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11 (more) reasons to have sex

Regular sex is more than just fun (oh, and the primary means of propagating the human species). It can also play a pivotal role in your physical, psychological and emotional health. If ever you needed another reason to indulge yourself, take your pick:

1. It’s gene-ius. British scientists have found that a single sperm molecule has wide-ranging impacts on female genes that govern  fertility, immunity, behaviour, eating and sleep patterns. Although these effects were seen in fruit flies, the researchers believe many may occur in higher animal,s including humans. `We tested the effects of one enigmatic seminal fluid protein, known as the ‘sex peptide’, and found it to change the expression of a remarkable array of many genes in females – both across time and in different parts of the body,’ says lead scientist Professor Tracey Chapman, from the University of East Anglia. `There were significant alterations to genes linked to egg development, early embryogenesis, immunity, nutrient sensing, behaviour and, unexpectedly, phototransduction – or the pathways by which they see. [The research] showed that the semen protein is a “master regulator” – which ultimately means that males effectively have a direct and global influence on the behaviour and reproductive system of the female. Such effects may well occur across many species.’ The research is published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

2. It makes you healthier and happier. Sexually active people take fewer sick days and have more fun generally, according to Dr Ted Mcllvenna, of the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco. Dr McIllvenna conducted an ongoing study of the sex lives of 90,000 American adults.

3. It regulates your hormones. Pre-menopausal women who have sex at least once a week are more likely to have regular menstrual cycles than those who are celibate or partake irregularly, according to research conducted by behavioural endocrinology specialist Dr Winnifred Cutler, director of the Athena Institute for Women’s Wellness in Pennsylvania.

4 . It boosts oestrogen. The aforementioned Dr Cutler asked several hundred female students to keep a record of their menstrual cycles and sexual behaviour. Those who had a least weekly sex with a man had significantly higher levels of oestrogen in their blood. The key female hormone promotes a healthy cardiovascular system, lowers bad cholesterol and raises good cholestrol, increases bone density and keeps skin supple and youthful-looking.

5. It’s good for your weight. Having sex burns at least ??? kj (4.2 calories) per minute as compared with four calories per minute playing tennis for an average woman weighing 54kg, estimates Dr Alfred Franger, a professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at the Medical College of Wisconsin,

6. It gives you better muscle tone. Gripping a penis with your vagina does what Kegel exercises do – tones and conditions the muscles of the pelvic floor, according to Martica K Heaner, American fitness guru and author. Pelvic floor muscles play a vital function when it comes to good posture, straighter back and flatter abdominals.

7. It relieves period pain. Orgasms may  help to relieve menstrual cramps, which are the result of the endometrial lining of the uterus being oversensitive to the hormone-like substance, prostaglandin. `These  hormones have a way of making the uterus go into spasm, triggering pain-inducing nerve fibres,’ says Dr Roy Levin, a lecturer in physiology at Britain’s Sheffield University.

8. It boosts your immune system. Orgasms boost infection-fighting cells up by 20 per cent, according to British gynaecologist Dr Dudley Chapman.

9. It reduces stress. `During arousal, your muscles tense; during orgasm, they twitch, then relax completely,’ says 1950s sex researcher, Alfred Kinsey.

10. It relieves pain. In studies carried out by researchers Beverly Whipple and Barry Komisaruk from Rutgers University, New Jersey, women with conditions such as arthritis and whiplash gain a higher pain threshold through regular orgasms.

11. It can clear your head. In a twist on the `not tonight darling, I have a headache’ excuse for avoiding sex, a South Illinois School of Medicine study on 52 migraine sufferers reported that 16 experienced considerable relief after an orgasm and another eight were cured of their headaches.



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