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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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February 17 2011

8 Health Reasons to Have Sex (As If You Needed Them)

By Mark Sisson
170 Comments

As promised in last week’s Hunter-Gatherer Fitness post, I’m stirring up the (apparently much awaited) subject of sex – specifically the benefits for physical and mental well-being. Uh, you mean coitus? Yup. Thanks to everyone who responded to the announcement with rousing enthusiasm as well as comments and questions.

What could be more Primal than sex, many of you have suggested. Absolutely right. It was probably one of Grok’s most valued pleasures. (Are people today much different?) For our part, however, we have new freedoms in a manner of speaking. Although we might honor the evolutionary imperative behind our primal appetites with eventual procreation, we’re not beholden to the natural odds with every tryst. As I’ve said many a time, I love studying and learning from the example of Grok and his kin. Nonetheless, I’m a happily modern man in this instance as much as any.

I’m not just talking hedonistic indulgence here (not that there’s anything wrong with that). There are genuine health benefits to be garnered after all. Today I’m after those copious “ancillary” benefits of bonk – the gratifying (albeit overshadowed) enhancements to our physical and mental health that come from the physical exertion itself as well as the biochemical cascade of everything from estrogen to testosterone, prolactin to oxytocin to beta-endorphins.

Before we proceed, let me offer the expected and requisite Primal caveat: I’m talking here about safe sex ideally with a committed partner. What good does it do to blow the overall health benefit by putting yourself at risk for the myriad of sexually transmitted diseases. Likewise, why negate the mental health boost by pursing sex in a relationship/liaison that isn’t emotionally healthy? ‘Nuff said?

Now for those long awaited advantages…. Let’s cut to the chase here, get to it, and jump right in. After all, there’s much to discuss and disseminate today. Lot of ins, lot of outs. (All right, I’ve had my fun….)

1. Improve Your Stress Response – And Your Blood Pressure

Sex certainly has the power to take the edge off. (Stress just kind of slides off….) The process of arousal and orgasm, of course, let loose a mesmeric elixir of natural pain killers and relaxers. What’s not to love? Though sex generally offers the most intense dose of aforementioned chemical cocktail, caresses of all kinds can impart generous benefits. (All the more reason to take your time and relish the full experience, I’d say.) Research has shown that a partner’s touch – whether curling up under the sheets or simply passing in the hall – initiates the release of oxytocin, which in turn can lower blood pressure and heart rate. The effect goes for so-called cardiovascular reactivity, the response of the cardiovascular system to stress. Participants who received comforting touch from their spouses before stressful events displayed lower blood pressure and lower heart rates. If that’s what a simple hug can do, imagine the inspiration you can give your partner the morning of a big presentation?

2. (While You’re At It…) Cut Your Risk for Cardiac-related Death

On a more dramatic note, the unique closeness of sex can have more consequential impact in the cardiovascular realm. In a 20-year long cohort study, researchers followed more than 900 men and found that having sex twice or more a week decreased a subject’s risk for a fatal heart attack – by more than 50%. That’s nothing to shake a stick at.

3. Upgrade Your Immune Function

An often cited study from Wilkes University suggests regular sex might offer a surge of immune potency. Among the 112 surveyed students, those who had sex 1-2 times a week showed a rousing 30 percent boost in salivary immunoglobulin. Those who had sex less frequently than once a week had a slight IgA edge over total abstainers. (In an interesting wrinkle, the “three or more times a week” crowd showed slightly lower IgA levels. To their possible chagrin, the researchers didn’t ask participants about the number of partners or other potential “relationship” factors that might have influenced the findings. Hmmm…lack of sleep?) Although it’s a study to take with a grain of salt, the basic premise is probably sound. As welcome as it is, the usual exchange of fluids (or the body’s anticipated exchange) represents contact with a foreign substance that likely contains some kind of microbial profile.

4. Get Some Pain Relief

Anyone who’s gotten jiggy with it when they’re sick knows sex can offer a temporary respite from their symptoms – especially when it comes to pain. (Kind of turns the proverbial headache excuse on its ear.) Both arousal and orgasm trigger the production of oxytocin, which then initiates a sensational rush of endorphins and corticosteroids – both fairly potent pain killers. Post coital bliss indeed.

In a study published in the Bulletin of Experimental Biology and Medicine, subjects who were given a dose of oxytocin saw their pain thresholds balloon by more than 50% during the course of the experiment. Seriously, who needs Advil for an analgesic?

5. Steady Your Cycle – and Possibly Increase Your Fertility

Physicians prescribe the birth control pill left and right to women who have irregular menstrual cycles. Regular sex might present a more enjoyable alternative for that particular purpose. Women who have sex with male partners once a week or more, research has shown, are more likely to experience consistent menstrual cycles and (as a result) have fewer fertility problems than women who had sex less often or abstained entirely. One possible reason? Male pheromones. Researchers from the Monell Chemical Senses Center and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine honed in on the pheromone link by applying men’s underarm secretions obtained to the upper lips of women subjects. (The image itself is kind of mood killer.) Whether absorbed or inhaled, the magic mix of aromatics in the male samples caused the women’s cycles to normalize toward a consistent 29 ½ day cycle.

Frequent sex with the same partner over several months or more can also “prime” a woman’s body for a healthy, full term pregnancy. Research at the University of Adelaide in South Australia showed that women who engaged in frequent sexual activity with their committed partners (including oral sex, which actually appeared more effective in the study) had higher rates of conception and fewer incidences of miscarriage, preeclampsia, and high blood pressure. Women’s bodies, the researchers suggest, literally learn and come to accept the particular proteins of their partners’ semen in a process called immune modulation. Having become accustomed to the familiar semen profile (oh, you again), the woman’s body is less likely to reject the fetus and placenta that result from conception with that partner.

6. Reduce Your Risk for Prostate Cancer

Research has linked frequent ejaculations (yes, the solo gig counts here) with a slightly lower risk for prostate cancer in later life. The golden frequency in this study? Twenty-one times per month. It’s a tall order, but I know you can do it.

