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Go Ahead

Scientists say sex is good for us, and that abstinence should only be practiced in moderation. Having regular sex can help you live a longer, healthier life. Researcher Shah Ebrahim says, "The relationship found between frequency of sexual intercourse and mortality is of considerable public interest."

Alan Farnham writes in Forbes.com. that researchers in Northern Ireland who studied 1,000 middle-aged men over ten years found that men who reported having the most orgasms had half the death rates. This may be due to a reduced risk of heart disease. By having sex three or more times a week, the men in the study reduced their risk of heart attack or stroke by half.

Weight loss and better fitness? Sex is great exercise and burns about 200 calories, which is the same as running 15 minutes on a treadmill or playing a game of tennis. Sex raises our pulse rate from about 70 beats per minute to 150, which is the same as that of an athlete.

British researchers say the calories in six Big Macs can be worked off by having sex three times a week for a year. Muscular contractions during intercourse work the pelvis, thighs, buttocks, arms, neck and thorax. Sex also boosts production of testosterone, which leads to stronger bones and muscles. Men's Health magazine calls the bed the single greatest piece of exercise equipment ever invented. Dr. Claire Bailey says women can use sex to firm the tummy and buttocks and improve posture.

Sex cheers you up, according to a 2002 study of 293 women. Psychologist Gordon Gallup says Prostoglandin, a hormone found only in semen, may alleviate depression.

It's also good for pain, since immediately before orgasm, levels of the hormone oxytocin surge to five times the normal level. This releases endorphins, which alleviate the pain of things like migraine headaches and arthritis. In women, sex increases the production of estrogen, which can reduce the pain of PMS.

Want fewer colds and flu? A Pennsylvania study shows that people who have sex once or twice a week show 30% higher levels of an antibody called immunoglobulin A, which is known to boost the immune system.

Bladder control gets weaker with age, but sex works the Kegel muscles that control it. Aging prostates are troublesome too, but urologists have noted a relationship between few ejaculations and prostate cancer. To produce seminal fluid, the prostate and the seminal vesicles take zinc, citric acid and potassium from the blood and concentrate them 600 times. Any carcinogens present in the blood are also concentrated, then ejaculation ejects them from the body. A study published by the British Journal of Urology International says men in their 20s can reduce their chance of getting prostate cancer by one third by ejaculating more than five times a week.

It's a good early warning system as well. Urologist J. Francois Eid says that erectile dysfunction may be telling you that you have diseased blood vessels elsewhere in your body. He says, "It could be a first sign of hypertension or diabetes or increased cholesterol levels. It's a red flag that you should see your doctor. Men who exercise and have a good heart and low heart rate, and who are cardio-fit, have firmer erections. There very definitely is a relationship."

Another benefit is a better sense of smell. After sex, we experience a surge in the production of the hormone prolactin, which causes stem cells in the brain to develop new neurons in the brain?s olfactory area.

Gynecologist George Winch Jr. says, "I don't think women can have too much intercourse, so long as no sexually transmitted disease is introduced and there?s not an inadvertent pregnancy."

But men can overdo it. Eid says, "It is possible for a young man who is very forceful and who likes rough sex, to damage his erectile tissue?I see it in pro football players. They use Viagra because they're so sexually active. What they demand of their body is unreasonable. It's part of playing football: you play through the pain?If you do not allow the penis to rest, then the muscle tissue does not get enough oxygen?The muscle becomes so engorged, it's painful. Pressure inside starts to increase. Cells start dying. More pressure and less blood flow. Eventually the muscle dies. Then there's scarring. That's why it's considered an emergency."

To get in the mood, you need the right music, and our favorite composer, Steven Halpern, has two brand new CDS.

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