Recently, I wrote that sex has no time attached. Some think that men should spend more time exploring their women’s bodies instead of just penetrating them.
I agreed with them as foreplay can hold its own and could be all you need to reach orgasm. The truth is that one study by Herbenick et al.(2017) found that many women don’t orgasm with intercourse alone.
In this study, 1,055 women ages 18 to 94 revealed that 18.4% of women reported that intercourse alone was sufficient for orgasm, 36.6% reported clitoral stimulation was necessary for orgasm during intercourse, and an additional 36% indicated that, while clitoral stimulation was not needed, their orgasms feel better if their clitoris is stimulated during intercourse.
This means that a whopping 81.6% of our women do not orgasm when we just engaged in vaginal penetration alone without foreplay. If you are a man reading this then you should be worried. Probably, the women are not complaining but this is the reality from studies and we need to up our game. This study correlates with anecdotal evidence from a lady who told me that foreplay should contribute to about 90% of lovemaking.
This means that intercourse doesn’t have to be the main ‘course’ if you don’t want. Hence, in terms of sex, foreplay is usually defined as erotic stimulation preceding intercourse.
Take intercourse out of the equation and foreplay’s defined as an action or behavior that precedes an event. So men must show more actions and even when she starts calling for penetration when she is ready, you can forgo and make her beg for more before vaginal penetration. Foreplay increases body awareness!
Sex Benefits, Science
According to the American Sexual Health Association, Sexual health is more than avoiding diseases and unplanned pregnancies. It’s also about recognizing that sex can be an important part of your life.
Effects of Sex on Men & Women
One study(Gottlieb, S. 2004), examined the sex life of over 50,000 American males between the ages of 40 and 75 and found that men reporting 21 or more ejaculations a month were less likely to get prostate cancer than men who ejaculated four to seven times a month. Rider et al. (2016) reported similar findings with a 10-year follow-up study that reported that men who had frequent orgasms (defined as two or more a week) had a 50 percent lower mortality risk than those who had sex less often.
In noting the difference, the first study was found in men who reported 21 or more ejaculations a month, and the second reported men who ejaculated two or more a week. So when we study the second study critically, it means that in a month these men also ejaculated about eight times and they also experienced a reduced risk of prostate cancer.
This means that to reduce prostate cancer a man above 40years must ejaculate a minimum of twice a week. In what accounts for the type of ejaculation, a previous review(Brody, S. 2010) found that men who had more frequent penile-vaginal intercourse (PVI) had less risk of developing prostate cancer.
This means not any type of ejaculation but a man must have intercourse with a regular female partner to experience this reduced risk of prostate cancer.
Another study also found that men who averaged having 4.6 to 7 ejaculations a week were 36 percent less likely to receive a prostate cancer diagnosis before the age of 70.
This is in comparison to men who reported ejaculating 2.3 or fewer times a week on average. This study is in support of Rider et al. (2016) who attribute it to a minimum of twice per week. For men, sex may even affect their mortality. Although results are conflicting, the quality and health of our sperm may increase with increased sexual activity(Agarwal et al. 2016).
In the case of women, studies have also been conducted, and resulting appear interesting and refreshing. For instance, having an orgasm increases blood flow and releases natural pain-relieving chemicals.
Sexual activity in women can:
1. improve bladder control
2. reduce incontinence
3. relieve menstrual and premenstrual cramps
4. improve fertility
5. build stronger pelvic muscles
6. help produce more vaginal lubrication
7. potentially protect you against endometriosis or the growing of tissue outside your uterus
The act of sex can help strengthen your pelvic floor. A strengthened pelvic floor can also offer benefits like less pain during sex and a reduced chance of vaginal prolapse. Brody, S(2010) study found that Penile-vaginal penetration can result in reflexive vaginal contractions caused by penile thrusting.
Finally, it has been reported that women who continue to be sexually active after menopause are less likely to have significant vaginal atrophy or the thinning of vaginal walls. Vaginal atrophy can cause pain during sex and urinary symptoms.