One possible explanation for the decrease is the “flushing” theory. In its efforts to concentrate minerals and other necessary substances from the blood to make semen, the prostate can end up collecting a concentration of toxins as well. Releasing the semen – with said toxins – flushes the system of said impurities. (Gives a new meaning to cleaning out the pipes.)

7. Look Better

Now we’re getting to the good stuff. (Kidding.) Yes, there’s the ever flattering afterglow. It’s a shame they can’t bottle that. There’s so much more to gain, however, or maybe lose. How about calories for instance? Estimates vary but average around 85-100 calories per half an hour. Of course, real life expenditures diverge depending on how zesty an enterprise you enjoy. In terms of calories burned, you’re looking at low to moderate level activity, but your heart rate can easily climb to high intensity levels. It’s probably the most enjoyable cardio you’ll pursue any day of the week.

Then there’s the workout itself – a toning and stretching and strengthening that includes muscles you didn’t even know you had – ala that next morning ache. (Don’t forget about those less obvious – and all important – pelvic floor muscles, which support everything from orgasm intensity to urinary continence.) On the chemical front, intercourse offers a boost in testosterone for stronger bones and muscles. Finally, how about the appeal of a totally relaxed face and body – and the inevitable smile?

8. Finally… Feed Your Primal Self

I’m talking about more than your primal with a lowercase “p” appetite here. I mean your more inclusive, nuanced Primal (as in PB) self. As I’ve said many a time, living Primally isn’t an exercise in asceticism or deprivation. It’s about knowing and inhabiting your physical self more appreciatively, more pleasurably as well as responsibly. Sex isn’t just a procreative act. (Even in Grok’s day it served many more purposes than that.) Though technically unnecessary, it’s far from some isolated, tangentially relevant act. The desire and delight of sex is unique. It’s not an interchangeable element of our human experience. The shared intimacy and individual rapture teaches us, reveals to us, unfolds layers of our humanity, and lays bare a sensitivity and vulnerability, a vigor and power otherwise unknown to us. Even in its absence, sex helps define who we are and how we connect with life.

Not surprisingly, our sexual enjoyment extends far beyond the immediate physical crescendo. It has significance in our broader fulfillment. A cross-national study (PDF) revealed that both men’s and women’s sense of sexual well-being significantly correlated with their general life satisfaction.

When it comes to garnering all the good health benefits of sex, a lot of readers ask about frequency. As I mentioned in last week’s fitness post, your start racking up the health gains at once a week, but the composite of research suggests that two to three times will maximize overall advantages. Needless to say, it’s well worth working into the calendar.

Okay, the floor is officially open to discussion. I’ll be interested to see what comes of today’s post and its suggestions… Thanks for reading, and I hope you were inspired today. Have a great day (or night, as the case may be), everybody.

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170 thoughts on “8 Health Reasons to Have Sex (As If You Needed Them)”

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  1. I certainly miss this. My (recent) ex was amazing in bed. From beginning to end, with cuddling after, I felt fulfilled on a fundamentally primal/human level. Sex is an amazing thing.

  2. “Uh, you mean coitus?”
    Was that a Big Lebowski reference?? Love it!!!

    The Grok abides.

  3. NOW SHE HAS NO EXCUSE!!! lol (Kidding)

    Awesome post – wonder how many are rushing to show their other halves as soon as they’ve read it.

        1. Oh, I emailed the link right away. But we are both Primal and we definitely enjoy our sex life. Just confirms why we are so happy, hehe.

    1. First thing I did was to send the link to my better-half!!!
      Good to know we are practicing preventative medicine!!lol

  4. I definitely have a better outlook on life in general when I’m getting some regularly. It is definitely good for maintaining a healthy mental state.

  5. Hey, sex with a non-committed partner can totally be “emotionally healthy.” (Anyway, how much more primal can it get than that?) I definitely get a “mental health boost” from non-boyfriend sex.

    …I’m sure men have their own opinions on this too.

    1. Agreed +1 ; sex and romantic love are two different things that don’t always have to coexist

    2. Philos and Eros. The former being the love of a person or thing because of itself, because it exists. The latter is just good old fashioned carnal pleasure. Nothing wrong with that, but if the two come together, great.

  6. I view it as a more of a high intensity interval session than a low to moderate activity.

    Just a personal preference of course…

    1. Yeah, I was wondering if that was anyone else’s favorite part, too!

  7. Excellent – further proof why the Primal Blueprint is the way forward (as if we needed any).

  8. oh I wish wish wish I could — but my BF is away at basic training for another month!

    I’ll go do some squats I guess 😉

    1. I feel your pain, my hubby is off to do his 5s (last level of EME trades training in the Canadian Forces). The lack is going to kill me… unless the army pays to send me with him ^_^ “preventative medicine” or “alternative therapy” might not fly though.

  9. For more on this topic, Check out the “Feeling Sexy” thread in the Odds and Ends Forum.

  10. I saw a show on the Travel Channel recently that said it’s possible to have really excellent sex with ghosts. This is known as Spectrophilia. Do you suppose that has any added benefits, or elevates some previously unknown hormones, for example scareotonin? Just wondering. 😛

  11. Funny and thoughtful article with some interesting statistics. Primal Law 11: Get some.

  12. After all this time worrying (okay, maybe not so much worrying) that my girlfriend and I would be the death of one another with our *ahem* activity level, it’s good to know that it has medicinal benefits.

    And I’ll have to remember that ‘sex cures headaches’ bit, just in case.

  13. Primal is totally flawed because meat is highly acidic, if you want to increase your risk of diseases later in life, eat the primal way!

      1. I’ve not read the book but in the third bit it falls apart, evolutionarily speaking. Humans may be closely related to bonobos genetically but we differ behaviorally and physiologically. Testicle ratio indicates that humans were mostly monogamous with occasional forays into cuckoldry. The bonobo, which will have sex with any member of the group for any reason, including same sex pairings, has a significantly higher testicle ratio than human males do. This suggests that the sperm of bonobo males compete with the sperm of other males. Humans have a slightly increased testicle ratio, meaning it happens, but generally not.

