11 Indulgences That Are Good for Your Health
Making love has numerous psychological benefits, such as reducing stress and increasing self-esteem, says Elizabeth Gunther Stewart, M.D., a Boston-based gynecologist and author of The V Book: A Doctor's Guide to Complete Vulvovaginal Health (Bantam Books, 2002). "There is the release of endorphins in the brain, which makes people feel good," she says. A roll in the hay also has some physiological benefits. "Regular sex is a healthy activity in that it increases blood flow," says Stewart, "and we know that in sexually active women, the acid-base balance of the vagina is healthier."
In their book For Women Only: A Revolutionary Guide to Reclaiming Your Sex Life (Henry Holt and Company, 2001), Los Angeles-based urologist Jennifer Berman, M.D., and sex therapist Laura Berman, Ph.D., say, "The more sexually active a woman is, especially into her menopausal years, the better her genital blood flow and vaginal health will remain."
A number of studies have also suggested that people who have sex more often live longer. Michael F. Roizen, M.D., a gerontologist at the University of Chicago and author of RealAge: Are You as Young as You Can Be? (HarperResource, 2001), says that having sex twice a week can add nearly two years to your life. Having sex once a day, he says, can add eight years to your life.