Three Things You Didn’t Know About Sex and Your Health

By Jamil Abdur-Rahman, M.D., FACOG

Young happy couple in bed

1. Lots and lots of people are having sex!!!
Estimates indicate that at this very moment while you’re reading this very blog article (I feel kind of sorry for you right now, but please don’t stop reading my blog), there are at least 167,000 people on planet earth who are doing something far more interesting and enjoyable than you are doing right now. That’s right, as you read this very article there are at least 167,000 people on this blue little marble that we call planet earth who are having sex. So while you might not be having sex at this very moment (and if you are having sex at this very moment then color me impressed, that’s multitasking at it’s finest), suffice it to say that lots and lots of people sharing this planet with you are. Now the sheer number of people having sex at this very moment might come as a bit of a surprise to you, but this next fact likely will not. While lots and lots of peoples are having sex right now the majority of them still will not have an orgasm when all is said and done. In fact, fewer than half of the people having sex right now will have an orgasm. Did you know that a recent global survey of sexual wellbeing found that only 48% of people surveyed report “always” or “almost always” having orgasms during intercourse? Not surprisingly, this same survey also found that there is a wide “orgasm gap” between men and women with close to 70% of the men surveyed reporting “always” or “almost always” having orgasms during sexual intercourse while only 33% of female respondents reported “always” or “almost always” having orgasms during sexual intercourse.

When examining this orgasm gap a little bit more closely the data reveals that Canada, the United States, Russia, Australia and England have some of the world’s largest orgasms gaps between men and women while Nigeria has the world’s smallest gender based orgasm gap. So what to make of this geographic variation in the orgasm gap and why does it matter anyway? Well if you are someone that does not regularly have an orgasm during sex you probably already know why this orgasm gap matters, but lets take a moment to discuss why the orgasm gap matters for the lucky ones among us who lack a frame of reference because they regularly have orgasms during sex. The orgasm gap matters because having enjoyable sex not only makes you feel good emotionally (thereby contributing to a greater overall sense of emotional well-being and happiness), having enjoyable sex also can be good for you physically. Research has shown that having regular sex can improve your physical health in a number of ways, but a great number of these physical health benefits are multiplied even further when you regularly have orgasms while having sex. More on sex and it’s physical health benefits in a little bit. Now, the gender based orgasms gap, what to make of that? Why do more Nigerian women have organisms than their counterparts in Canada, the U.S., Russia, Australia and England? Well I wish that there were an easily identifiable scientific explanation that I could offer you to answer this question, but no such explanation exists. So I’m only left to conclude that either Nigerian men are better lovers than the rest of the world’s men (I can see Nigerian men right now nodding their heads in determined agreement) or that Nigerian women are just better than the rest of the world’s women at faking it (I can see Nigerian women right now nodding their heads in solemn agreement). I’ll leave each individual reader to decide which they think is more likely.

2. Sexual prowess varies by country.
While lots and lots of the world’s inhabitance are having sex right now, not all of them started having sex at the same age, nor do they all have sex in the same way once they do start having sex. People in Asia tend to wait the longest before becoming sexually active with the average Asian losing his or her virginity at the ripe old age of 21.4 years old. This is in stark contrast to people in South America. South Americans tend to become sexually active earlier than anyone else in the world with the average South American losing his or her virginity at the tender young age of 17.4 years old. Americans tend to fall somewhere in the middle with the average American losing his or her virginity at the age of 18.7 year old.

Love

Now, not only do the world’s inhabitance differ when it comes to when they start having sex, they also differ when it comes to how they have sex. One of these difference can be seen when examining the average amount of time that people engage in sex in different parts of the world. People in France and India for example have some of the world’s “shortest sex”, with the average Indian or French couple engaging in sex for just 13.1 to 15 minutes per sex act. Our French and Indian friends would probably tell us though that sex is more about quality than it is about quantity, and they might be correct in stating that. By contrast the Nigerians, Brazilians, Mexicans, Greek and the Chinese tend to have some of the world’s “longest sex” with the average couple in these countries engaging in sex for 21 minutes or longer per sex act. Our Nigerian, Brazilian, Mexican, Greek and Chinese friends might tell us that a measure of quality is quantity, and they too might be correct in stating that. Now how many of my astute readers caught the fact that Nigeria once again found itself on the favorable side of the comparative world sex ledger? What to make of this? I’m afraid that once again I have no scientific explanation to offer to explain this fact. So it would seem that either Nigerian men are just some of the world’s most engaging, compassionate and thoughtful lovers or that Nigerian women are just exceedingly patient. Again, I’ll leave each individual reader to decide.

3. Sex not only makes you feel good it can also be good for you.
When carried out in a safe and responsible manner, having sex on a regular basis can promote improved overall health and wellness. Research has shown that engaging in regular sexual activity can improve heart health, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, boost the activity of the immune system, improve emotional wellbeing and lessen the intensity and frequency of pain in people suffering from conditions that cause chronic pain. Engaging in regular sexual intercourse can also help to prevent (or at the very least to lessen the severity of) urinary incontinence in women as they age. The numerous health benefits associated with sex are all largely mediated by the chemicals our body’s produce during and immediately following sex. These chemicals include Oxytocin, Prolactin, Dopamine and Norepinephrine. Now if you think that I am just whistling Dixie when I tell you that regular sex and the production of these chemicals promotes better overall general health, consider the fact that research has demonstrated that people who have sex at least 100 times per year live on average 3-8 years longer than people having sex fewer than 100 times per year. So sex is healthy and having regular safe and responsible sex can help you to live a longer and healthier life and that fact now brings me back to our earlier mentioned gender based orgasm gap. We’ve established the fact that the act of sex alone confers a great many health benefits, but it should also be noted that when you have an orgasm during sex these health benefits are multiplied even further as the act of having an orgasm causes your body to release even larger amounts of the health promoting chemicals Oxytocin, Prolactin, Dopamine and Norepinephrine than are released by just having sex alone.

So you’re probably thinking “well how do we close this orgasm gap” so that everyone can benefit fully from sex and it’s physical health benefits? Well friends you might be shocked to learn that the key to narrowing the orgasm gap and to ensuring that more women are able to optimally enjoy the numerous health benefits of having sex rests with wearing socks? That’s right you read correctly, I did indeed say that the key to closing the orgasm gap might rest with wearing socks. As odd as this might sound, research out of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands found that women who wear socks during sex are almost twice as likely to have an orgasm than are women who do not wear socks during sex. So there you have it, the orgasm gap can be overcome with the aid of simple, easily obtained every day socks. Good news for women everywhere, but bad news for men with a foot fetish! Why wearing socks seems to increase the likelihood that a women will have an orgasm I don’t know, but I do know that you cannot argue with science because you will simply NEVER win, so it’s best that you don’t even try to. Thanks for reading and be safe my friends.