        1. I have read the book Sex At Dawn, and find it to be incredible. It’s the best sex research on Grok ever done, and it smashes to smithereens any notion of humans being naturally monogamous.

    1. Sean;

      Your comment on two seperate threads demonstrates your lack of knowledge about the subject. This is not an all-meat diet and for that matter not JUST a diet. Primal is a lifestyle with many facets (as this very post demonstrates.)

      Instead of trolling around making baseless claims, try reading the book and doing some actual research on the subject. Yes, we all know, meat is acidic and yet somehow, people are turning their health around and regaining control of their lives with this approach.

      Snide comments are fruitless.

    2. Meat also has its own built-in buffering agent. Go search on Wikipedia for the amino acid glutamine. And quit getting all your nutrition information from PETA. Half of them are cheating with cheese.

    3. The Inuit’s (eskimos) native diet consists mainly of whale and other animals and lots of fat! They thrived until adopting the western diet, and now may are diabetic.

  14. I have noticed that when we are strictly following the primal diet (which is most of the time) our desires increase. Anyone else noticed increased sex drive with better nutrition.

    Anyway my Grok is a little piggy and I’m reaping the benefits!

    1. Think it must be the testosterone with going primal. I can honestly say I have never had or wanted to have so much quality bedroom activity in all my 50 years and my GF say’s the same thing.

      1. Go check out the link Mark (and Pebbles67) mentioned above Feeling Sexy, you are not alone my friends … I would have commented yesterday after reading this but had an appointment with my kayaking buddy!

  15. “What good does it do to blow the overall health benefit by putting yourself at risk for the myriad of sexually transmitted diseases.”

    Amen to that.

    1. Girlfriend,
      It diminishes the benefits, and they go from a health positive to a health negative! Today more than ever, are the strains of STD’s so varied and difficult to control.
      In viral STD’s alone the strains are in the 1000’s. Same diagnosis, different strain! Combine different strain and the mutant DNA of the virus become deadly, not just some sort of break out, but deadly, Cyto Megly Virus occur over 90% of the time with any viral STD!
      Look at that one on google, then wonder what that strain of CMV is. That is just on a virus! Not bacterial, not fungal, not even a simple yeast type of STD!
      Make sure they wear their raincoat!

  16. Great primal points I mean who could argue? LOL …

    I love body building and I believe it helps increase testosterone levels?

    And how better to feel closer to your partner (Is that a male talking or what?)

    Excellent topic,Thanks
    Raymond

  17. But do you have to involve someone else in this “sex” business, or is it fine to do it by yourself?

  18. I’m thinking it’s more fun with a friend anyways,… 😉

  19. I am so in……
    I approve of this massage.

    GROK ON…top..underneath..sideways…
    >>>>>>
    Daveman

  20. Mark how valid are these “studies” you refer to?

    Do they make allowance for causation and correlation?

    I think some may say at times you are guilty of cherry picking medical studies.

    As we all know you could say that one study (for example) that says the people that have more sex are at less risk of a heart attack is simultaneously saying people who have healthier hearts to begin with have sex more frequently.

      1. I stand behind what I say and publish. Of course, all studies are open to interpretation and I encourage everyone to read each study and draw their own conclusions. This is about taking control of your own health which involves taking a critical look at everything you’re told; even the things I write. As a matter of fact, I encourage critique. If you see something you don’t agree with point it out and we’ll talk it.

        Cherry picking? Meh.

        The study you reference? Obviously it is difficult to determine causation in studies like these. Here are the study authors’ own words:

        Conclusions: The differential relation between frequency of sexual intercourse, stroke and coronary heart disease suggests that confounding is an unlikely explanation for the observed association with fatal coronary heart disease events. Middle aged men should be heartened to know that frequent sexual intercourse is not likely to result in a substantial increase in risk of strokes, and that some protection from fatal coronary events may be an added bonus.

        1. Hmmm…Confounding is *always* a likely explanation when no allowance is made for it.

          I’m not trying to stir up anything. I agree wholeheartedly with what you’re doing.

          I just don’t see the difference between dismissing a bad study one day that advocates a low fat diet then using an equally iffy study on another occasion to backup a point you agree with.

          There are methods to reduce “Confounding” in proper medical studies and they don’t involve just saying it’s “unlikely”.

          I only bring this up because I’m really hyper aware now of the flaws in medical studies after reading about the work of Dr. John Ioannidis which, if I’m not mistaken I came across from *this* site linking to this article originally:

          http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/11/lies-damned-lies-and-medical-science/8269/

          I actually agree with your reasons to have sex and this article, it just makes sense based on experience.

          I just thought you shot yourself in the foot when you started quoting dubious medical “studies”.

        2. How could an activity, which increases oxytocin and lowers cortisol, NOT be extraordinarily healthy?

          The health studies are interesting, sure, but I’m betting those of us enjoying primal activities such as this, know the benefits… we’re LIVING the benefits.

      2. The study demonstrates (at least) correlation. Does it really matter whether more sex leads to better health, or better health leads to more sex? The message is pretty clear: health and sex come together… No pun intended 😛

        1. If it doesn’t matter then there’s no reason to quote the study in the first place.

  21. Great post Mark. As a long time reader and occasional poster, I have often though there was something missing from the 10 Primal Laws … as you say, what could be more primal than sex? After all, it is probably when most of us feel most animal, vital, and well… human.

    One could shoehorn a healthy sex life into Primal Law 2 (hmmm maybe), 3 (if you’re feeling energetic), 4 (well, from time to time), 6 (sort of), even 9 (if you’re Sting!). But it just feels right for a healthy sex life to be a fundamental in its own right. It’s not really exercise, play, or a mental activity (though it can be all those things).

