The benefits of sex

Karen Holcomb

College students often hear about having to deal with the consequences of their actions. Sex, for example, leads to unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections and diseases. What students don’t hear about very often, are the positive effects of sex. Get some action, and benefit from it, too. That orgasm could give you more pleasure than you anticipated.

“One of the things that concerns me is folks all don’t have the same definition of sex,” said Laurie Wagner, health sciences professor. “Sex and orgasm are two different things.”

Wagner said those who are sexually active actually get the benefits of sex from the orgasm.

“After an orgasm there’s a drop in blood pressure so that’s what relaxes you, relieving stress,” Wagner said. “The endorphins that are released act like a tranquilizer.”

Endorphins, as well as other chemicals released during an orgasm, are good for boosting a person’s self-esteem, fighting colds and controlling calories.

“When you orgasm with a person, the oxytocin chemical that is released bonds you to that person,” Wagner said. “It can make you feel better so that’s what can increase your self-esteem.”

As for fighting colds and illness, Wagner said that having sex once or twice a week can increase immunoglobulin A, an antibody protecting the immune system.

Another chemical release that may help a person to possibly lose some weight is phenethylamine.

“It reduces appetite,” Wagner said. “There’s more control of caloric intake.”

Sex can also have another effect. If a person has trouble getting to sleep, sex could be the solution.

“Sleeping better has to do with the part of sex that reduces stress,” Wagner said. “When the endorphins drop after sex, you get sleepy.”

Wagner said that’s why masturbation is a common sleep aid.

There’s also the question, does sex slow the aging process?

Wagner said it might be all those chemicals. Releasing them makes you feel good, and when you feel good that can help you live longer.

“Aside from diseases and unintended pregnancy, there aren’t any negative physical consequences of sex,” Wagner said. “The only negative effect I think people forget are the emotional consequences.”

Wagner said that when you orgasm with a person the oxytocin bonds you so if you orgasm with someone before you know him or her, your brain bonds you to that person anyway.

“It’s almost like a chemical addiction,” Wagner said. “You should know someone before or you’ll end up ‘loving’ someone you hate.”

Lauren Haase, sophomore visual communication design major, said that she thinks college students especially don’t think of the emotional consequences of sex.

“College students just hook up and don’t think of it as anything more,” Haase said.

So with all of the physical benefits that can come from sex, people just need to be aware of the negative effects that can result as well. In order to reap the benefits, be smart. Diseases, unintended pregnancies and emotional effects can hinder the benefits that sex can provide.

Contact Karen Holcomb at [email protected].