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Regular sex is an important part of a healthy romantic relationship for many couples. Apart from feeling great, it boosts our self esteem, bonds us to our partners and even though we might not always be in the mood, the more we have it the more we want it.

In case you need any more reasons to have regular sex, we’ve compiled 7 health benefits of doing the deed.

1. Sex is a form of activity which can burn five calories per minute and raise the heart rate. It can be compared to yoga, dancing or walking in terms of exercise. It can also help to build muscle as it requires the use of various muscles and causes the release of testosterone which can help to build and maintain muscle tissue.

2. Sex can reduce pain. Many women find that having an orgasm helps to reduce menstrual cramps, migraines, joints pains and other muscle aches. It is believed that the hormone oxytocin, released during sex, causes a release of endorphins which are natural pain killers.

3. Sex can improve bladder control in women. Having sex (particularly during an orgasm) causes the pelvic floor muscles to contract and strengthen. These muscles are very important for maintaining bladder control and avoiding incontinence as we age. Doing pelvic floor exercises during sex can increase this benefit and may also be pleasurable. Gently flex the muscles, as if you were holding in urine, and hold for a few seconds at a time.

4. Sex helps to boost the immune system. Having regular sex (2 times per week) may mean taking less sick days. People having frequent sex have been found to have 30% higher levels of an antibody called immunoglobulin A. This antibody helps to defend you from viruses like colds and flu. So in addition to eating healthily and getting enough sleep, you can add sex to your list of immune boosting tasks, just make sure you have safe sex.

5. Having sex decreases prostate cancer risk. One study showed that men who ejaculated at least 21 times in a month were at lower risk for prostate cancer. Another study showed that men in their 20’s, who ejaculated 5 times per week, reduced their risk of prostate cancer by a third.While there are plenty of other factors which may influence cancer risk, having more (safe) sex may help.

6. Having sex may improve sleep. After an orgasm we release a hormone called prolactin which makes us feel relaxed. The oxytocin released (the hormone mentioned above as a pain killer) also has the ability to promote sleep. Getting enough sleep is vital for our well-being and if you struggle with insomnia this may be the solution for you!

7. Sex reduces stress. Sexual arousal causes our brain to release “feel-good” hormones (like the ones responsible for better sleep and pain-relief). One study showed that people who had more frequent sex could maintain their blood pressure during stressful situations. Sex can also reduce stress by boosting our self-esteem and happiness.