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Top 10 Reasons Sex Is Good for You

From making you smarter to reducing cancer risk, boning does more than make you feel good.

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When news broke this week that sex actually makes us smarter, the collective Internet did a cartoon double-take. Sex is supposed to make us  lose our minds, not  grow them. Lust turns us into beasts, not rocket scientists, right?

Besides, how could something so good be good  for you? It’s like calling Chunky Monkey ice cream nutritious or TMZ educational. It violates an essential code of the universe: the inverse relationship between what feels good and what is good. This is why guilty pleasures exist! What next, we don’t have to feel bad about watching “The Bachelor”?

Well, prepare to have your guilt-compass busted. Sex  is good for you — and it goes far beyond just boosting brain power. Behold, the top 10 reasons the horizontal tango is great medicine, according to actual scientific research. Feel free to bust out these talking points during Bible study or your next purity ball. There’s just no arguing with, “But it prevents cancer!”

It’s legit exercise

In a study last year, sex-havers were equipped with an arm band to measure energy expenditure during the carnal act. Researchers  concluded, “Sexual activity may potentially be considered, at times, as a significant exercise.” Another study found that folks who have frequent sex also work out more frequently. I’m pretty sure we’re all hoping for the same direction of causation here.

It makes you happier

Plenty of research has demonstrated that sex makes us happier — but a recent  studysuggested that we’re  happiest when we think we’re having more sex than our friends. As the researchers said of their subjects, “Happiness is positively correlated with their own sexual frequency, but inversely correlated with the sexual frequency of others.” What competitive little monkeys we are!

It makes you live longer

…if you’re a man. A long-term study in South Wales  found a link between orgasm and mortality. Among middle-age men, risk of death was 50 percent lower for those who had an orgasm at least two times a week compared to dudes who did less than once a month. The researchers concluded, “Sexual activity seems to have a protective effect on men’s health.” Another study found that for women  enjoyment, not frequency, of sex is associated with a longer life.

It prevents heart disease

A study in the American Journal of Cardiology  found that men who had sex at least twice a week were less likely to have heart disease than those who did infrequently. Other research has found a similar connection for women. I guess a lack of sex really can be heart-breaking.

It reduces cancer risk

Studies have found that sex can reduce the risk of both breast cancer and prostate cancer. In the former case, scientists have speculated that it has something to do with the release of the hormones oxytocin and DHEA during arousal and orgasm. For men, the sex-cancer link is impressive: As one  study put it, “For each [increased] increment of three ejaculations per week across a lifetime, the risk of prostate cancer was reduced by 15 percent.”

It reduces stress

We hardly need science to prove this, but several studies nonetheless have. You can partially thank the release of oxytocin during orgasm for the stress-busting effects of sex. The bad news: one researcher  found that while sex led to a better stress response, masturbation alone did not.

It’s a painkiller

A headache might actually be a better excuse to  have sex than to abstain from it. Research has shown that orgasm can not only relieve migraines but also back pain and menstrual cramps. It has a little something to do with the release of oxytocin and endorphins.

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