“Drink plenty of water, eat your veggies and get plenty of rest.”

These are pretty common recommendations on how to be healthy and live a longer life. But what would you think about adding sex—lots of great sex—to that healthy living list? That would be celebrity sex doctor Catherine Emeruwa’s recommendation.

Dr. Emeruwa, or “Dr. Cathy” as her patients fondly call her, believes sex is an integral part of living a healthy lifestyle and is on a mission to get people talking about sex and their sexual health. EBONY.com sat down with Dr. Cathy to learn more about our health, our sex lives and her mission to spread the word.

EBONY.com: Let’s start at the very beginning. There’s a correlation between sex and your health? Please explain that.

Dr. Cathy: Your heart is connected to the arteries and veins of your groin, so anything that happens to your heart happens to your groin. If high cholesterol and plaque develop around your heart, you’re going to find that the arteries and veins in your groin are developing plaque too and will ultimately be compromised. Your circulation will be narrowed and you’ll find that you can’t function sexually.

EBONY.com: What are some of the health benefits of great sex?

Dr. Cathy: Oh my goodness! There are so many! Now, when you say great sex, you have to be careful because we’re not talking about porn; we’re talking about orgasms. Studies show that if you have two orgasms a week, you actually live longer. Orgasms are a form of healing and exercise. It opens up your circulation and makes you feel young, youthful and happy and those are the things that make you live longer. Again, it all comes back to the heart. You’re opening up the heart. Anything that improves the heart makes you live longer. If you improve your sexual function, you improve your circulation, you’re strengthening your immune system, you’re going to feel less tired, and you’ll feel happier. When you’re not having sex, it’s going to come out in the form of bad moods, a short temper, anger and you’ll wonder why you’re behaving like that. It’s because you need a good orgasm to release your emotions. Studies have also indicated that having sex everyday decreases your likelihood of developing dementia. You’re improving your brain by having more sex and again, orgasm is the key word. A lot of women don’t even know if they’re having orgasms or not because they are not sure what it is.

EBONY.com: Well, what is an orgasm?

Dr. Cathy: Well, let me tell you. Most women get aroused, they get up there then they plateau and then they come back down. So there’s the arousal, then there’s a tingly feeling, it increases your heart rate, some people start sweating, other people have their toes curl, then the most important thing happens—and this is how I know if someone knows if she’s having an orgasm or not—the rhythmic pulsations of the muscles of the groin begins. Your nipples stand up, everything gets more sensitive and you start feeling things. All of these are pheromones and hormones coursing through the body and the groin starts to pulse. When the groin starts to pulse and you’re able to maximize the contraction of the groin muscles to the point where you’re no longer in control of the contractions, that’s when you’ve climaxed.

EBONY.com: And if great sex means great health, can sexual performance issues like low libido, indicate that more serious health issues exist?

Dr. Cathy: The first thing is that in the groin—whether in a man or woman—those arteries are very small compared to the heart. So you’re going to actually notice that your sex drive, your sexual function, your sexual ability, depending on whether you’re a man or a woman, will actually go down before your heart goes down. You’re not going to see issues with your heart first. You’ll actually see it in your sexual performance. So, men and women who come to me complaining of sexual issues is a clue for me to make sure that I’m looking at their heart, because they’re closely related and very close in proximity to each other. That’s why my motto is, “Greater health, greater sex; greater sex, greater health.” When your health is great, sexually you’re going to benefit with your heart. But when your heart is not doing well, you’re going to find that you can’t perform very well sexually.

EBONY.com: Let’s say that you’re not sexually active. Are there other things you can do to reap these benefits?

Dr. Cathy: Masturbation is a very important subject for me. Studies show that masturbation, as long as you reach an orgasm, is the same as having sex with another person. So, masturbation is encouraged in my office. It’s encouraged because if you cannot know what you’re about, how can you teach your partner what you’re about? You have to know what you want, want you like and what you don’t like. It’s funny. You know young boys have “wet dreams,” but do you know that women have them, too? I’ve done many talks and I’ll ask women, “Have you ever not had sex for a while, and then, suddenly, your body just releases?” You have an orgasm. So women do have “wet dreams.” Now, if your health is going down, you’re not going to be able to have a wet dream. But if you’re healthy, your body is going to give you that orgasm, whether you like it or not. Most women who do not have a wet dream experience, have a slower hormonal level.

EBONY.com: Why don’t more people know about this? What can we do to get more in tune with the great sex it sounds like our bodies are craving?

Dr. Cathy: I believe it’s upbringing. I really do. I think our upbringing has sort of muted [our sexual appetites]. I had a young girl, 22-23 years old and she was not having great sex. And I won’t go on and on, but the bottom line is that she was brought up, not told, but overheard her aunts, her mother, sister and different people in her family talk negatively about sex. We’re taught sex is only for “bad girls” and “naughty girls.” Good girls don’t talk about sex and don’t have sex, you know? “Wait until you’re married.” So we’ve got this scary approach to sex. What can we do to fix it? We open communication. Sex is not just for procreation. We’re only fertile until about 50. After 50, we’re still having sex. There are people 50, 60, 70, 80 or even 90 who are still having sex to enjoy it; not for procreation. Humans have sex to bond and to experience the beautiful feelings you get during sex, but we don’t talk about that. That’s partly because of religion and partly because we aren’t educated to know that sex has been going on since the beginning of time.

For more on Dr. Cathy visit, www.cathymd.com.