August 27, 2014
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Sex and Aging: Use It or Lose It!

Sexing up your relationship

Sexing up your relationship

Sex can be fun, but did you know that it's also good for you and your relationship? Good sex has many health benefits. First of all, it's great exercise! An energetic sex session works many of your major muscle groups, improves your cardiovascular fitness, and burns calories. Vigorous sex burns about 90 calories per hour for a 130-pound (59-kilogram) person, and even more for a heavier person. Similarly, regular sex can maintain your sexual energy and help keep a sexual relationship alive into those later years.

Sex has other body bonuses as well. It can also help you get better bladder control, because it works the muscles involved in stopping the flow of urine. For men, sex can improve bone and muscle health through the stimulation of hormones. Likewise, sex can also stimulate the release of chemicals that improve the immune system’s health.

In a recent study, men who ejaculated 5 times per week cut their risk of prostate cancer by one third. Sex can cause a surge in the levels of endorphins, the body's natural pain relievers. It may even reduce the risk of heart disease and death. In one study, men who had sex at least three times a week cut their risk of heart attacks and strokes in half. And another study found that men with frequent orgasms (more than twice weekly) had half of the risk of death compared to men with less frequent (less than monthly) orgasms, even when researchers filtered out the effects of other risk factors for death.

The lower hormone levels that may come with age can dampen sexual desire in both men and women. Couples often end up having sex less and less often, until eventually they're living like roommates. A long "dry spell" can wreak havoc on even the strongest relationship, causing frustration, resentment, and feelings of rejection.

It's important to nip the problem in the bud - if you or your partner are experiencing lower sexual desire, check with your doctor to see if this is due to low hormones or other health conditions like erectile dysfunction, diabetes, or high blood pressure. If so, take steps to find an effective treatment. This will help get your sex life back on track. Other strategies like maintaining a healthy weight and diet, smoking cessation, and moderating your intake of alcohol can help you enjoy a healthy sex life. Communication is essential to good sex, and it will also boost your relationship. Plus, enjoying good sex together will strengthen your relationship.

Of course, the health and relationship benefits of sex depend on practicing safe sex (using a condom every time you have sex unless neither of you has sex with anyone else and you are both free of sexually transmitted infections), and neither person feeling pressured or forced.

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