Sex can extend your life. The Longevity Project, a US study of more than 1,500 people conducted since 1921, found that women who orgasmed frequently lived longer than those who orgasmed rarely. Although researchers don't know exactly why, the findings suggest you don't necessarily need a partner to get the health benefits from sex.
There's been a lot of research done on how to keep your brain sharp, and a study published in 2017 suggests the answer might be as simple as having sex. Coventry and Oxford Universities took a closer look at the brains of men and women over 50, and researchers found that those who "engaged in sexual activity regularly had better cognitive function than those who did not or rarely engage in sexual activity" ”.
Likewise, researchers at the University of Amsterdam found that sexual thoughts can improve analytical thinking. They asked 30 people to imagine taking a long, loving walk with their partner, and another 30 people were asked to imagine having sex with someone they didn't love. They then gave all 60 participants cognitive tests and found that those who thought about love performed better on creative tasks but scored worse on analytical questions, while the reverse was true for those who thought about sex.
Physical exercise is good for your body and yes, sex is important too. Sexual activity with your usual partner is equivalent to light to moderate physical activity, such as climbing stairs or a short brisk walk.
In today's busy culture, sex may be one of the first things checked off your priority list, but it may actually help reduce your stress levels. According to sexual health physician Dr. Michael Lowe, the body releases chemicals—namely oxytocin and vasopressin, as well as smaller amounts of dopamine and serotonin—that are all designed to make you feel good.
A 2010 U.S. study on mice confirmed this. Mice that had sex every day for two weeks had cell growth in the hippocampus (the part of the brain that controls stress levels) and lower levels of cortisol (a hormone that signals high stress).
The benefits of sex aren't just personal - it can also strengthen relationships. According to a 2011 study from Melbourne's La Trobe University, people who are dissatisfied with the frequency of sex in their relationships are more likely to report lower overall relationship satisfaction.
So the big question is, how many times should you have sex to feel all of these benefits? While the answer to this question depends largely on the needs of each couple, the magic number may be once a week.
Research shows that couples who have sex once a week report greater relationship satisfaction than couples who have sex less than once a week. But couples who have sex more than once a week don't necessarily have more satisfying relationships.