10 reasons to have sex tonight

by Sandee LaMotte

Updated 3:45 PM ET, Wed October 5, 2016
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The health benefits of sex go way beyond the pleasures of orgasm. You get a health boost in all sorts of ways from fooling around, from lowering blood pressure to stress reduction. Read on for all the excuses you need to schedule sex tonight. bikeriderlondon/Shutterstock
Sex, especially orgasm, releases the bonding hormone oxytocin, which promotes a feeling of well-being and happiness. And you don't have to act like bunnies to get the benefit; a study of 30,000 Americans over four decades found that sex at least once a week was enough to make people happy. bezikus/Shutterstock
Sex seems to be especially good for a woman's heart -- the physical one, that is. A recent study found that women who said they had frequent, extremely satisfying sex had a lower risk of hypertension, a common precursor to heart disease.
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Regular, frequent sex may lower the risk of prostate cancer, according to research presented to the American Urological Association. A study of 32,000 men over 18 years found that men who ejaculate at least monthly may be less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer later in life. mangostock/Shutterstock
You won't look like this without hitting the gym, of course, but sex is a form of exercise, burning about 150 calories an hour. Add it to the end of your workout as a reward with benefits. Guryanov Andrey/Shutterstock
Sex can lessen pain. Studies have found that even stimulation without orgasm can reduce menstrual cramps, chronic back and leg pain, even migraines. Something to think about the next time you consider saying "Not now, honey, I have a headache!" gosphotodesign/Shutterstock
Sex may help your memory, too. Men over 50 who had more sex were better at word recall and number sequencing, while older women improved only in word recall, according to a study published by Oxford University. Both did better than those who had less sex.
Sex lowers stress and anxiety by releasing all sorts of good-for-you hormones, and that can help ward off depression, too. Studies show that men and women who have intercourse with their partners have greater satisfaction with their mental health. Unfortunately, the benefits didn't extend to masturbation. Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock
Good sex improves sleep, too. After orgasm, the hormones prolactin and serotonin are released, helping you feel relaxed and sleepy. Women (and some studies) argue that men receive the greater benefit. DNF Style/Shutterstock
In case you didn't know it, sex can also make a baby. And that can be good for you. Studies show that people with kids living at home tend to have more money and are more highly educated and in better health. Andy Dean Photography/Shutterstock