    That’s not to say that therefore we all need to be getting it all the time to be happy (although …) – just that the quality and quantity of sexual experience may want to be in balance with your desires over your lifetime. You could be living all the 10 laws to the max, but lets face it, if you’re not happy in the sack then something just don’t feel right.

    As a lifestyle built on evolutionary thinking, this may deserve a more nuanced examination. It would be hard to avoid considering sexual drives in the evolutionary context … the male trendency to spread his genes widely and the female tendency to select a mate more carefully. This is well documented and rehearsed elsewhere, but how we choose to respond to this primal complexity in modern, faithful, loving relationships with is ideal ground for ‘Primal Living in the Modern World’. Like you Mark I too am a happily married (and faithful!) modern man! One could even consider the full range of sexual and romantic behaviours in the primal bracket … flirting, courting, love gestures, jealousy, commitmement, break-up, and so on.

    Interesting post, more on this area please!

    1. I still have this knee-jerk impulse to get all grrr about the excuses men make for sleeping around (“it’s evolutionary!”), but on the other hand, some folks believe human beings developed polygyny (multiple wives) to give each wife a break in between pregnancies. Of course that assumes a patrilineal household (where the woman goes to live with her husband’s family, pretty much the norm worldwide now), and also assumes they don’t have modern knowledge about pregnancy prevention. A smart Grok spaced his kids so they’d have a better chance of developing well, and so their mom would have less of a chance of dying in childbirth.

      1. Reproductive spacing is naturally accomplished by the hormonal effects of naturally patterned breastfeeding, which delays pregnancy. In the modern world that’s not very common since women rarely (if at all) breastfeed after 6 months. Among natural HG humans it’s not anything that needs to be explicitly planned…and females are as or more likely to be promiscuous as males in normal higher-primate band behavior.

        1. I don’t think breastfeeding is a great way to delay pregnancy. After 9 months my son was still breastfeeding “almost” exclusively and I got pregnant anyway. I think in my case a little planning would have been in order. Proper child spacing is not only great for mothers, but beneficial for children.

          I do believe your point about females being more promiscuous. Rawr!!

        2. Nursing frequency is as important as exclusicity, and that’s where westerners tend to fall short and loose out on the pregnancy-prevention effect.

        3. It’s a great way to delay pregnancy for as long it prolongs fertility. It certainly isn’t normally going to slip a woman’s attention that she’s starting her cycle again, at which point technology can be employed if that’s the desired intent. My wife isn’t fertile again until the last baby tailors off of regular nursing.

        4. It’s a great way to delay pregnancy for as long it delays fertility. It certainly isn’t normally going to slip a woman’s attention that she’s starting her cycle again, at which point technology can be employed if that’s the desired intent. My wife isn’t fertile again until the last baby tailors off of regular nursing.

        5. I have 4 children (now adults) 2 years apart in age. Never took, or used birth control. As soon as I weaned them I became pregnant again almost immediately ( due to medical reasons I had a tubal ligation after our 4th child). I breast fed each exclusively. No breast pumping, no pacifiers, no supplemental bottles ever. Until they were 7 months old they had breast milk only, and then I started them on small amounts of solid food after that age. I nursed them whenever they wanted to be nursed. Sometimes they just wanted the closeness and cuddling and didn’t consume much milk. I did this in private, or only in the presence of my husband and young children. Some people aren’t that modest, but I would never feel comfortable on display. And, nursing for me was all about the comfort and enjoyment for me and my child during this very brief moment in our lives. The added benefits were they didn’t get childhood diseases, cavities, or emotional distress during their childhood. Also, my husband enjoyed watching me nurse our children, and found me even sexier. We have had a fantastic, faithful, intimate relationship for almost 40 years without having the burden of birth control or sexually transmitted diseases.

      2. Excellent point about patrilineal households and polygyny. There’s another point that I think needs to be made, especially if we’re looking at things from an evolutionary perspective, which is that the polygynistic mode of society only works when there are a lot of resources to go around, e.g. somewhere like the Edenic wilds of the Great Rift Valley.

        In other more austere places they practice the opposite, polyandry (i.e. multiple husbands for one wife). I had the privilege to spend a week living in traditional family homes in Ladakh in northern India (culturally Tibet), where polyandry is still widely practiced. The resources in Ladakh are super scarce, with a very short growing season and one of the harshest, longest winters you’ll find south of the Artic circle. Ladakhi people developed polyandry as a method of population control thousands of years before any modern birth control methods existed.

        It makes a lot of sense, and I think it also proves that we men aren’t hard-wired to have multiple partners – in fact, it proves that, maybe with a little social conditioning, we’re perfectly capable of sharing partners with other members of our sex in just the same way that wives in polygynistic cultures are expected to do.

  22. I don’t know if anyone else was curious, but check it out, it seems that hunter-gatherer women have a natural “won’t get pregnant period” after birthing a child:

    “Births, for any given hunter-gatherer woman, are usually spaced at least 4 years apart. The continuous, on-demand nursing of children until they are 3 or 4 years old, which occurs in most hunter-gatherer cultures, apparently produces a hormonal effect that delays ovulation in women who are lean, as hunter-gatherer women are, and serves as a natural means of birth control.”

    http://evolution.binghamton.edu/evos/wp-content/uploads/2

    1. Weston Price reported that the primitive people he visited had actual taboos against spacing children too closely together. Sheds an interesting light on the modern practice of pumping them out as quickly as you can catch again. Even people who aren’t Quiverfull or similar don’t pay attention to spacing or proper postpartum recovery.

    2. I am a very long term nursing mother, having nursed my first child to 4.5yrs and my second child recently turned 4 and still nurses once each day. I also tandem-nursed the two of them for 3 years.

      All this childbirth spacing is a GREAT theory, but some women (like me), inspite of exclusively breastfeeding AND co-sleeping, still get their cycles back 8 weeks after giving birth. The average is 14 months without cycles though. Also, breastfeeding is only “good” for birth control if you are EXCLUSIVELY nursing on request, no formula, no other food of any kind, which generally means up to 6 months of age, AND have not gotten your cycle back yet. But even then its not a guarantee, as a woman can ovulate prior to having her first period, which, in theory would mean possible pregnancy.

