Sex. Every species’ biological imperative. We don’t talk about it as a society like we really should. Governments ban sexual images, companies perpetuate them, we try to keep our kids away from them and there’s an abundance of sex related movies, TV shows and Internet material. Depending on your point of view, we either live in a highly sexual culture or one that is highly suppressive towards the subject of sex. Most adults want sex, men believe they don’t get enough. Women want it as well, although a higher percentage of women claim not to need it as often to be happy. There is a direct link between sex and happiness. Here are some interesting statistics to consider:
From a 2011 study on sex in Personality and Social Psychology Review:
“Over half the men in their national sample reported thinking about sex every day, whereas only one fifth of the women reported thinking about sex that often.”
“… found that “husbands continued to prefer intercourse more frequently than wives”. In fact, wives consistently reported that they were quite satisfied with the amount of sex they had in their marriages, but men on average wished for about a 50% increase.”
From the Paris Review (2014):
“Forty million Americans describe themselves as sex-starved. According to Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist at Rutgers and chief scientific consultant to the dating site chemistry.com, it is often a question of mismatched libidos—an adventurer paired with a traditionalist, for example.”
“Studies show single Americans are having sex especially rarely. Some have blamed Internet porn; the American sex therapist Ian Kerner theorized that everyone was too tired.”
“In a survey of five thousand Americans, 70 percent said they experienced sexual boredom in their relationship, but eighty percent of married couples said they would remarry the same person.
Women get bored sexually with the same partner much sooner than men. According to one study, women experience “a catastrophic decline of interest” after three years whereas men show a much more gradual erosion.”
Men and women approach the idea and subject of sex very differently as seen from the excerpts. There also exists a very strong correlation between physical fitness level and sexual activity and desirability. Study by Penhollow and Young (2004) found frequency of exercise and physical fitness enhanced attractiveness and increased energy levels. They write that those who exercise are more likely to experience a greater level of satisfaction and a positive perception of self, which may cause them to believe they are more desirable and may perform better sexually. Both male and females who are physically fit are also more likely to describe themselves as more sexually desirable—thus improving their self-image and the likelihood they engage in sex. Lesson: the more fit you are, the better and more often you have sex.
Sex, despite it’s negative association with STD’s and adultery, can offer a whole host of healthy benefits. The act of sex releases many hormones that contribute to overall well-being, such as oxytocin. Sex also releases endorphins, which can improve mood and block pain. Moreover, every time you reach orgasm, the hormone DHEA increases in response to sexual excitement and orgasm. DHEA can boost your immune system, improve cognition, keep skin healthy, and even work as an antidepressant. Therefore, the added health benefit is that you will feel—and look—younger, longer.
I’ve touched on the relationship between fitness and sex, but sex itself can be considered aerobic exercise, burning up to 200 calories per session. Among other benefits, women who engage in regular sexual activity with their partners have higher levels of estrogen, which protects against heart disease. Research has found that men who have sex two times per week have fewer heart attacks than those who do not. The hormones released during sex cause an increase in blood pressure and heart rate, and it engages almost every muscle in the body. After sex, blood vessels dilate and blood pressure is then reduced. This change in blood vessel constriction may also help with tension headaches. NOTE—those with unhealthy or uncontrolled blood pressure issues should be wary. Consult your doctor often to see if you are healthy enough for sex.
So there you go. A little talk about sex. Did it make you uncomfortable? Did you maybe learn something? Do you want to go the club and lift weights to increase your desire and attraction level? Good. That’s the point of all this—to get you thinking about all aspects of your life and how health plays the ultimate role in your success in those areas. And, in case you needed another reason to stay fit, now you have it.