One study (Frappier et al. 2013) found that sex is a good exercise for cardiovascular health in younger men and women. The benefits derived from the study are:
1. lowering blood pressure
2. burning calories
3. increasing heart health
4. strengthening muscles
5. reducing your risk of heart disease, stroke, and hypertension
6. increasing libido
The study further noted that those with active sex lives exercise more frequently and have better dietary habits than those who are less sexually active. Physical fitness may also improve sexual performance overall. In this study, men burned an average of 4 calories per minute during sex sessions that averaged 25 minutes, and women burned off 3 calories. That’s a lot more fun than toiling away on a treadmill.
An old study(Hall et al. 2010) found that men who had sex twice weekly or more had less risk of cardiovascular diseases, like stroke or heart attack than those who had sex once a month or less. This study took 17 years, began in 1987, and tracked the sex lives of over 1,000 men aged 40 to 70; the researchers eliminated other risk factors from the results, such as age, weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure.
Levine et al.(2012) endorsed by the American Heart Association’s Scientific Statement on Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease says that having sex is safe for people who can exercise with no heart problems in the range of 3 to 5 metabolic equivalents (METs). METs are a measure of the energy (calories) expended during an activity.
Exercising at 3 METs is about the same as walking at a moderate pace, while 5 METs are like a low-impact aerobic workout.
Finally, an old study(Brody, S. 2006) agrees that Sex can help relieve stress by raising endorphins and other hormones that boost mood. As a form of exercise, it can also help calm you down. This Scottish study found that sexual activity prevents increases in blood pressure during stressful events. While this effect was more pronounced in people who had sex with penetration, nonpenetrative sex and masturbation can also help you stay calm.
Finally, one 2016 study by Liu et al. found that women who said they had frequent, extremely satisfying sex had a lower risk of hypertension. “Good sexual quality may protect older women from cardiovascular risk in later life,” said study author Hui Liu, an associate professor of sociology at Michigan State University.
One old study(Cohen et al. 1997) used 276 healthy volunteers at the University of Pittsburgh and found that those with the most diverse social networks, including not just lovers but family, friends, and organizations, were the least likely to catch colds.
A study(Charnetski, & Brennan, 2004) examined immunity in people in romantic relationships and found that those who had frequent sex (one to two times a week) had more immunoglobulin A (IgA) in their saliva. People who had infrequent sex (less than once a week) had significantly less IgA.
IgA is the antibody that plays a role in preventing illnesses and is the first line of defense against human papillomavirus, or HPV.
In this study, Students who had sex once or twice a week had the highest levels of immunoglobulin A: 30% higher than those who had no sex, but also those who had sex three or more times a week. In addition, students who were in longer-term, satisfying relationships had the highest levels of the antibody.
The study suggests that anxiety and stress can cancel out the positive effects of sex. This study also confirmed the impact of being with one partner for the long term.
Mood & Happiness
Studies compiled by the SPSP PRESS OFFICE( 2015) from previous studies, and a plethora of articles and self-help books, have claimed that more sex equals more happiness. But this study, based on surveys of more than 30,000 Americans collected over four decades, is the first to find that association is not there after couples report having sex more than once a week on average.
The study was not designed to identify the causal process, so does not tell us whether having sex up to once a week makes couples happier, or whether being in a happy relationship causes people to have more frequent sex (up to once a week).
In addition, these findings were specific to people in romantic relationships, and in fact, there was no association between sexual frequency and well-being for single people, said Muise, a social psychologist and postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto-Mississauga.
It’s possible that for single people, the link between sex and happiness is dependent on several factors such as the relationship context in which the sex occurs and how comfortable people are with sex outside of a relationship. The findings, which were published online in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, are most representative of those in established relationships.
In one study, researchers analyzed survey responses about sexual frequency and general happiness from more than 25,000 Americans (11,285 men, 14,225 women) who took the General Social Survey from 1989 to 2012. The biennial survey, conducted by the University of Chicago, has a nationally representative sample and covers a wide range of sociological issues, including opinions about race relations, religion, and sex.
For couples, happiness tended to increase with more frequent sex, but this is no longer true after couples report engaging in sex more than once a week. This study and other previous studies report that established couples tend to have sex about once a week on average.