      So while the primal theory of extended breastfeeding etc, is great, it definitely does not fit everyone, and women need to be fully informed about breastfeeding as birth control/child spacing.

      1. Thank you! While my son was nibbling on food here and there, he still nursed on demand at 9 months. No cycle to speak of and my kitchen floor rendezvous resulted in my beautiful daughter! Perhaps my increased interest should have twigged me that ovulation was upon me! Oops! What a beautiful mistake!

    3. I’ve nursed my babies until 3.5 – 4 years and have resumed my cycles when each baby was about 26 months old. My first three children are almost exactly 3 years apart and my fourth baby was just born when his brother was 4.5 yrs old – (he stopped nursing when my milk dried up just over 4 yrs old when I was about 4 months pregnant.)
      In my experience, as soon as nighttime nursing ceases, my cycle soon follows.

  23. This is great stuff! I have to say that prior to going Primal in my eating and exercising, I have a very low sex drive. One of the best side effects of eating Primal has been my increased want to get cozy and a very regular monthly cycle! I used to be the one with 32, 34, 20, 35 day cycles, never the same and never predictable! Now they are….every month for the past 4 months I have been right at 29 days! I can only hope that a good sex life, good health and good eating will helps us have a nice and easy time getting pregnant again and carrying the baby. Last go around was very difficult, two miscarriages and Gestational Diabetes with that pregnancy! That is what prompted our change….and I am oh so happy for it.

    Time for a little baby making practice?? LOL

    1. Thanks for sharing this. I am not quite primal but I do believe this is the ideal dietary lifestyle. I am pre-diabetic and eating very low carb has been helpful. I think sex is easpecially healthy for those of us who lack adequate physical activity. It surprises me how easy it is to keep my weight down with sexual activity.No complaints here.

  24. a new pickup line for all the Sisson minions: “come on baby, it’s primal approved!”

    Sisson now we need a ‘definitive guide to sex’ too (just so everyone can attach their primal ego to ‘primal sex.’)

  25. W/R/T number five, I actually think there are some downsides… I’d never had a boyfriend/been physically close with a guy until my mid-twenties, and I noticed that once I was, ah, up close and personal, I started getting waaaay more angsty every month. I’ve gone through some long (multi-year) single spells since then, and found that the angstiness goes away entirely eventually, but when I have a boyfriend the slightest delay in response to a gchat is clear proof that OH GOD HE HATES ME IT’S ALL OVER

    1. Seems to me that this is perhaps a self-esteem/neediness issue that might need some reflection on your part, rather than a problem with the general concept of relationships/sex, perhaps. I find personally that I am happier and calmer in a relationship than out, and that the more and better sex I have, the happier I am all the time.

      But I’m a guy, so I just might not really “get it” from your perspective. Feel free to ignore me. 🙂

      1. I have similar issues but I wouldn’t say “the slightest delay”–however, I will get very upset if he disappears for an entire weekend with no warning beforehand and no explanation afterward. (I’m single now, but this happened in my most recent relationship.) And people around me were telling me it was my self-esteem issues but seriously, that was rude of him. That type of relationship’s closeness is supposed to be on par with a parent’s relationship with their children–closer, in fact. If my teenager disappeared and spent an entire weekend missing without telling me where he was going, I’d have been calling the cops, never mind fretting by the phone and computer. Only reason I didn’t do that with the grownup was *because* he was a grownup and I didn’t want to hover and be all psycho and stuff.

        I’ve noticed a disturbing trend toward extreme self-centeredness in relationships. And I know exactly what I’m seeing because I’ve been guilty of a certain degree of that in some of my relationships too. It seems to be getting worse now though. Kind of makes me wonder why people bother pairing up at all. Myself, I’d been single for years before this guy came along, and it’s been five months since we broke up, and I just don’t even care if I ever find someone else.

        I’ll agree with Mark that sex is awesome, though. 🙂

      2. By the way, the ex didn’t pull that disappearing act once or twice, but several weekends during the time we were together. So this was not me flying off the handle over one incident. Just thought I better make that clear. I suppose you could argue I have self-esteem issues in that I stuck around that long, but he claimed he had a lot of work to do at his job, so I figured some of it was just him being busy–I think I stuck around because I was trying to get him to understand, “Hey, just let me know what’s going on.” Ladies, if some guy is doing this to you and you don’t know already, as the book title says, “He’s just not that into you.” Found out the hard way when a woman answered his phone. I s’pose that was my self-esteem’s fault too. Haha.

        To tie this back into Mark’s post, sex is awesome, but it’s even more awesome when you’re with someone you genuinely like and respect. If you don’t care about whoever-it-is, you’re wasting their time and yours, and that’s a real mood killer.

        1. Yeah, what you’re describing is certainly not acceptable “boyfriend behavior”. But what cate was talking about was “freaking out” over the slightest delay in response and overreacting emotionally. These are in totally different ballparks self-esteemwise IMO.

  26. This is a perfect post-Valentine’s Day post! If you spring one reason a day on your lover, then you’re left with a bonus reason for a repeat at the end of the week. Love it!

  27. OK, maybe your next post could cover the overall effects on health of having to pay child support for 20 years to a woman who hates you.

  28. Mark–I’m curious if you’re familiar with Marnia Robinson’s work in this area? She has found both through scientific research and personal experience that while sex has numerous health benefits, orgasm may have significant negative consequences especially on mood. Her main book is Cupid’s Poisoned Arrow and she has a website reuniting.info as well as a Psychology Today column.

    I highly recommend checking out her work—she’s not anti-sex in the least, but emphasizes “bonding behaviors” (found in chimps and other evolutionary ancestors that promote pair bonding between couples) over bigger and better orgasms (which there is some evidence actually increases infidelity and the desire to look elsewhere for greener pastures). I think Grok may reluctantly approve…as long as Grok wants to stay close with lady-Grok.

