A penthouse in Manhattan, an editor position at Vogue – just two of the wishes I’d make if a magic genie were to now suddenly appear. Oh, excuse the Aladdin reference; I’m writing this column from home and am sitting beside my baby sister, who is currently in a daze watching the Disney classic.
The third wish – at the risk of sounding just a bit vain and slothful – is a complete sin: I’d wish to never have to work out.
I absolutely hate even the idea of working out – two of my biggest fears are sweat and body odor. But because of all the great food I devoured this past weekend, I’m almost up for a trip to the ARC. Almost.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way after a holiday notorious for its coma-inducing turkey feasts. But unlike many of you who will choose to run a little harder or eat a little healthier these next few days to compensate, I’ll stick to doing what I do best: Having wild, loud, it’s-been-a-while sex with my boyfriend.
That’s my plan of action: staying healthy and fit, one fuck at a time. After all, sex is vital to us as humans. In a WebMD feature on the health benefits of sex, Joy Davidson, a New York psychologist and sex therapist, backs me up: “[T]he idea that we are vital, sexual creatures is still looked at in some cases with disgust or … a bit of embarrassment. So to really take a look at how our sexuality adds to our life and enhances our life and health, both physically and psychologically, is eye-opening for many people.”
In my defense, sex burns calories. Though it doesn’t compare to a jog on the treadmill or a few sit-ups, it can help some. Studies show that a 130-lb. person can burn seven calories from having five minutes of rigorous sex. In half an hour, sex sheds anywhere from 85 to 150 calories, depending on how rough the lovers get. Sure, it might not seem like a big number now, but doing it a few times a week is sure to add up. And remember: the rougher the sex, the more calories burned.
Besides burning calories, sex can improve overall health and well being in many other ways. For one, it really does wonders for your self-esteem. In fact, it was listed as one of 237 reasons people have sex in the Archives of Sexual Behavior. Even though I don’t really seek the boost in ego, I do go about my day with a little more pep in my step after a hot “good morning” romp. Or maybe I’m just walking funny for the obvious reason.
Though not scientifically proven, sex might also be able to relieve a little pain. During lovemaking (or even masturbation – I know not everyone has someone else around to tickle their genitals fancy), the brain releases a great amount of the hormone oxytocin, which could perhaps ease pain. So maybe instead of popping a Tylenol for that headache you get from cramming for finals, a good roll in the hay could be a more natural way to soothe.
Oxytocin can also help you fall asleep. And a healthy sleeping cycle does wonders for your body and mind. So if you’re tossing and turning, an orgasm could be just what you need to help you get to dreamland.
With winter right around the corner, colds and flus tend to come hand-in-hand with the frigid, rainy weather. But sex could help protect you: A study conducted by researchers at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania reveals that doing it once or twice a week can increase the level of immunoglobulin A (IgA), an antibody that defends against infectious bacteria and viruses, in your body. Of the 112 students who participated, those who reported having sex frequently had higher IgA levels than those who were abstinent and those who had sex less than once a week.
For men, regularly ejaculating in your 20s could help reduce the risk of prostate cancer in your 30s, 40s and 50s. Also, sex makes testosterone levels skyrocket, and while it’s more known for amping up sex drive, testosterone also strengthens muscles and bones. For women, estrogen levels rise, which reduces the risk of heart disease.
Lastly, sex significantly helps reduce stress. You don’t need me to tell you that we’re now at the end of the quarter, and a lot of us are beginning to feel the pressure with finals just a week away. But sex lowers your blood pressure, helps get your mind off responsibilities for a moment and helps you relax when you need it most. After all, it’s important you honeybees stay both healthy and calm before the storm of finals. So take my advice: Forget the apple. If you want the doc to stay away, try an orgasm a day.
MARIO LUGO really wants to keep writing in the winter, if you’ll have him. Did you enjoy all our sex talk this quarter? Or do you think he should’ve done things differently? Love him or hate him at email@example.com. But no matter what, he’s happy to have been your friend in the paper. Here’s to hoping he gets to do it again!