The Ins & Outs: Why having enough sex bolsters good health

When it comes to getting it up, most studies focus on older people and what happens if you spend the first 50 years not having sex as often as you should. But it’s important for younger people, too. It’s true: If you don’t use it, you lose it.

Well, not lose it. But you definitely won’t be able to use it anymore. The less often you have sex or masturbate, the less your body is actually interested in sex — a slippery slope. And it all comes back to cardiovascular health.

According to SF State biology lecturer J.R. Blair, good blood flow replenishes oxygen throughout the body’s organs. Bad things happen when cells in those organs don’t get the oxygen they need.

“Cells that do not get sufficient nutrition and oxygen will die. If blood flow is restricted to certain organs, then they can fail,” he said.

Men, as you know, you need that blood flow to the penis to have an erection. Without that blood flow, it’s impossible to get a natural erection. The same concept applies to women. The erectile tissues in the clitoris and the blood flow to the vulva is critical when it comes to sex and sexual arousal. So no blood means no sex.

The benefits of keeping that blood flowing is that it keeps the body very healthy sexually.

“When you break it all down, everything in the body, including sex, is dependent on good blood flow,” Dr. Madeleine Castellanos, a psychiatrist who specializes in treating sexual dysfunction, said to Ian Kerner in a CNN column in January 2012. “Our body’s way of nourishing itself and keeping itself vibrant and alive is by carrying oxygen, hormones and nutrients via the bloodstream to all tissues and cells. The more activity that a certain part of our body engages in, the more blood flow is directed to that area.”

More frequent sex — even if it’s with yourself — stimulates circulation to the genitals. This also maintains nerve health for both sexes, helps women with vaginal elasticity and lubrication and leads to better sex in the future. For men, the more often the blood flows to the penis, the easier it is every time.

SF State associate professor of biology Chris Moffatt adds that there is an important link between poor cardiovascular health and sexual dysfunction.

“There is substantial amount of evidence to show that good cardiovascular health is associated with healthy sexual functioning and that people who have cardiovascular diseases — hypertension, hyperlipidemia (i.e. high cholesterol levels, etc.) — are at a higher risk of developing sexual dysfunctions than are people who don’t suffer from these problems,” he said. “In general, there is a strong relationship between general health and sexual function: people with the fewest health problems tend to have the fewest sexual dysfunctions.”

For men, nicotine and alcohol can also prevent the blood from effectively pumping. When you smoke, the carbon monoxide released narrows the arteries and reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood stream, which ultimately damages your heart and then your ability to get an erection. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, excessive alcohol use can interfere with testicular functions, leading to impotence and infertility. That’s right, whiskey dick can have lasting effects.

The key is to stay healthy and keep the blood pumping, and the best way to do that is through a regular exercise routine, including regular sex! You may not think that constantly being wet or springing up a boner several times a day is a good thing, but it’s a definite sign that your blood is still pumping down there.

So jump in bed and begin paving the way for a lifetime of health and great sex.