    1. Hey Duff, I see we had the same ‘desire’ to share Marnia’s views. Just when I posted my reply, I saw that yours had come in!

    2. I’m going to guess she has never in fact *had* an orgasm. (I’m suspicious about that in general when it comes to women, ha-ha, actually.) A guy may be able to get off just fine without a lot of bonding behaviors, but if I’m just being jumped on and pawed at, I get nowhere near climax. And once I’ve gotten there, I am real doggoned happy and not at all inclined to go seeking attention elsewhere. That oxytocin release thing again.

      I even understand why men roll over and go to sleep afterward. If I’ve done it right and gotten all that arousal out of my system, I’m out like a light too.

  29. I feel so inspired writing this post and knowing there are people with open minds going to read this!! Some of you may be really challenged, but hey isn’t it worth the risk (once more!)??

    My partner of 28 years and me have ‘discovered’ a totally different way of making love about 4 years ago. We generally avoid orgasms at all; it surely no longer is our final aim. This means we don’t experience the hangover that is thought to be caused by the release of prolactin.
    Instead we make love for long periods of time and ‘finish off’ with oxytocin (the ‘love drug’) still flowing through our body. This means that a few hours later, we love to come back to each other again and start all over again, and again and again. And in between we experience a very special, deep connection on an emotional level as well. There just seems to be this flow between us.
    There is not enough space for me to explain all this, but I recommend Marnia Robinson’s website of Reuniting ~ Healing with Sexual Relationships: http://www.reuniting.info/introduction

    Oh, how I think the world would be a different place if people knew about this way of making love as well as Grok’s way of life!

  30. 21 times a month? That’s a lot, even for me – and I’m single!!!

  31. Alright, alright. If only for the sake of my health! 🙂

    Been looking forward to this post as well. And let me guess, you watched The Big Lebowski recently?

  32. Sweet deal. Would a *clears throat* single guy still be able to get these benefits relying solely on the right hand? 21 times is a tall order!

  33. I want to know, too – anything much gained from masturbation?

  34. Fritzy, the diet is based on meat and vegetables and i know Primal is a lifestyle but the diet is totally flawed on the basis that you will have a low pH if most of the food you eat is meat.

    1. Really? You know I don’t usually post on these things, but I drives me crazy when someone pops up and starts trying to criticize something that obviously works for a large number of people. Yes, if your diet consist of near 90 percent meat and only 10 percent veggies, your ph would be off, but most people on the primal blueprint eat ample amounts of veggies and fruits to balance it out. What kind of plan do you follow where your ph is so great? The way I figure it, eating more veggies and fruits and no grain would actually help balance ph. Also, if you think about, most people are way overweight, even when they’re following some so called diet, would meat and veggies be such a bad idea? No one has ever gotten fat eating just meat and veggies. If you don’t like it, or you have something that works better for you (after all, we are all different) then great, just don’t come saying something is “totally flawed” when it obviously works. There is more than one way to skin a cat.

    2. Sean, I don’t think you are paying attention to anything anyone is saying. Have you seen Mark’s food pyramid? Veggies are at the very base of that. Have you read up on the various amino acids, such as glutamate, that counter-balance the acidic pH of meats? Have you read all of the testimonials of people, on this very site and all over the net, who have lowered their weight, markers for various diseases, joint pain, etc? Have you thought logically about the undeniable fact that our ancestors recieved a great deal of their nutrition from animal products? Do you think our bodies would have evolved to do anything less than thrive on the foods that were available to us during the formation of out species? There are people today, living off diets almost entirely consisting of animal protien that, from all indications not only avoid the common western diseases but live long, healthy lives.

      As David said, there is more than one way to health. If you found a way that works for you, great. But to make the claim that a diet is “totally flawed” when it is obviously working for a great many people, is patently ridiculous.

      Don’t believe everything PETA tells you. Chances are, they are very selective in the information they pump out.

  35. My newly found primal self is quite frisky, much to my husband’s pleasure (pun intended). Lose weight, feel sexier, feel HEALTHY, mind is clear… great recipe for increased desire! So far this morning I’ve had bacon AND nookie – ok well not at the same time lol

    there’s an idea…. hehe

  36. Agreed, agreed, agreed. Burying my nose in my boyfriend’s neck and just breathing him in is a great stress reducer.

  37. At Boo…. respectfully, the woman who hates you has nothing to do with it AT ALL… I paid child support to my daughter until she was 21… It helped her and her mother out…. also engendered good fellings all around…. Try it!

    1. Wonderful post! You are an amazing man! If I hear my boss complain one more time about giving half his salary to his kids I’m gonna scream!

  38. I know this comment has nothing to do with being primal, but I can’t help myself…The term “sexually transmitted diseases” has been replaced with the more accurate term “sexually transmitted infections.” Since unsafe sex puts you at risk for bacterial and viral “infections” I think this is a more accurate term that we should all adopt using. STI’s are not “diseases” and it’s important to stop labeling people with them as “diseased.” Just my two cents…Other than this, I thought this was a fabulous post! Yay sex!!! I’m getting all primal just thinking about it 🙂

  39. Mark,

    Could you address birth control methods in a future post?

  40. Mark you should put more emphasis on PC muscle isolation & exercises for more intense / multiple orgasms – it is a muscle after all and along with the Playful Anti-Stress benefits of sex aren’t you also all about physical fitness?

  41. Already tried this one out this morning… 😉

    Breastfeeding works pretty well for child spacing — just so long as you don’t look at it in a modern way as “birth control.” It will give you, on average, a healthy space between babies, but it doesn’t mean you can’t get pregnant. I just got my cycle back at 9 months postpartum, probably because my kid doesn’t like to nurse that often. He’s all business. A needier baby generally gives you a bigger space.

    Anyway, great article!

    1. Sorry, breastfeeding as birth control is a myth. I have two sons born exactly one year apart to prove it which means I became pregnant 3 months after having the first while breastfeeding. After the second was born my husband wouldn’t come near me until we put the “permanent” birth control into place.

