The Physical Benefits of Love and Intimacy

February 7, 2007 — Leave a comment

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Lose weight. Reduce stress. Live longer. Stay younger. Sounds like another ad for a new wonder drug, doesn’t it? But, it’s not a drug at all. According to Dr. Liz Hale there is something else to add to that list: an active marital sex life!

Pioneering researchers have demonstrated many health benefits of sexual expression. A healthy marital sexual relationship fosters happiness, immunity, longevity, pain management, and sexual and reproductive health. Some studies even suggest that sexual activity may be associated with reducing the risk of the two leading causes of death in the U.S. – heart disease and cancer.

Research by Dr. Dean Ornish, author of “Love and Survival: the Scientific Basis for the Healing Power of Intimacy,” states that “anything that promotes feelings of love and intimacy is healing.” If you have someone who really cares for you and for whom you care for in return, someone you are intimately connected with in all ways, you may be three to five times less likely to be at risk for premature death and various diseases.

There is strong evidence demonstrating the importance of touch to good health. Back in the 1930’s, Dr. Rene Spitz discovered that children who were becoming ill and dying in hospital nurseries had nothing to do with hygiene or nutrition, but had to do with the amount of touching the infants received from the attending staff. His findings were further confirmed when he hired “grandmothers” to come in and hold, fondle, and cuddle the children. The illness and mortality rates rapidly declined.

Researchers at Miami’s Touch Research Institute found that premature infants who were massaged three times a day over 10 days gained 47% more body weight than preemies who weren’t massaged.

We cannot underestimate the power of Vitamin T. The chemical composition of your body is changed by touch. Caressing, hugging, stroking, and cuddling send a chain reaction of chemicals to your brain, giving the signal that all is right with the world.

I always advise someone who is not in an intimate relationship, especially if they are recovering from a broken heart due to divorce or other relationship break-up, to surround yourself with good friends and family members who offer loving, tender hugs, and even get frequent professional massages from a licensed massage therapist.


There are several health benefits to marital intimacy:

Intimacy Helps Maintain a Health Body Weight

According to the experts, sexual activity burns about 150 calories per half-hour. Now, that’s about the same as a good half-hour’s worth of walking or weight training, for those who are counting! Additionally, people with an active sex life tend to exercise more frequently and have better dietary habits than those who are less sexually active.

Intimacy Increases Blood Flow

Sex helps increase blood flow to the brain and all other organs of the body. Increased heart rate and deep breathing leads to improved circulation. The fresh blood supply saturates the organs and muscles with new oxygen and hormones, while the used blood is removed along with waste products that cause fatigue and even illness.

Intimacy Lowers Cholesterol

One of those “sex as exercise” benefits is that is can lower cholesterol, and it tips the HDL/LDL (good/bad) cholesterol balance towards the healthier HDL side.

Intimacy Relieves Stress

Satisfying sexual intimacy can be an exhilarating mood lifter. Sex draws a couple closer together, creating a deeper bond that can lead to less stress and greater relaxation. The surge of the hormone, Oxytocin that occurs during orgasm regulates blood pressure and temperature, and can even relieve physical pain and promote the healing of wounds.

Intimacy Boosts Testosterone and Estrogen

Regular sexual activity increases testosterone and estrogen levels in both men and women. Testosterone can not only increase libido, but it strengthens bones and muscles. Testosterone is what drives and motivates both men and women to pursue sexual intimacy. Testosterone has also been shown to reduce the risk of heart attacks and reduce harm to the coronary muscles if a heart attack does occur.

Regarding the genders: Some impressive studies show that men are less likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer and women are less likely to develop endometriosis.

Intimacy Helps Manage Pain

Men and women have long reported that sexual activity relieves chronic pain, including lower back pain. Sexual arousal and orgasm can increase levels of endorphins and corticosteroids that raise pain thresholds, easing discomforts associated with menstrual cramps, arthritis, migraines, and many other conditions.

These emotional and psychical bonds are so important in a healthy marriage�.the benefits cannot be denied or stated strongly enough.

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Dr. Liz Hale

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