Monday, January 22, 2007

Researching the Big O

The Health Benefits of Orgasm

A staggering number of scientific studies clearly show that orgasms are good for you! There are the obvious physical benefits: the heavy breathing and elevated heart rate that occur during sexual arousal and orgasm help keep tissues and organs healthier by circulating oxygen. As an exercise, it burns off just slightly more calories per minute than playing tennis. However, there are a number of additional benefits that medical science is discovering.

The latest research comes from Australia. A study led by Graham Giles of The Cancer Council Victoria in Melbourne concluded that the more men ejaculate between the ages of 20 and 50, the less likely they are to develop prostate cancer. Other research shows that regular male orgasm can also help prevent a condition called nonspecific prostatitis, which causes painful urination.

Serious research on sexuality began in the U.S. in the 1950's with Alfred Kinsey and his famous Kinsey reports. Kinsey reported that sex reduces stress, and that people who have fulfilling sex lives are less anxious, less violent and less hostile.
In the 1970's, a study at Duke University found that the frequency of sexual intercourse for men was associated with lower death rates, and that the enjoyment of sexual intercourse by women was associated with a longer life.

Similar conclusions were reached in a study done in Caerphilly, Wales, and published in the December 1997 British Medical Journal under the title, "Sex and Death: Are They Related?" The authors studied nearly 1000 men aged 45 to 59. The study found that men who reported at least two orgasms a week at the time of the study had less than half the risk of dying from various causes over 10 years of follow-up than those with a lower frequency of orgasm.

A 1976 study published in Psychosomatic Medicine suggests that a failure to reach orgasm may have a negative impact on women's hearts. In the control group, just 24 percent of the women reported sexual dissatisfaction. In the group of women who had heart attacks, the report of sexual dissatisfaction prior to their attack was 65 percent.

A study from the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality conducted by Dr Ted Mcllvenna looked at the sex lives of 90,000 American adults. He found that sexually active people take fewer sick leaves and enjoy life more.

According to gynecologist Dr. Dudley Chapman, orgasms boost infection-fighting cells up to 20%. Psychologists at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania found that students who had regular sexual activity had a third higher levels of immunoglobulin A, an antibody which boosts the immune system and can help fight colds and flu.

Research done by Dr Winnifred Cutler, a specialist in behavioural endocrinology, indicates that women who have intercourse at least once a week are more likely to have normal menstrual cycles than women who are celibate or who have infrequent sex.

Dr. Cutler also reports that women who enjoy regular weekly sex have significantly higher levels of oestrogen in their blood than women experiencing either infrequent sex or no sex at all. The benefits of oestrogen include a healthy cardiovascular system, lower bad cholesterol, higher good cholestrol, more bone density, and supple skin. There is also growing evidence that oestrogen is beneficial to brain functioning.

Another important hormone that seems to be affected by sexual activity is DHEA. Right before orgasm, the level of the hormone DHEA in the body spikes to several times higher than normal. DHEA is believed to improve brain function, balance the immune system, help maintain and repair tissue, promote healthy skin, and possibly improve cardiovascular health.

Both testosterone and estrogen levels increase through regular sexual activity. Testosterone can help strengthen bones and muscles, and is also beneficial to a healthy heart. For women, the health benefits of estrogen include keeping vaginal tissues suppler and protecting against osteoporosis and heart disease.

A study from the South Illinois School of Medicine found that having an orgasm can cure migraines. Working with 52 migraine sufferers, 16 reported considerable relief after an orgasm and another eight had their headaches completely gone.

Other studies show that orgasm can help treat other types of pain. In research by Beverly Whipple and Barry Komisaruk at Rutgers University, women found that they had a higher pain threshold through regular orgasms that helped with conditions ranging from whiplash to arthritis.

A man's orgasm can even be beneficial to women, according to research that indicates that semen can reduce depression in women. The study was headed by Gordon Gallup, a psychologist at the State University of New York. The researchers believe that mood-altering hormones in semen are absorbed through the vagina.

Regular orgasms can even help you look younger. According to research done by David Weeks, a clinical neuropsychologist at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital, making love three times a week in a stress free relationship can make you look 10 years younger.

It only makes sense that something as important as orgasm would have so many benefits. The male orgasm is the sperm delivery system, and the female orgasm, through the rapid vaginal contractions that can pull sperm in, makes it more likely for her to become pregnant. Both are important to the reproduction of our species, and both our important to our health and happiness.

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