In a supportive relationship, there are many benefits to having more sex. Higher rates of sexual activity are linked to positive changes, such as lower blood pressure, reduced stress, greater intimacy, and even a lower divorce rate.1 While there are no one-size-fits-all rules when it comes to an ideal sex frequency, here’s some insight from the latest research.
Psychological Benefits of Sex
There are many emotional and psychological benefits of making love. Sex is strongly linked to a better quality of life. Some of these benefits include:
Physical Benefits of Increased Sex
It’s fairly intuitive to understand how sex improves emotional health, but there are a number of physical benefits from sex as well. Some of these include:
Better physical fitness: Sex is a form of exercise. According to the American Heart Association, sexual activity is equivalent to moderate physical activities, like brisk walking or climbing two flights of stairs.7 The motion of sex can tighten and tone abdominal and pelvic muscles. For women, improved muscle tone improves bladder control.
Enhanced brain function: Preliminary studies on rats found that more frequent intercourse was correlated with better cognitive function and the growth of new brain cells. Similar benefits have since been observed in human studies. A 2018 study of over 6,000 adults linked frequent sex with better memory performance in adults ages 50 and older.8
Improved immune function: Being more sexually active has positive effects on immune function.9 Regular sex may even lower your likelihood of getting a cold or the flu.
Lower pain levels: The endorphins from sex promote more than just a sense of well-being and calm. Sex endorphins also appear to reduce migraine and back pain.
May promote weight loss: Having sex for 30 minutes burns an average of 200 calories.10
The rewarding brain chemicals released during sex can subdue food cravings and support weight loss.
Positive cardiac effects: Sexual activity (but not masturbation) has been linked with lower systolic blood pressure.11 Elevated blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Sexual activity helps dilate blood vessels, increasing the delivery of oxygen and nutrients throughout the body while reducing blood pressure.
Additional physical benefits: Being more sexually active boosts libido and increases vaginal lubrication. Frequent intercourse is associated with lighter menstrual periods and less painful period cramps. In addition, an improved sense of smell, healthier teeth, better digestion, and glowing skin may be related to the release of DHEA by the body after sex.
Potential Hazards of More Sex
It was once believed that sex increases the risk of prostate cancer. However, a 2016 study discovered that men who had more ejaculations (21 or more per month) were less likely to develop the disease than men who had fewer ejaculations (seven or less per month). Since prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men,12 this effect worth noting.
For some, sex may increase the chances of a heart attack. Despite this risk, higher sex frequency may help. A 2011 study found that regular sexual activity diminishes heart attacks. Sex, along with other forms of physical activity, is protective. But, infrequent bursts of activity put added strain on the heart.13 Discuss your sexual activity with your doctor to evaluate your risks.
A Word From Verywell
Having sex more often (or at least a minimum of once a week) provides multiple benefits for a loving and supportive relationship. That being said, growing intimacy is still possible if you are unable to have sex.
If you are not having sex regularly, ask yourself why. Sometimes seeing a sex therapist may be the best way to work through your relationship and personal issues. Therapy benefits individuals and couples alike.