1. Less heart atttacks and strokes
Films often depick men having heart attacks in the throes of passion, yet the estimates of this happening are about one in a million. Research actually shows that having sex several times a week may cut your risk of a heart attack or stroke in half.
"Sex releases feel-good hormones such as dehydroepiandrosterone and oxytocin," says Dr Darren Russell, president of the Australasian Chapter of Sexual Health Medicine. "Your get more blood moving through the blood vessels."
2. Lowers blood pressure and stress
A small Scottish study exposed people to stessful situations and found that those who had regular sexual intercourse responded better to stress than those who engagged in other sexual activities or abstrained. A hug can do wonders , too: a US study found it can lower blood pressure and heart rates in premenopausal women. "Touch releases quantities of oxytocin, so you don't have to orgasm," Dr Morrissey says.
3. Reduces depression
Those feel-good hormones also help keep depression at bay, although US psychologist Dr Gordon Gallup found that women whose partners did not wear a condom during sex were less likely to be depressed than those whose did. His theory? Semen contains the hormone prostaglandin, which may be absorted through the vagina and act like an antidepressant. But this doesn't mean you should avoid condoms, he warns.
4. Prevents osteoporosis
"Men and women who have regular sex have higher testosterone levels, which are linked to a lower risk of osteoporosis and bone problems," says Dr Russell. More studies are needed.
5. Keeps colds and flu at bay
Lots of sex means fewer colds and flu, say researchers from Wikes University in Pennsylvania, USA. They found that having sex once or twice a week increased production of the immune-boosting anibody immunoglobulin by a third. A German study found that even masturbation can increase men's white blood cells.
6. Prevents prostate cancer
Several large studies have shown that men in their 20s who ejaculate frequently (about 21 times a month) can reduce their risk of prostate cancer later in life by a third, compared to those who ejacuate five to seven times a month.
7. Relieves heaaches
Research shows that sex can alleviate an aching noggin, especially in women. The endorphins and corticosteroids released have an analgaesic effect, alleviate the pain of headaches, arthritis, cramps and bogy aches.
8. Improves sleep
Dr Russell presribes sex for people with sleep problems. "Sex helps people sleep better and is less addictive than things like Valium," he says. Again, it's those powerful oxytocins at work. In turn, sleep boosts mental and phsical health.
9. Keeps you fit
Some experts say that 30 minutes of vigorous sex is comparalbe to 15 minutes on a treadmill or walking up two flighs of stairs, and burns between 360 and 835 kilojoules. Sex works the pelvis, thighs, buttocks, arms, neck and thorax. Your pulse rate doubles from about 70 beats per minute to 150, the same as an anthlete mid-stride.
10. Prevents incontinence
The muscles that stem the flow of urine, reducing leakage and incontinence, are given a workout during sex, says Dr Morrissey. "Orgams is best because the entrie pelvic floor contracts." Flexing your pelvic muscles during sex maximises the benefits and makes sex more pleasurable.