Bad Sex Is Shortening Your Life

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This has to qualify as one of the more exciting stories of the year: Turns out, sexual pleasure is so damn healthy, someone oughta be bottling it as a cure-all. Too good to be true? Come along on our orgasm fact-finding mission.

Talk about getting your knickers in a twist. When earlier this year a brochure from the British National Health Service announced, “An orgasm a day keeps the doctor away,” it created an immediate brouhaha, with educators and health experts calling it deplorable and warning that it would encourage «risky» behavior and STDs.

Okay, maybe the Health Service did go a bit too far when they created a page from a fictional high-school girl’s weekly planner with handwritten reminders to “masturbate!” and “bring condoms to the date on Saturday!” But it turns out, they have a very strong point. “There are a number of health benefits to be gained from having sex or an orgasm — or many orgasms — daily,” says Yvonne K. Fulbright, PhD, author of Pleasuring: The Secrets of Sexual Satisfaction. The stress-relief goodies are obvious, along with better sleep and some PMS pain relief. But that’s just the small stuff.

In Peak Condition

Experts agree that there’s growing evidence of wide-ranging health benefits of orgasms, starting with the biggie: longevity. Research shows that men who have two or more orgasms a week live longer than do guys who have fewer than that. And while female orgasms haven’t yet been studied separately, another study shows that women who report enjoying intercourse live longer than do women who reported less pleasure in sex.

One reason for the longevity bonus could be that orgasms have positive effects on various organs and body systems. For instance, says Beverly Whipple, PhD, coauthor of The Orgasm Answer Guide,“Studies are showing that as sexual activity goes up, the risk of breast cancer goes down.” This could be due to the surge of hormones like oxytocin that comes with arousal and orgasm, the research suggests.

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