      1. http://www.cclcanada.org/ontario/q&a/

        “only “ecological” breastfeeding provides extended postpartum infertility. This is a form of baby care which is characterized by constant mother-baby togetherness and frequent nursing, both by day and by night.”

        (means carrying your baby on your body)

        “babies and toddlers were nursing an average of two minutes every 15 minutes, and the mothers were conceiving at about 35 months”

  42. “disseminate”? I see what you did there.

    Great article, as usual.

  43. I did not read through all the posts but google ‘how to be a good lover’ and ‘how to last longer in bed’.
    Good lovers are sought after regardless of how old or out of shape….sought out by their SO or…
    If you’re going to partake, might as well perfect it.

  44. I keep my weight down when I am having sex. If my husband and I become complacent ( I think that’s the word I want ) then I am doomed to gain weight.

  45. What if you never have opportunity for sex? 🙁 Actually how does masturbating compare in terms of health affects?

  46. Jem, you do not hafta to be a good lover to get healthy benefits from sex. As a matter of fact, I consider myself a “sucky” lover but my husband loves having sex with me simply because I want to have sex with him. THe only thing that really counts is that you are itnerested.

  47. So where does this fit on the exercise pyramid? Moving slowly? Lifting heavy things? Or that all-out sprint?

    I suppose you could take your pick. 😉

  48. great article to see – now if Mark would explore and do an article on the additional benefits of sexuality in the context of open relationships… 😉

    (… or maybe that’s a subject for our blog…)

  49. i seem to get real cranky and irritable after going more than 2 days without it, i can be demanding. its one of the only things in life that take me out of myself completely. and solo doesn’t cut it, at all. its the feeling of being filled up that i need, i think. 🙂

  50. It leads to bacon snacks late at night.
    Works muscles that other wise don’t get worked. AND Passion is a wonderful thing for the braIN TO EXPERIENCE!
    GROK OK>>>

  51. Is it possible to have too much sex? Will 10 times or more per week reduce the benefits??

    On a separate note, I am in a committed relationship, but the idea of Reason #6 and releasing “said toxins” into me does not sound very assuring. Is there any other info out there about this?

  52. my girlfriend and i have sex 5-10 times a week on some weeks. I wonder if this is having an adverse effect and and hampering our weight loss efforts by burning out some of our endocrine glands.

  53. This works fine when your wife is young but after menopause – FORGET IT!

    1. What a sexist comment! If your wife has lost her libido, she should see her gynecologist. She might need some hormone replacement.

      1. I am 59 and separated–I lost my libido not to menopause but to his thoroughly boring selfishness. Premarin and Vagifem may have helped my physical capabilities but not my satisfaction (easy orgasms) w/ about a year of outrace-the-collapsing-erection even after Viagra/Cialis—all of these coitus-helper treatments are also very expensive.
        Starting Primal seeems to have increased my libido a bit, I eat very little beef so can’t be meat hormones. Voluptuous and robust are supposed to be sexy; we’ll see.

  54. If you asked the Taoist sexual teacher Mantak Chia, I’m sure he wouldn’t agree that ejaculating 21 times per month is very healthy. (There’s a reason they call it “the little death” 🙂 )

    In my opinion, males should try to have orgasms without ejaculation (“dry orgasms”) as much as possible, rather than ejaculate as much as possible (though once in a while certainly won’t “kill” you)

    Even though it doesn’t prove anything for humans, there was a (nearly 20-year old) study on male roundworms that linked their frequency of ejaculation to their life expectancy:

    http://www.nytimes.com/1992/12/03/us/in-worm-at-least-making-sperm-is-found-to-shorten-a-male-s-life.html?pagewanted=2&src=pm

  55. Hmmm…That’s why I’m so healthy. Anyway, when I showed this to my wife, she said, “It figures a man wrote it!”

  56. ha! it’s not often i see my university mentioned on the websites i read, but here you go! on a very good-news post i might add 🙂

  57. I’m assuming condoms are NOT primal.
    And raw dog is totally primal.

  58. Just want to add….I’ve always found explanations for the strong desire for men to roll over and sleep fascinating. Is it because he needs to stay to “protect” his woman? Is it because it makes him stay to make sure no other male impregnates his woman? Is it because he’s a lazy bugger? 😀

  59. Love it! And forwarded to hubby. No wonder his heart health exam came out so great this week. One more side of Grok that it’s nice to see addressed here, and I love all the interesting comments about lady Grok and her child spacing.

    From my understanding, almost no one in Western society breastfeeds the way a momma Grok would do – child wearing and on-demand feeding, all-night nursing, co-sleeping, probably constant visual and tactile exposure to nipples and breasts for the baby (instead of the jacket, the shirt, and the nursing bra to be undone, not to mention that dratted nursing blanket to be “discreet”)

    FWIW, my personal data point is two and a quarter years of no ovulation after baby #1, two years after baby #2. Both babies nursed like crazy, co-slept, and carried in slings. There’s a lot of cross-over in my mind between primal lifestyle and attachment parenting. What’s healthy for baby is healthy for parents as well. Not to mention over 4 years of worry-free birth control.

    Understanding our bodies also means being able to tune in to signs like when ovulation is happening (something that many women don’t know how to tell) so that when fertility returns, we’re not caught unawares. Eating well also helps all of our body’s systems (including reproductive systems) become healthier and more likely to be predictable and worry-free.

  60. Hi Mark
    Can you explain if masturbation has the same positive effects as sex with a partner has? Or anyone please share your thoughts with me. I would really love to know the real scientific truth if masturbation is harmful or not.

    1. My thought is that your body doesn’t care whether you have a partner or not. The emotional aspects of sharing the experience is an additional benefit, and helps keep the man around to support the woman and offspring. Religious teachings which preach against masturbation are doing so to grant power to the leaders over the followers, and to channel their energy into supporting the religion. This applies to “enlightened” gurus, as well, in my opinion.

