It’s spring! Streets are full of happy couples and you can almost feel the love that is in the air. And it is a scientific fact that sex, cuddles and kisses not only boost your mood, but also make you healthier. Skeptical? Let’s look into it.
Cuddles are a remedy for insomnia
Scientists from the University of California, US, and University of the Basque Country, Spain, have found that cuddles raise the level of anandamide, a substance that is involved in sleep regulation and helps you forget bad things. It’s no coincidence that anandamid means “bliss” in Sanskrit.
Having trouble sleeping? Hug your partner.
By the way, women enjoy touch more than men. This was found in a study conducted by scientists from Oxford University, UK and Aalto University, Finland. They also asked 1368 people from different countries how often they cuddled. It turned out that Finns are the winners when it comes to cuddling and Britons are at the end of the cuddling list. Russians and the French took the second place, while Italians were very close to Britons.
Being in love boosts your thinking skills
Chinese and US neurophysiologists have found that brain areas that are linked to emotions, reward and motivation were more active in people who were in love at the time of their study. The same areas were less active in participants who had broken up. And the lowest brain activity was seen in people who had been single for a long time.
Canadian scientists from McGill University asked 78 young women (18-29 years old) to complete a computerized memory test. The study has shown that women who were in a relationship remembered more words than those who hadn’t dated anyone for a long time. Scientists believe that being in love stimulates neurogenesis in the hippocampus, a memory centre in the brain.
Sex as a drug
A study has found that orgasm reduces sensitivity to different types of pain, menstrual cramps, for example. It has to do with endorphins. They are released in the blood stream during orgasm and their effect lasts for several minutes. It is much faster than many pain killers and you don’t need a prescription for that.
Sex also cures headache. University of Münster, Germany, conducted an experiment with 400 people with different kinds of headache: migraine and cluster headache. The study, which has been published in Cephalalgia journal, showed that among those who reported an improvement:
- 29% had a slight improvement
- 51% had a minor improvement
- 19% completely got rid of their headache
Overall, 42.7% of the patients experienced at least 50% relief of their headache.
So now you know what to say, when your partner says they don’t want to have sex because of their headache.
Furthermore, regular sex helps you pass kidney stones faster. This was discovered by Turkish scientists. The study has found that 26 out of 31 men (83.9%) who had sex 3-4 times a week passed their kidney stones spontaneously. Other subjects who took medicines or underwent standard treatment, had poorer results.
It’s great, because now there is a fun way to get rid of kidney stones. There is one caveat though, the stones shouldn’t be bigger than 6 mm.
Sex strengthens the immune system
A study conducted in Pennsylvania has shown that people who have sex 1-2 times a week or less have 30% lower levels of immunoglobulin A (which helps the body fight diseases), than those who are sexually more active.
Everything in moderation, though. If all you do is spend time in bed with your partner, your immune system may not be super strong. The same study revealed that those who had sex more than twice a week had low immunoglobulin A levels.
Say no to stress
Sex reduces stress because it stimulates production of serotonin, the happy hormone. A University of Paisley study (UK) has shown that people who have sexual intercourse deal with stressful situations better than those who abstain or practice other forms of sexual behaviour. This has been confirmed by a number of studies (1, 2).
By the way, even something as simple as a touch has an anti-stress effect on you. Scientists from the University of North Carolina, US, have found that holding each other’s hands stimulates serotonin production.
Good sex prolongs your life
In 1997, a group of Welsh scientists studied sexual activity of 918 men between 45 and 59 years old and looked at the amount of deaths related to cardiovascular diseases. They found that those who had two or more orgasms a week had a lower heart disease related death rate than those who had orgasms less than once a month.
”Sexual activity seems to have a protective effect on men’s health,” says Dr. George Davey-Smith, one of the authors of the study.
Sex also helps women look younger. It has been found that sexual encounters stimulate production of collagen which improves skin elasticity.
Abstinence means early ageing.
Ok, great, but what should people who just broke up or have been single for a long time do?
Take it easy!
You can hug a toy.
Scientists from Amsterdam believe, that when a person hugs a teddy bear or a toy hare, they become less anxious. It’s not surprising that children can’t sleep without a toy. The researchers think that touching teddy bears not only boosts self-esteem, but also relieves death anxiety.
You are not alone when you have friends and family.
Julianne Holt-Lunstad and her collegues have found that a strong emotional connection with friends, family, neighbours and colleagues increases your survival chances by 50%. Their meta-analysis of 148 studies has shown that social relationships are far more important for survival than quitting smoking or doing physical exercises.
Sex and love are good for your health. Family and friends also make us happier. So love each other or hug (go ahead) someone you have close relationship with.