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The Love Connection: Intimacy, Health, and Longevity

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The editors at Master of Health Administration Degrees decided to research the topic of:

The Love Connection: Intimacy, Health, and Longevity

In Sickness...

- Pain-relief:
- Immediately before orgasm, oxytocin levels surge to five times their normal level.
- oxytocin releases endorphins and corticosteroids, which alleviate pain
- arthritis
- chronic back pain
- migraine relief
- menstrual cramp pain (assisted by release of estrogen)
- Stronger immune system
- people who have sex 1-2/week show 30% higher levels of immunoglobulin A, an antibody which boosts the immune system
- Love Cures All...Even Cancer
- increased frequency of sexual intercourse correlated with a decrease in breast cancer in a study of women who had never given birth
- correlation between infrequency of ejaculation and prostate cancer, due to the secretion of carcinogens during ejaculation
- British Journal of Urology International: men in their 20s can reduce their chance of prostate cancer by ? by ejaculating more than five times a week
- Love is Good for the Heart
- A new study reports that when people were with their spouses or partners their blood pressure lowered slightly.
- participants' systolic blood pressure went down an average one point
- sex 3+ times a week, reduces men's risk of heart attack or stroke by half

...And in Health

- Physical Benefits of Love and Sex
- Improved sense of smell
- After sex, the hormone prolactin production surges, causing stem cells in the brain to develop new neurons in the brain's olfactory bulb, its smell center.
- Weight loss & fitness
- One sexual encounter burns about 200 calories (same as running 15 min on a treadmill)
- An aroused person's pulse rises from about 70 beats per minute to 150
- Muscular contractions during intercourse work the pelvis, thighs, buttocks, arms, neck and thorax.
- Men's Health magazine has gone so far as to call the bed the single greatest piece of exercise equipment ever invented.
- Better teeth
- Seminal plasma contains zinc, calcium and other minerals shown to retard tooth decay.
- Researchers note that sexual etiquette usually demands the brushing of one's teeth before and/or after intimacy, increasing oral hygiene.
- Sleep
- sex, including masturbation, helps insomnia
- neuroimaging scans show that the prefrontal cortex area of the brain reduces in activity after climax
- Being the area of the brain associated with consciousness, information processing and mental activity
- The body releases hormones such as oxytocin and serotonin which promote sleep through relaxation. Serotonin is a precursor to melatonin which helps regulate the sleep cycle in the Circadian Rythym.
- Less Depression
- women whose male partners did not use condoms were less subject to depression
- One theory: Prostoglandin, a hormone found only in semen, may be absorbed in the female genital tract
- Sex releases pleasure-inducing endorphins during arousal and climax relieves depression and anxiety
- Beauty
- having sex regularly leads to shiny hair, a glowing complexion and bright eyes
- caused by the hormone DHEA (dehydroepiandrostone)
- Reproductive health benefits
- regular sex prevents of endometriosis in women
- Sex boosts testosterone production in men, strengthening bones and muscles
- Gratitude leads to health
- when people spend three 20-minute sessions per week writing about loved ones, their cholesterol count fell within five weeks
- Feelings of gratitude boost immunity, lower blood pressure and speed healing.
- love, gratitude and contentment trigger oxytocin.
- which switches off stress by causing the nervous system to relax
- Oxygenates tissues, increasing the speed of healing (see above)
- gratitude is associated with balanced electric activity in the heart and brain

When Relationships Slump, So Does Health

- a 30-minute argument with your partner can slow your body's ability to heal by at least a day.
- If you argue regularly, that healing time is doubled.
- Researchers tested couples with a suction device that created tiny blisters on their arms.
- When the couples were asked to talk about an area of disagreement that provoked emotion, the wounds took about 40% longer to heal than those of the control group.
- This response is caused by a surge in cytokines, which trigger inflammation.
- High levels of cytokines are linked to arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
- Studies in the United States, Scandinavia and Japan show that people who are isolated or disconnected from others are at an increased risk of dying prematurely
- successive short-term relationships are harmful to your well-being
- for women, multiple partnership transitions are associated with poorer mental health, and increased mortality
- Having multiple sexual partners raises a man's risk of cancer by up to 40% (due to increased risk of contracting sexual infections)

Young Love and Long Lasting Commitments

- young people who reported recently falling in love vs young single people
- higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol in people in love
- men who were in love had less testosterone, and the women in love had more
- possible conclusion: falling in love may reduce some of the differences between the sexes, making men softer and women more aggressive.
- Honeymoon year: in the first year of a relationship in which people are "in love," nerve growth factor is increased
- Nerve growth factor, a hormone-like substance, helps restore the nervous system and improves memory by triggering the growth of new brain cells
- researchers found that when the couples were separated physically,
- they had higher cortisol levels
- slept less fitfully
- Longevity
- married people had age adjusted mortality rates that were 10-15% lower than the population as a whole
- the difference in mortality rates in favor of marriage, increases with age.
- Men who orgasm twice a week have a 50% lower chance of mortality than those who climax one time per month.