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    10 Surprising Health Benefits of Sex

    The perks of sex extend well beyond the bedroom.
    (continued)

    5. Counts as Exercise

    “Sex is a really great form of exercise,” Pinzone says. It won’t replace the treadmill, but it counts for something.

    Sex uses about five calories per minute, four more calories than watching TV. It gives you a one-two punch: It bumps up your heart rate and uses various muscles.

    So get busy! You may even want to clear your schedule to make time for it on a regular basis. “Like with exercise, consistency helps maximize the benefits,” Pinzone says.

    6. Lowers Heart Attack Risk

    A good sex life is good for your heart. Besides being a great way to raise your heart rate, sex helps keep your estrogen and testosterone levels in balance.

    “When either one of those is low you begin to get lots of problems, like osteoporosis and even heart disease,” Pinzone says.

    Having sex more often may help. During one study, men who had sex at least twice a week were half as likely to die of heart disease as men who had sex rarely.

    7. Lessens Pain

    Before you reach for an aspirin, try for an orgasm.

    “Orgasm can block pain,” says Barry R. Komisaruk, PhD, a distinguished service professor at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. It releases a hormone that helps raise your pain threshold.

    Stimulation without orgasm can also do the trick. “We’ve found that vaginal stimulation can block chronic back and leg pain, and many women have told us that genital self-stimulation can reduce menstrual cramps, arthritic pain, and in some cases even headache,” Komisaruk says.

    8. May Make Prostate Cancer Less Likely

    Going for the gusto may help ward off prostate cancer.

    Men who ejaculated frequently (at least 21 times a month) were less likely to get prostate cancer during one study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

    You don’t need a partner to reap this benefit: Sexual intercourse, nocturnal emission, and masturbation were all part of the equation.

    It's not clear that sex was the only reason that mattered in that study. Lots of factors affect cancer risk. But more sex won’t hurt.

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