Despite common stereotypes that men want more sex and older people have less sex, there was no difference in the findings based on gender, age, or length of a relationship. “Our findings were consistent for men and women, younger and older people, and couples who had been married for a few years or decades,” Muise said.
Sex may be more strongly associated with happiness than money. The researchers also conducted an online survey with 335 people (138 men, 197 women) who were in long-term relationships and found similar results as the first study.
These participants were also asked about their annual income, and there was a larger difference in happiness between people who had sex less than once a month compared to people who had sex once a week than between people who had an income of $15,000-$25,000 compared to people who had an income of $50,000-$75,000 per year.
“People often think that more money and more sex equal more happiness, but this is only true up to a point,” Muise said.
A third study analyzed survey results collected at three time points over 14 years from more than 2,400 married couples in the United States. There wasn’t a strong link between sexual frequency and overall life satisfaction, but couples reported more satisfaction with their relationships as sexual frequency increased up to once per week, with no noticeable benefits of engaging in sex more often.
Another study (Flynn and Gow, 2015) show that men and women who have intercourse with their partners have greater satisfaction with their mental health. A previous study (Bersamin et al. 2014) of close to 7,500 US college students across 14 public universities found that those who had more hookups had lower levels of happiness and self-esteem, and higher levels of depression and anxiety.
This deviates from the notion that men are more likely to be OK with casual sex, but the researchers found no differences between the sexes.
Improves Sleep, desire for Sex
Studies explained that our body releases oxytocin also called the “love” or “intimacy” hormone, and endorphins during orgasm. The combination of these hormones can act as sedation. The National Sleep Foundation, also held that orgasms release the hormone prolactin, which can help you feel sleepy and relaxed. This accounts for why we doze off shortly after a satisfying session — and wake up feeling refreshed.
Another study(Kalmbach et al. 2015) examines the impact of sleep after sex on women and found that getting enough sleep can improve your sexual response and may increase the chance that you’ll engage regularly in sex. Researchers discovered that when women slept for longer periods, they reported greater sexual desire the next day. This is why women want more after the first round!
Better sleep can contribute to:
1. a stronger immune system
2. a longer lifespan
3. feeling more well-rested
4. having more energy during the day
Another interesting old study(Brody and Krüger, 2005) found that the level of prolactin in both men and women after intercourse can be “400% greater than that following masturbation.” This means that masturbation cannot be compared to intercourse in terms of health benefits.
Also, The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) study which involved about 10,000 women ages 50 to 79 found that those who got fewer than seven to eight hours of sleep a night were less likely to be sexually active. The older the woman, the more likely she was to report less sex when sleep-deprived.
Finally, the International Society for Sexual Medicine conducted one study at the Walter Reed Army Hospital and found that using a CPAP machine, a breathing apparatus used to correct sleep apnea, improved sexual function and satisfaction for all men in their study but was especially helpful to those with erectile dysfunction.
One study (Komisaruk & Whipple. 2000) states “the sensory input produced by vaginal stimulation produces a powerful analgesic effect” that does not interfere with tactile sensitivity. In another older study by the same authors (Whipple and Komisaruk, 1985) who coined the term “G-spot,” they found that the pressure of pleasurable vaginal stimulation increased pain tolerance by 40%.
When the women came to orgasm, their pain tolerance increased by nearly 75%. Another study(Goodin et al. 2016) believed that the hormones released during sex, like endorphins, which block pain and stress, and oxytocin, the hormone that helps mothers and babies bond and has pain-relieving properties. No wonder mothers day is more celebrated as compared to fathers day and oxytocin is the course.
Hambach et al. (2013) study shows that sexual activity can provide full or partial relief from migraines and cluster headaches. In this study, people who were sexually active during their pains reported the following:
1. 60 percent reported an improvement during a migraine
2. 70 percent reported moderate to complete relief during a migraine
3. 37 percent reported improvement of symptoms in cluster headaches
4. 91 percent reported moderate to complete relief in cluster headaches
In a previous study(Younger et al. 2010) conducted at Stanford University in California, anesthesiologists showed participants photos of their romantic partners or photos of attractive strangers or asked them to engage in a word game.
