Seven Reasons to be Thankful for Sex Today (and Every Other Day of the Year)

November 28, 2019 by Justin Lehmiller

To all of my readers celebrating Thanksgiving today, don’t forget to be thankful for sex! Research suggests that sex is good for us in a lot of ways, both physically and psychologically. Allow me to give you seven good reasons to be thankful for sex today—and pretty much every other day of the year.

1. Sex is a multi-purpose activity that allows us to meet several distinct needs. In fact, scientists have identified at least 237 different reasons for having sex! Not only can sex be a fun and pleasurable way to pass the time, but it’s also a potential way to demonstrate love and affection, as well as to find stress relief. In fact, studies have found that having sex is linked to feeling less stress the day after. As you can see, sex has the potential to do a lot for us.

2. Frequent sex is linked to better health, with several studies finding that the more often people experience orgasm, the better their physical health tends to be. Further, other research has found that frequent sex is linked to a lower risk of heart attacks, which may have something to do with why people who orgasm the most tend to live the longest. To be clear, this research doesn’t allow us to conclude that having sex necessarily causes better health or a longer life because it’s undoubtedly the case that people who are healthier in the first place are more likely to have sex. That said, it seems clear that sex is more helpful than it is harmful to our health.

3. One direct health benefit of sex is that it is most definitely a form of exercise. In a study of young adults who wore Fit-Bits during sex, men burned 101 calories while women burned 69 calories during the act. Of course, at this rate, it would take a LOT of sex to burn off multiple servings of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and pie. So while sex isn’t the equivalent of going to the gym (at least not the way that most people do it), it does count for something.

4. Sex isn’t just good for our bodies—it’s also appears to be good for our brains. For example, rat studies have found that frequent sexual activity is associated with more neuron growth. Consistent with this finding, studies of older adults have found that more frequent sexual activity is linked to maintaining better cognitive functioning as people age. Other research has found that sex is linked to improved memory.

5. Another potential brain benefit of sex is that it seems to improve our mental health and well-being. Research reveals that on days we have sex, we experience an increase in positive moods and a decrease in negative moods the following day. We feel more meaning in life, too. These findings may help explain, in part, why people are happier and more productive in the workplace to the extent that they had sex the night before.

6. Sex is something you can enjoy for pretty much your entire life. Studies have found that most people in their 50s and 60s are sexually active, and that many adults age 70+ are having sex, too. Sex certainly changes with age due to the physical process of aging; however, there is no definitive end point when it comes to sex or the benefits this activity can bring us, and there are several steps you can take to help maintain a great sex life as you get older.

7. Don’t have a partner right now? No problem! Research suggests that even solo sex has potential health benefits. In other words, you don’t necessarily need to have a partner to experience many of the potential health benefits discussed above, so hopefully you haven’t been buying into the whole “No Nut November” thing. Check out this video for a look at research on self-pleasure and health.

Have a very happy and sexy Thanksgiving!

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Image Credit: 123RF/Daniel Stepanian

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Written by
Dr. Justin Lehmiller
Founder & Owner of Sex and Psychology

Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, and a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works.

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