Sex Is Good For You
Studies over the Past 10 to 15 years have looked at health consequences and outcomes, says Herbert Samuels, Ph.D., president of the Foundation for the Scientific Study of Sexuality. “All seem to indicate that those who have healthy sex drives and frequency of sexual activities that lead to orgasm are much better off than their counterparts who do not,” explains the professor of human sexuality, Department of Human Sexuality, LaGuardia Community College in New York. “One study showed men who had orgasms two or more times a week lived longer. It didn’t seem to have the same affect on women. For women, it showed that past enjoyment of intercourse correlated with [their] longevity.” Samuels says another study found that those who had sex two or more times a week had a lower incidence of fatal coronary events compared with people who had sex less than that or not at all. “It had a protective effect upon the heart rather than a derogatory one,” he adds. “Other studies have shown that women who have more sex have a lower risk of breast cancer, and for men, having more frequent ejaculations is good for prostate health.”
Get Your Mind Right
Emotional wellness is defined as the deliberate management of your mind, body, spirit and emotions, according to emotional wellness expert Lawana Gladney, Ph.D., CEO of Emotional Wellness, Inc., based in Richardson, Texas. “This impacts your sexual life and how you feel about yourself, because it’s all in the mind, body and spirit as well as your feelings,” she says. “When your mind, body and spirit are not at peace, those are signs you’re not emotionally healthy,” reveals Gladney. “If you don’t feel good about yourself, you feel lost in some way. You don’t feel safety or security about life. This may translate over to how a person feels about his body and feeling unwanted or desired. You won’t feel like having sex because of lack of desire and pleasure.”
The Big “O”: Nature’s Sleeping Aid
Orgasm leads to a release of a brain chemical called oxytocin, which makes you feel closer to a person. “You get a rush, and this keeps you connected with a partner to a certain extent,” says Samuels. “But with men, another hormone called vasopressin is released, and it has the opposite impact, causing men to fall asleep for a short period of time as a hormonal reaction to having an orgasm.” So the next time you want to brag —“The sex was so good he fell asleep”—you’ll know it was because of the vasopressin. Samuels cites another study that found women who masturbated on a regular basis had less problems going to sleep, because an orgasm also helps in this regard. “For some women in the study, the primary reason they masturbated was for this:
It was relaxing, and they fell asleep.” Ladies, consider having more than just a glass of wine to lull you to sleep.
How men and Women experience sex differently;
> tend not to explore their bodies. “They think the universe revolves around the penis, so that’s their focus, not the total body,” Samuels says.
> are sexual beings by nature, says Gladney. “Their bodies react and respond to sex at a very early age, with little boys having wet dreams. Their minds and bodies are more geared toward sex. It’s more a physical need for them, so it can just be about sex. For men, that physical need helps release their stress.”
> “If they feel physically close," says Samuels, "then they start to feel emotionally connected to you later.”
> explore their bodies through various touches and ways to stimulate themselves, says Samuels.
> tie sex to emotions and how men make them feel about themselves and the relationship, says Gladney.
“If a man makes her feel a certain way, her body will respond. Sex is a stress reliever for women, too, but they have to be there emotionally. ”
> need emotional closeness, says Tiffanie Davis Henry, Ph.D., a licensed psychotherapist and certified sex therapist. “This helps them open up to you sexually and want to have sex.”
Remember to Wrap It Up
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Foods That ramp up your sex drive
“Dark chocolate helps promote healthy blood vessels so they can dilate [open] properly and fill with blood easily,” explains Myeshia N. Price, a sexual development scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “Sexual arousal is dependent on the ability of small blood vessels in the penis and vaginal area to fill with blood as completely and quickly as possible.”
The leafy green vegetables are rich in antioxidants and calcium. According to Price, “Antioxidants are great for helping your body make collagen, which not only aids in joint flexibility but also keeps your skin and hair healthy and looking great.” In addition, “Collards contain folate, which helps to improve mood and decrease depression,” Price adds.
“These fun little fruits help
prevent brain [degeneration], high cholesterol and age-related heart conditions,” says Price. “High cholesterol makes it difficult for enough blood to flow through your arteries, and for the best sexual functioning, you need blood to flow through your tiny arteries quickly and efficiently.”
It’s Slippery When Wet
“If I have a party with 10 women, I would say 30 to 40 percent of sales are toys and 60 to 70 percent are lotions (enhancement creams and performance-enhancement products), bath and beauty products (shaving cream and moisturizer) and lubricants, ” says Daphne Martin, a senior director for Pure Romance, the world’s largest in-home party company specializing in relationship-enhancing products.
Age or infrequency in having sex are top reasons people believe a “how dry I am” situation might result during sex. Wrong! It has nothing to do with old age or how long it’s been since your last sexual encounter. Here are some things that can cause dryness at any age:
“A lot of women don’t realize that there are different medications [such as] anti-depressants, birth control and antihistamines that can affect your body’s ability to lubricate,” says Martin. “And no matter what age you are, if you’re on one of these medications, or even if you have some type of physical transition that’s messing with your body, it can impact your ability to lubricate.”
Without proper lubrication during vaginal penetration, “a woman could experience vaginal tearing, resulting in it burning when [she urinates],” says Martin. “Over time, she can develop scar tissue inside the vaginal canal, which makes sex painful.”
Some enjoy using the back door, but the anus doesn't produce the type of natural lubrication produced by the vagina.
Get Physical With Some SeXercise
It’s no secret that having sex can be quite a workout. Most people will work up a sweat. Did you know there’s something called SeXercise? The high-intensity interval aerobic workout is functional in that it will “condition your heart and strengthen your body for sexual activity,” says Venus Ramos, M.D. “SeXercise (developed by Ray Palomino) is exercising to improve your sex life and it can improve your cardiovascular health. It can even elevate your mood. You may disco-ver more confidence in your personal relationships, both emotionally and physically,” she adds.
Learn To Love Yourself— Literally
“Having a good relationship with yourself is good, because solo sex is the safest sex you’ll ever have,” says Henry about masturbation. “You probably won’t be cheating too much on yourself, and you won’t give yourself anything in terms of sexually transmitted infections. You can still have a very active sex life even if you’re not in a relationship with someone. There are people who have been having sex by themselves for years. [They]—male and female—are into the art of self-pleasure. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
“Sexual expression is good for general health, and that includes masturbation,” says Samuels. “Some think masturbation is sinful, it’s taboo or if you masturbate you [probably] can’t find a partner. It’s not about either. As Woody Allen once said about masturbation [in the film Annie Hall ], “It’s sex with someone I love.”
For men and women, masturbation will teach what is most stimulating to you. “This helps you to be able to talk to your partner about what you like and don’t like,” says Henry.
Let's go shopping!
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> For more information about SeXercise, visit ILoveSeXercise.com or email email@example.com.
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Senior Editor, EBONY Magazine