skin and shiny hair.”
5) Relieves aches and pains If you routinely suffer from headaches, arthritis or cramps brought about by Aunt Flo, intercourse may improve your pain symptoms. Oxytocin and endorphins are several hormones released after sex. Dr Chew points out, “Endorphins are natural painkillers that closely resemble morphine.” A study has also found that half of women who suffered from migraines reported feeling relieved after climaxing.
“Endorphins are natural painkillers that closely resemble morphine.”
6) Boosts quality of sleep Besides oestrogen and testosterone, hormones like prolactin, oxytocin and endorphins all help to promote a restful slumber.
7) Improves bonds and prolongs life Sex increases intimacy and enables you to strengthen your marriage, an also prevents feelings of isolation, depression and loneliness. Good marriages, in turn, have been known to improve women’s longevity, adds Dr Chew.
For the gents…
8) Lower your risk of prostate cancer Ejaculating often in a month can lower your risk of suffering from prostate cancer. Dr Lee points out, “Studies have shown that men who have frequent ejaculations of 21 times or more within a month in their younger days have a lower risk of developing prostate cancer when they are older.” The figure is based on ejaculating during sex or masturbation.
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