      1. Hi
        Thanks for the reply. I have to agree with you on the religious part. They preach against it because all that they do is deny you all the pleasures. But from a health perspective, I kinda need more scientific proof. I would love to know if it is healthy or unhealthy and the frequency of doing it, if it is damaging to health or not(for males specifically).

        1. I’m a woman, but as I understand it, most pubescent boys/young men think about sex and masterbate quite frequently, with no apparent ill effects. Contrary to conventional wisdom a century ago, it will not make you blind. ?:-D Any comments from you guys?

  61. I would love to read what Mr Mark Sisson has to say about the issue of masturbating. If anyone has a link, please post.
    Thank you

  62. Okayyyyy

    I dont remember when I was three..
    but I did have 2 sons,I remember when they were three…
    So I can say from 3 to 54…we do it.
    probably till 93…
    Hmmmmm 90 years of the best we can imagine. :~) keep smiling
    GROK ON>>>

  63. I have a friend who says her husband doesn’t masturbate – only has sex with her. Is this likely to be true, or is she just naive?

    1. There are two types of men in this world, those who masturbate and those with no arms.

  64. When my wife gets hard to get along with i know its time for some loving… then she’s easy to get along with again for at least a day or so lol.

  65. As if we needed another excuse to have great sex, more sex and better sex! Primal instinct for primal lifestyle. Thanks for this article, its certainly one we will be sharing.

  66. My Sir and I enjoyed this article after searching to find out if it was normal to have a sex life like ours. We have been madly in love for 16 years, and now in our early 30’s, our sex life couldn’t be better!! (average is 3 times a day..every day!) It has been 89 times since the beginning of 2013 and it is only Feb. 9th! I would only hope we are healthier after our fun-filled life!

  67. I love sex !! but can’t do sex !! bcz my religion not allow to sex without marriage. now i m only 20 . nobody agree to merry me.but i need sex , it is more necessary. nowadays i can’t control me .. so in this case what should i do ??

  68. I like what you guys tend to be up too. This type of clever work and exposure! Keep up the very good works guys I’ve you guys to my blogroll.Birmingham Roofing Contractors, 3506 Inverness Landing, Birmingham, AL 35242 – (205) 301-2113

  69. I love this site and find it so inspirational but this article made me sad. I’m eight years single and so sex is a distant memory. Such a shame when I agree it is such an integral part of what makes us human. And I’m only 35. However healthy I get I feel there is a big chunk of me missing without it.

    On a lighter note how many men do you reckon have leapt on the University of Adelaide study as an excuse to get more head. 😉

  70. I didn’t need more reasons to have sex, but it is nice to know that something that feels good is healthy at the same time.

  71. My husband could care less about any thing healthy including sex. Married 46 years and only had sex once in all these years. His whole life revolves around work and being left alone. He has lived his entire married life in our basement and myself upstairs. After the ‘I do’s” were done he lost all interest in me. He lives like a hippy , long gray hair, white beard old 60’s style clothes, no phone, computer, TV, or radio, has no friends and goes no where except work.
    It’s been stupid to stay with him, but I did and don’t really know why! Now I’m just tired and old and no where to go.

  72. If all you need is a place to go, how about getting to visit Yellowstone? Yosemite? The art museum in Philadelphia? What do you have to lose?

  73. Nice chanel. I think I saw a girl like her, live on teacams Thanks for sharing it.

  74. At 23 years old, I’m a male who has never experienced intercourse. It’s been around 2-3 years since I’ve last kissed a girl, and have never been in a long-term or serious relationship. I’m not sure what’s wrong with me.

    People generally describe me as (not to “toot my own horn”) handsome, intelligent, talented, unique, even charming. So there doesn’t appear to be any defining reason as to why I’m lacking in this area of my life. I’m beginning to feel like I’m just not fit to breed, or that I have some kind of psychological defect…

    I long for a genuine relationship rather than promiscuity, but others tell me that in order to have a meaningful relationship I should be experienced in sex and dating first, even though this contradicts some of personal moral codes. Either way, I feel that something needs to change, because the lack of touch and affection from another human (female) seems to be doing some serious damage to my emotional and mental state.

    If anyone cares to shed some light on my situation or offer any advice it would be much appreciated. I am very concerned about my “dysfunction”.

    1. I don’t think there is anything wrong with you. My brother also is around your age and still hasn’t had sex yet. He doesn’t seem bothered. He is so focused on school and getting his career started to be bothered by stupid girls his age (as he puts it) he is very picky with whom he dates. I ask him all the time. He just says girls his age act crazy, drink too much and act stupid. I think he just needs to find the right woman for him. Same for you. Nothing wrong with you at all. You may need to find the right person that you are attracted to both sexually and mentally. I’ve dated many men I found physically attractive and that we’re very nice. But didn’t have any desire to have sex with them even after the 4th date. Everyone is different! Be happy with who you are. Take the time to date different people and meet different personalities. Enjoy your 20s!!

  75. I had sex once 47 years ago on our wedding night. Husband hates me, sex and has no interest in anything so ugly and gross.

  76. Amy, planning to throw good years after bad? Any reason other than fear and inertia to stay with someone that feels that way about you? Because there are men who won’t feel that way and sure as heck won’t try to get you to feel that way about yourself. It’s hard to throw off something to which you’re long accustomed, but don’t you owe it to yourself?

  77. Recently my fiance had a very severe heart attack and ended up on life support and was near death while I don’t live in the same place as him so I couldn’t be with him. He has a very high sex drive and he asked me to make a video for him. I was doubtful it would be good for him but I figured that I’d make the video anyway just to end the argument. While I made the video sent it to him online he watched it and not to long after he told me the doctors were able to take the breathing tube out. He asked me to make more videos and I readily agreed because if one video got him able to breath on his own what could a bunch do? I started making and sending tons of videos every day while he was in the hospital. He got to go home yesterday and he had just been near death on Monday! So people sex is a very powerful thing. Without the video’s I made I’m sure my fiance would have died.