Health benefits of sex

Juanita Watts, MD, Kaiser Permanente’s women’s health leader in Southern California, reveals 3 health benefits to having a healthy sex life.

1. It reduces stress. Sex affects the levels of stress-relieving hormones. When oxytocin (known as the “cuddle hormone”) and endorphins elevate, you’ll experience feelings of euphoria, calmness, well-being, and relaxation. As the levels of dopamine drop and prolactin rise, feelings of satisfaction and sleepiness settle in. Get ready for an improved mood and a great night’s sleep.

2. It burns calories. Just like any other total-body workout, sex burns calories. Depending on your exertion, you could burn the same amount of calories as you would with a 15-minute brisk walk on the treadmill. Sexual activity can strengthen muscles, increase flexibility, and boost cardiovascular conditioning.

3. It strengthens your pelvic muscles. The pelvic floor muscles, which help control the flow of urine, contract and relax during sex. Exercising these muscles, as with Kegel exercises gives you more pleasure during sex and helps reduce the risk of urinary leakage.

Learn more about Kegel exercises and sexual health for women, including practicing safer sex, in our women’s health center. You also can listen to a recorded Health Talk webinar on “The Benefits of Physical Intimacy,” moderated by Kaiser Permanente’s Bryna Barsky-Ex, PhD, clinical licensed psychologist.

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