FYI Sex Is Good For You So, Er ... Ya Know
Hitting the sheets for a little sumthin' sumthin' comes with a whole host of health benefits.
Leading LA-based neuroscientist Dr. Nicole Prause wants us to talk about sex, baby, but not for the reason you might think.
Yes, sex can feel good, and yes, that should be reason enough to do it -- in fact pleasure is the main reason people do have sex -- but according to Lovehoney's Dr. Prause getting hot and heavy can also benefit our general health, as well as our mental wellbeing.
Dr. Prause has spent years studying how people's brains and bodies match up -- or don't match up -- while they're having a sexual experience, which helps reveal particular things about their health.
In short, it's fair to say she knows quite a bit about the business between the sheets, and while her pro-sex stance has ruffled some feathers, it's also revealed a lot about one of our most intimate of pastimes.
"So often we think of sex as just for sex sake, that is, how can we have more orgasms with our partner, or improve our marriage but it's really applicable to our broader health," Dr. Prause told Studio 10.
The more sexually activate you are the longer your telomeres are. Say what? Well, Telomeres are tiny caps at the end of chromosomes -- like the plastic bits on the end of a shoelace -- which affect how quickly our cells age and die.
Telomeres naturally shorten as we get older which isn't great news for our cells, but things like stress, smoking, obesity, lack of exercise and a poor diet can make them shrink even faster.
Doctor Prause's research shows that people who get busy in the sack tend to have longer telomeres which bodes well for their overall health and longevity.
A healthy sex life is also associated with better cognitive function, such as better word recall, so maybe that's a good reason to get frisky ahead of an exam or a big work presentation? We'll leave it up to you.
Doctor Prause also pointed out that sex doesn't have to involve a second person to reap the health benefits. Masturbation can help improve sleep for instance. Again, what you do in your own private home is your business.
If sex is so beneficial, why are we so shy about talking about the birds and the bees? In Dr. Prause's opinion, society's prudishness comes down to a few factors.
"Most people get their sexual values from their families, so even if you don't continue into adulthood with for example the religion your family had you still tend to keep those values," she told Studio 10.
Here Dr. Prause is talking about a common moral value that sex should only be 'used' in certain ways, such as for pregnancy or to solidify a heterosexual marriage. Many different religions encourage young women to 'save' their virginity for their wedding night, for example.
There's also a perception that sex shouldn't be used to improve your mood. According to Dr. Prause, sex is great at doing just that. So there's still some way to go to improve our individual and collective relationship with sex in order to unlock all the benefits.
One thing that has made sex more mainstream is porn, however controversial it may be. Doctor Prause's stance on adult content is that it isn't as problematic as it's often made out to be.
"The overwhelming data on sex films show that it's usually positive for the vast majority of people," she told Studio 10.
Watching porn makes people more aware about their partner's genital anatomy and their own, and can provide guidance on stimulating certain ~special~ areas.
Women who watch more sex films have a higher sex drive, which is a big positive as the most common sexual issue among females is a lack of sex drive.
Doctor Prause did note that if children and young people are viewing these types of films that they to be made aware that they're seeing an edited version of sex. Basically, "they need to understand that it's fantasy."
"But if you're an informed adult consumer porn has lots of positives," she said.
There you have it. Sex -- whether that's with a partner, on your own or even with the help of an adult film -- isn't just about achieving the big O. A regular roll in the hay might help keep the doctor away.
But before you head off to get off, remember to always be safe, responsible and respectful.
Feature image: Giphy.