Bit stressed? Skin looking dull? Back playing up again?
If you’re feeling under par and in need of a tonic we’ve got just the answer: SEX.
World Sexual Health Day is the perfect time for a reminder of how regular rumpy-pumpy can keep us in fine fettle.
One recent study said we should all be having 200 orgasms a year because they boost our bodies in so many ways.
So here’s our sexual healing guide. You choose the dose and you don’t need a prescription…
Lots of sex boosts our immune systems and helps us fight off coughs, colds and other lurgies. Sexually active people also take fewer days off sick from work.
Researchers at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania gave college students questionnaires about their sex lives, then tested their saliva for levels of immunoglobulin A (IgA), an antibody that helps battle viruses.
Students who had sex once or twice a week had 30% more IgA than those who had less. More fun than a flu jab too!
A study in the journal Biological Psychology found that both sexes reacted better to stressful situations if they’d had sex the night before.
The pleasure of touching, kissing and cuddling lowers the level of the stress hormone cortisol and boosts the body’s “happy “hormones such as oxytocin.
It also means sex can help to combat depression.
The more you have, the more you want. Far from wearing you out, a frenzied sex life increases your sex drive.
“Having sex will make sex better and will improve your libido,” says Lauren Streicher, an obstetrics and gynaecology expert from the Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
For women, having sex increases vaginal lubrication blood flow, and elasticity, she says, all of which make sex feel better and help you crave more of it.
Next time your other half begs off with a headache, tell them sex is actually an excellent painkiller.
Research published in the Bulletin of Experimental Biology and Medicine said orgasms can halve the body’s sensitivity to pain, including back pain, migraine and arthritis.
Sex raises the level of endorphins (the body’s own painkillers) by a third in minutes, making it far quicker than popping pills.
Even stimulation without orgasm can block chronic back and leg pain, period pains and headaches.
Forget Botox, scientists at Royal Edinburgh University found couples having sex at least four times a week look 10 years younger.
The pleasure releases hormones such as adrenaline, dopamine and norepinephrine which give you that “sex glow.”
They help to preserve skin cells and relax muscles to prevent wrinkles.
And “loving intercourse” with a regular partner is better than casual sex.
Men who make love at least twice a week are 45% less likely to develop a life-threatening heart condition.
Regular sex helps lower blood pressure, which can reduce the risk of common killers such as heart attacks and strokes.
Scientists at the New England Research Institute in Massachusetts studied the sex lives of more than 1,000 men and were so impressed by the results they urged doctors to screen men for sexual activity.
Erotic action is an excellent way to burn off calories.
Doctors at the University of Montreal found that 24 minutes of lovemaking can burn off 104 calories for men and 67 for women.
It bumps up your heart rate and exercises your muscles, and is more effective than walking.
But be warned, a six-minute “quickie” burns just 20 calories. So don’t skip the foreplay.
An active love life can guard against breast cancer in both men and women.
A Greek study published in the British Journal of Cancer in 2000 found that men who had fewer than six orgasms a month were at significantly higher risk of developing the disease.
Meanwhile a 1989 study of French women found those without a partner, or who had sex less than once a month, were at higher risk of a breast cancer.
It helps guard against male prostate cancer too. The National Cancer Institute found an average of 21 ejaculations a month cuts the threat by 33%.
Doubling the figure may not cut the risk any more – but that’s no reason not to try!
Sex can help men top up their testosterone and women to maintain their oestrogen levels, keeping bone density higher and cutting the risk of diseases like the brittle-bone disorder osteoporosis.
The French medical research council, Inserm, reckons sex is better than counting sheep (sorry, les moutons) when it comes to nodding off.
Their 2012 study found the body releases relaxing chemicals such as serotonin after orgasm, helping maintain healthy sleep patterns.
They also found men were more likely to feel sleepy after sex – which means they do have an excuse for nodding off instead of wanting to cuddle or chat.
You know how films used to show lovers reaching for a post-coital ciggie? Well, it should have stopped them wanting to light up.
Some studies show orgasms can act to regulate our appetites and cravings.
Throughout intercourse the body produces phenethylamine, a natural amphetamine that may help to reduce cravings for junk food, cigarettes and binge eating.
Another wee thing
A strong pelvic floor will prevent incontinence, which affects about 30% of women at some point in their lives, and men to a lesser extent.
Good sex is a workout for the pelvic floor muscles and orgasms contract and strengthen the muscles.
And men who exercise their pubococcygeal muscles (the ones you tense to hold in wee) can also