Here’s “Just the Facts,” a series where we scour Greatist’s archives for the most vital need-to-know nuggets on any given subject. It’s the no-noise info you gotta have, the way you gotta have it.
Sex. Nookie. Banging. Shagging. Whatever you want to call it, it’s a key — and enjoyable — element in many of our lives.
But there’s a lot more to it than just tangled limbs and sweat-drenched sheets. Whether you’re indulging with a partner or on a solo excursion, the physical and mental health connections run deep.
So, to uncover a little more about our top physical activity, let’s get it on with 25 facts about sex.
We’re bringing a whole new set of digits to the bedroom party.
1. People in their 20s are most active
While research shows that most “first times” occur during teenage years, the nookie numbers jump to around 80 times per year for folks in their 20s. The average tends to drop to 20 times per year by the time you hit retirement age.
2. 13 is the magic number
3. It’s a slow (calorie) burn
Researchers say a vigorous sex sesh can help you burn up to 5 calories per minute. So it’s not quite a replacement for a gym membership, but it may be a close second.
4. 70 percent of men watch porn…
…compared to just 33 percent of women. Women also tend to tune in with their partner, while men are happier to view porn alone.
5. Period sex has at least 5 benefits
The crimson wave needn’t stop you from surfing, but there are a few side effects to keep in mind.
We’ve all got a libido — the energy that drives our friskiness. But it can take some tweaking to get our levels where we want them.
6. Everyone’s libido varies
So there’s no “normal” you should be comparing yourself to in terms of how often you get busy.
7. There is such a thing as being too horny
As our experts explain, if thoughts (or actions) of sex take over your days, lead you to sneak around, or have become a distraction, then it’s likely time to seek professional help.
8. Sex drive + increased years of life = not a sexy combo
Add libido to the list of things that decline with age. Women’s sex drives are more likely to take a hit than those of their male counterparts.
9. Internal issues can turn your sex drive into a bumpy ride
Everything from drugs (prescription or otherwise) and hormones to health concerns can affect whether you’re feeling in the mood. So if you (or your partner) feel off your game, take a moment to consider what factors could be at play.
10. You can do a libido restart
If your sex drive is in a state of fluctuation, from zero one minute to 100 the next, don’t panic. Simple approaches like diet tweaks and exercise could help even things back out.
Whether you’re a solo player or prefer skin-on-skin time with others, there are plenty of upsides to either approach.
11. It’s a great way to get to know yourself
Not to knock sexual partners, but masturbation lets you gauge exactly what turns you on. Whether you use those discoveries now or later, self-exploration can make sex even more enjoyable for all involved.
12. Self-love is a self-image booster
Need a confidence lift? Forget counting Instagram likes and go for a bit of pleasure instead. Research shows masturbation can encourage a more positive self-image.
13. Sex strengthens bonds
Sexual acts (when done right) help strengthen both physical and mental connections with a partner. More than half of people questioned in one survey said a stronger emotional bond was the biggest benefit of sex.
14. Practice makes frequent
In perhaps the least surprising finding of all time, having sex is shown to enhance affection levels, which, in turn, increases the overall frequency of sexual activity.
Good news: Sex feels great. Great news: It also has longer-term physical benefits.
15. It’s a path to sweet dreams
Those who orgasm before going to sleep are more likely to have better-quality slumber. So, the next time you feel yourself drifting off after an enjoyable sexcapade, don’t try to fight it.
16. Toys aren’t just for kids
Regular vibrator use has been linked to better overall health. So check out our sex toy guide to ready yourself for a body boost (in more ways than one).
17. It keeps red days
away in check
Is the timing of your period all over the place? Getting jiggy can alter your levels of luteinizing hormone, which controls your menstrual cycle.
18. Working out makes workin’ it out better
We know sex burns cals. But to up your bedroom game even more, you need to hit the floor before you hit the bed. These exercises are all the prep you’ll need for an energetic romp.
19. Vitamin S(ex) does the body good
Sex can bolster infection-fighting antibodies. Is there a more enjoyable way to ward off the common cold than by getting hot and steamy? Probably not.
20. Taking care of body business leads to better pleasure
A number of physical health conditions can impact intimate relationships, but they don’t have to put a full stop on your sex life. There’s no shame in seeking professional help so you can get the pleasure you deserve.
We’re never gonna say “no” to a mental health booster — and, as these facts show, sex could be just what the psychiatrist ordered.
21. You can learn by sexperience
Sex can boost your recall skills and activate the area of your brain associated with learning.
22. The bedroom can prep you for the boardroom
Not literally (calm down, Human Resources). One study found that fooling around in the evening can make you more engaged in your job the next day.
23. You can climax your stress away
Feeling anxious? There’s an orgasm for that. Sex helps reduce the effects of stress on blood pressure and regulates the stress signals firing in your brain.
24. It helps to put the Big O in “om”
Not just for de-stressing after a rough day at work, engaging in mindfulness can improve sexual pleasure and arousal.
25. Nookie and your noggin are linked
As if conditions like depression, anxiety, and PTSD don’t already wreak enough havoc on our mental health, they can also impact our sex lives. From wandering thoughts to orgasm-suppressing meds, getting busy and mental health go hand in hand.
Time to come up for some air. As you can see, sex offers way more benefits than just a pleasurable orgasm. So explore to your heart’s content. Just remember to play it safe and do only what makes you feel good.
Chantelle Pattemore is a writer and editor based in London, UK. She focuses on lifestyle, health, beauty, food, and fitness.