They found that looking at romantic partners significantly dulled the experience of pain. So even though you might think pain is a barrier to sex, consider this a sex benefit worth the time and effort: Take a moment to look at your lover. This is so interesting! This means that those with broken hearts could also look at their partners’ pictures to deal with their pain.
Finally, other studies by Jan Sheehan(2016) held that women may get some relief from menstrual cramps through a good orgasm. Hence, those suffering from menstrual cramps could have sex before their menses starts to ease the pain.
Studies found that Sexual activity is important for psychological and emotional benefits. This can reduce stress and anxiety and increase happiness. One study( Brody, S. 2010)shows that sexual activity (defined as PVI) may correlate with:
1. increased satisfaction with your mental health
2. increased levels of trust, intimacy, and love in your relationships
3. improved ability to perceive, identify, and express emotions
4. lessened use of your immature psychological defense mechanism, or the mental processes to reduce distress from emotional conflict
Finally, another study(Wright and Jenks, 2016) found that sexual activity may affect your well-being and ability to think. Hence, sexually active adults between 50 to 90 years old had better memory in engaging in sex. They were also less likely to feel depressed and lonely.
This means that we have to advise our aged parents to engage in frequent sex to improve their memory. A recent study(Wright et al. 2019) found that having sex at least once a week was highly predictive of improved cognitive functioning, especially verbal fluency.
Increases Confidence, bind people together
In one article by Pamela Rogers(2018) frequent sexual activity was found to correlate with looking younger and this is due to the release of estrogen during sex. The author attributes this to one study which found a correlation between frequent sexual activity and looking significantly younger (between seven to 12 years younger).
The author also found that Sex binds people together, due to oxytocin. Oxytocin can play a role in developing relationships. You may find that consistent, mutual sexual pleasure helps with bonding within a relationship.
“Coupled partners often have increased relationship satisfaction when they fulfill one another’s sexual desires. You may find positive growth in your relationship when you’re able to express yourself and your sexual desires.”
Finally, another (Meltzer et al. 2017) examined newlywed couples who kept a two-week sexual diary, researchers found that partners were satisfied for a full 48 hours after sexual activity. And those who were lucky enough to experience this afterglow went on to report more happiness in their relationship several months later.
There are biochemical rationales for experiencing improved mood as a sex benefit, from the neurotransmitters that may be released during healthy sex to the mood enhancers contained in semen itself. Here Dr. Caron: “there’s a lot to be said simply for the mood-boosting effect of having a nice connection with somebody that you trust and care about.”
This means one would experience this with someone one trust and care about and not just anyone.
Finally, another(Debrot et al. 2017) found that committed couples in the United States and Switzerland found that having sex created more affection, not only in the moments after sexual intimacy but hours later, even in couples with children or those married long past the “honeymoon period.”
At this point, one would also ask whether celibate also benefits from all these studies on sex. Yes! One can still lead an active and happy life without sex. One study(Charnetski & Brennan, 2004) found that happiness can also come from listening to music, interacting with pets, and having strong religious faith and not only sex.
After conducting this study, I found that the little things we sometimes neglect have a huge impact on our health. For instance, in the National Health Service in the United Kingdom, a long-term study of nuns found that several of them lived well into their 90s and past 100 years old. In conclusion, studies have demonstrated the numerous benefits of both foreplay and penile-vaginal penetration with one partner.
For instance, studies have made men aware that over 80% of women do not reach orgasm using penile-vaginal penetration alone. Hence, there is a need for more effective foreplay before penetration.
Additionally, studies have also found that Sex is an important part of life and overall well-being. In relationships, orgasms play a significant part in bonding. Physical and emotional benefits like reduced risk of heart disease, improved self-esteem, and more can come from having sex.
But all these benefits can only be achieved with one partner, not from casual sex, sex toys, masturbation, hookup, or having multiple sexual partners.
Myself, I have learned more from this review and I hope you do as well to spark up your sex life and bonding.
Prof. Nyarkotey has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations to justify his write-ups. My articles are for educational purposes and do not serve as Medical advice for Treatment. I aim to educate the public about evidence-based scientific Naturopathic Therapies.
Credit: Raphael Nyarkotey Obu, Contributor
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