The health benefits of orgasms aren't all that well known, in large part because big, controlled studies haven't been done (researchers aren't usually willing to ask subjects to masturbate while being monitored). For most of the existing studies, scientists either ask participants to report their orgasmic history – not always the most dependable data – or find subjects willing to orgasm in a controlled lab environment. Because of this, much of the information that's out there about what happens to our bodies during and after sex is still fairly preliminary.
But what data we do have strongly suggests that orgasm are very good for us. "The bottom line is that orgasms are probably better for your health than they are worse for your health," says Barry R. Komisaruk, a professor of psychology at Rutgers University who specializes in behavioral neuroscience and sexual health. Here's a close look at the orgasm – and how it impacts our health.
A 1997 study of villagers in the town of Caerphilly, South Wales found that men having the most orgasms (two a week) were 50 percent less likely to die than those having the fewest (one a month). It's a fun correlation but not really conclusive. "There certainly may be other mediating factors," says Komisaruk. "The men who had fewer than one orgasm per month may [have had] other kinds of health problems." Healthier men are more likely to have sex but sex may still keep us in better health because it is a form of exercise.
Credit: Getty Images