We all know that sex feels incredible. But did you know that it’s also incredibly good for you? It’s true! An active sex life delivers these nine unexpected benefits.

1. Immune system boost

Research shows that sexually active people tend to get sick less often. Why? Because people who have a lot of sex have higher levels of certain antibodies that protect against germs and viruses. In fact, people who have sex twice or more a week had higher levels of antibodies compared to those who have sex less frequently.

2. Improved libido

Which came first: the chicken or the egg? In this case, having sex actually makes you want to have it more often. This is because being aroused makes sex feel better and helps you to crave it.

3. Improved bladder control in women

A strong pelvic floor is important for avoiding incontinence. "Signs that you may have a weak pelvic floor (or in fact, the muscles may be too tight) include bladder control issues, accidentally passing wind, pain in the pelvis and painful sex," the Huffington Post reports. Having good sex frequently is essentially a workout for your pelvic floor muscles. Orgasms strengthen those muscles.

4. Lowered blood pressure

Numerous studies have found that sex, but not masturbation, lowered blood pressure significantly. Aim to have sex a few times a week to reap the benefits.New call-to-action

5. Great exercise

Though sex alone won’t replace an elliptical, it certainly counts for something. In fact, sex uses around five calories per minute, and it also increases your heart rate and engages various muscles. Be sure to clear your schedule to make room for sex on a regular basis. Like with any form of exercise, consistency will maximize the benefits.

6. Reduced risk of heart attack

Having lots of sex is good for your heart, and it also keeps your hormones in check. "Aerobic exercise is generally good for lowering blood pressure, and sex itself may deepen the effect in women," Everyday Health reports. In fact, research shows that people who have sex at least twice a week reduce their risk of experiencing a heart attack by half.

7. Pain relief

Did you know that orgasms can block pain? "Some studies suggest that a good orgasm can more than double a woman's tolerance for pain," Self reports. So instead of reaching for that ibuprofen, aim for an orgasm. Stimulation without orgasm can also reduce pain, including cramps, arthritic pain, and headaches.

8. Better sleep

After you climax, your body releases prolactin, which makes you feel relaxed and sleepy. Women's Health reports that with sex "estrogen levels also increase, which can enhance a woman’s REM cycle for a deeper sleep."

9. Stress relief

In a nutshell, being close to your partner both physically and emotionally can reduce stress, depression, and anxiety. This is because touching another person releases your body’s feel-good hormones, which boost your self-esteem as well.

A fun part of a healthy lifestyle

We've come a long way since the prudish, Victorian attitudes of yesteryear. With sexual liberation has come clear-eyed, scientific insights into the power of the procreative act — beyond procreation, that is. With an attentive, consenting partner you can weave an intimacy that will have you feeling wonderful in both the short and long term.

exercise | health | Relationships | sex