Tuesday, July 13, 2010

(via Cosmopolitan♥)
Talk about getting your knickers in a twist. When earlier this year a brochure from the British National Health Service announced, “An orgasm a day keeps the doctor away,” it created an immediate brouhaha, with educators and health experts calling it deplorable and warning that it would encourage "risky" behavior and STDs.

Okay, maybe the Health Service did go a bit too far when they created a page from a fictional high-school girl’s weekly planner with handwritten reminders to “masturbate!” and “bring condoms to the date on Saturday!” But it turns out, they have a very strong point. “There are a number of health benefits to be gained from having sex or an orgasm — or many orgasms — daily,” says Yvonne K. Fulbright, PhD, author of Pleasuring: The Secrets of Sexual Satisfaction. The stress-relief goodies are obvious, along with better sleep and some PMS pain relief. But that’s just the small stuff.

In Peak Condition
Experts agree that there’s growing evidence of wide-ranging health benefits of orgasms, starting with the biggie: longevity. Research shows that men who have two or more orgasms a week live longer than do guys who have fewer than that. And while female orgasms haven’t yet been studied separately, another study shows that women who report enjoying intercourse live longer than do women who reported less pleasure in sex.

One reason for the longevity bonus could be that orgasms have positive effects on various organs and body systems. For instance, says Beverly Whipple, PhD, coauthor of The Orgasm Answer Guide, “Studies are showing that as sexual activity goes up, the risk of breast cancer goes down.” This could be due to the surge of hormones like oxytocin that comes with arousal and orgasm, the research suggests.

There is also evidence that frequent orgasms may protect against heart attacks and keep our brains healthy. “Functional MRI images show that women’s brains utilize much more oxygen during orgasm than usual, similar to the effects of exercise,” says Barry Komisaruk, PhD, coauthor of The Science of Orgasm. “In other words, the brain is being nourished,” which helps keep your mind sharp.

Meanwhile, you’re also blocking pain. Studies have shown that orgasms can work as natural analgesics to help alleviate menstrual cramps, migraines, and other aches. “Instead of ‘Not tonight. I have a headache,’” says Whipple, “maybe it should be, ‘Yes, tonight. I have a headache.’”

It’s possible that the hormone rush during climax may also function as a natural sedative, Whipple adds. A study of more than 1,800 American women who reported masturbating found that a whopping 32 percent said they did so to help them drop off to sleep.

And — maybe partly because of all that stress relief and beauty sleep — orgasms are good for your looks as well. In a study of 3,500 people, those who were rated to look 7 to 12 years younger than they they nearly always achieve orgasm alone, while less than half say that holds true during sex with a partner.

Satisfaction Guaranteed
But if you plan to have a daily orgasm the way you plan to have your yogurt and granola in the morning, won’t that make sex a tad unspontaneous? Au contraire, says Fulbright. “Daily is an ideal. You may not always have the time or the energy, but why not aim high?” Take it out of a to-do list mental category, she advises, and think of it as a personal investment. And use the frequency as an incentive to experiment. “Explore the differences in response and the potential different kinds of orgasms you can have,” she says.

Including the solo kind, which offers the same boons as boyfriend-induced Os, according to Whipple. You don’t need to be in a relationship with another person for regular orgasms to be a huge health plus, she says, adding, “You can be in a relationship with yourself and get the same benefits.”

Not only does all this stimulation kind of bathe you in a sexy glow — if you’re having that much sex, it’s going to be on your mind more, and that shows on your face and in your movements — but it also becomes this fabulous self-fulfilling prophecy. Because you’re thinking about it more, your hormone levels are you have more sex...which makes you think about sex more often. Even if youdon’t end up living longer, you’ll have a helluva lot more fun.

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