WOMEN

9 Reasons To Have Sex That Are Better Than Burning Calories

02/01/2013 04:44 pm ET

Sex may not actually burn calories, but that's no reason to give up on it.

A report published on Jan. 31 in the New England Journal of Medicine debunked the notion that sex is a good way to burn calories. According to the Associated Press, researchers found that the only evidence supporting this claim was a study conducted on 10 men in 1984. This study found that sex lasted six minutes on average and burned only 21 calories.

Actual "sexercise," as one New York Magazine writer found out the hard way, is difficult work. But just because your sex life doesn't double as a workout routine doesn't mean there are no benefits. In fact, there are plenty of excellent reasons to get it on.

1. It (hopefully) feels good!
If you know your body and are excited about the person you're sleeping with, you're bound to have a pretty great time. So go for it.

2. Even just thinking about sex is good for your brain.
In 2009, researcher Jens Förster found that individuals who were thinking about sex performed better in critical thinking tasks than those who were not.

3. It could help you live longer.
Duke Longitudinal Studies data, published in 1993, indicated that men who have sex more often tend to live longer, and women who claim to enjoy their sex lives live seven to eight years longer than those who are indifferent about their sex lives.

4. It can reduce pain.
Oxytocin, a hormone released during sex, is a natural painkiller. In 1985, sexologist Beverly Whipple found that, after orgasm, women's "pain tolerance threshold and pain detection threshold increased significantly by 74.6 percent and 106.7 percent respectively."

5. It decreases stress.
A study conducted by psychologist Stuart Brody in February 2006 found that people who had recently had sex had lower blood pressure in stressful situations than those who had not.

6. It keeps you looking young.
An August 2002 study conducted by David Weeks of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital found that couples who had sex three times a week or more looked 10 years younger than an average adult who has sex twice a week or less. Weeks spoke with BBC News about his previous research in March 1999: "Pleasure derived from sex is a crucial factor in preserving youth. It makes us happy and produces chemicals telling us so."

7. It boosts your immunity.
In June 2004, researchers at Wilkes University found that individuals who have sex once or twice a week show higher levels of an antibody named immunoglobulin A (IgA) than those who have sex less frequently. IgA plays an important role in protecting the body from illnesses. So, more sex could mean fewer colds.

8. It helps you sleep.
According to Laura Berman, director of the Berman Center for Women's Sexual Health, the endorphins released during sex can help you sleep.

9. Using a condom won't inhibit your fun.
In January 2013, researchers at Indiana University concluded that sex with condoms can be just as satisfying as sex without. Safe and pleasurable? It's a win-win.

What are the other benefits of having sex? Sound off in the comments below, or tweet @HuffPostWomen! (Not too explicit please.)

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