The Relative Health Benefits of Different Sexual Activities

School of Social Sciences, University of the West of Scotland, High Street, Paisley PA1 2BE, UK.
Journal of Sexual Medicine (Impact Factor: 3.15). 04/2010; 7(4 Pt 1):1336-61. DOI: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2009.01677.x
Source: PubMed


Although many studies examine purported risks associated with sexual activities, few examine potential physical and mental health benefits, and even fewer incorporate the scientifically essential differentiation of specific sexual behaviors.
This review provides an overview of studies examining potential health benefits of various sexual activities, with a focus on the effects of different sexual activities.
Review of peer-reviewed literature.
Findings on the associations between distinct sexual activities and various indices of psychological and physical function.
A wide range of better psychological and physiological health indices are associated specifically with penile-vaginal intercourse. Other sexual activities have weaker, no, or (in the cases of masturbation and anal intercourse) inverse associations with health indices. Condom use appears to impair some benefits of penile-vaginal intercourse. Only a few of the research designs allow for causal inferences.
The health benefits associated with specifically penile-vaginal intercourse should inform a new evidence-based approach to sexual medicine, sex education, and a broad range of medical and psychological consultations.

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    • "g . , Brody , 2010 ) . Laumann and col - leagues concluded that stress , a major contributor to anxiety and depression , may be a pri - mary cause of reduced sexual functioning in later life . "
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    ABSTRACT: The literature on sexual activity and ageing has grown substantially in the past 20 years. Until recently, a medicalized perspective dominated. In the past decade research based on a social-relational perspective has emerged. We summarize recent work from both perspectives. In addition to the effects of disease on sexual functioning of men and women over the age of 50, this review emphasizes sexual expression among older couples, newly emerging topics such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the older adult, and older lesbian and gay sexuality. Sexual functioning in both males and females continues in later life, while sexual satisfaction within their relationships is dependent upon individual responses to age-related changes. As the life course continues, some older married couples begin to desire emotional intimacy, stability, and continuity in addition to or instead of penetrative sex. This also appears to be characteristic of relationships involving two (older) women. As the world's population over 50 continues to grow there is an increasing interest in older adult's sexuality. This signals progress toward understanding healthy sexual relationships.
    Sexual and Relationship Therapy 01/2015; 30(1). DOI:10.1080/14681994.2014.939506 · 0.51 Impact Factor
    • "In addition to evolutionary explanations for the findings, the link between adiposity and lack of vaginal orgasm might also be due at least in part to physiological mechanisms (an example being lower vagal tone [6]) or psychopathology. Related possibilities include that obesity might result from overeating with the purpose of diverting attention from unpleasant emotional states [23]; in this regard, it is noteworthy that lesser likelihood of vaginal orgasm is associated with greater use of immature psychological defence mechanisms [4] [5], which indicates that women with lesser likelihood of vaginal orgasm have less effective ways to cope with stressors, and tend to cope by avoiding the awareness of emotions, including through emotional eating. Use of immature defence mechanisms is associated with a broad range of psychopathology [24]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: Given that adiposity is related to poorer female sexual function, among many other health problems, the present study aimed at testing the hypothesis that larger waist circumference, an index of subcutaneous and abdominal fat mass, is associated with lack of specifically vaginal orgasm. Study design One hundred and twenty Portuguese women of reproductive age had their waist measured and reported their past month frequency of penile-vaginal intercourse (PVI), vaginal orgasm, orgasm from clitoral masturbation during PVI, non-coital partnered sex (in the absence of same-day PVI), non-coital partnered sex orgasm (regardless of same-day PVI), masturbation, and masturbation orgasm. Results: In both simple and partial correlations (controlling for age, social desirability responding, relationship status, and cohabitation status), larger waist circumference was associated with lack of any vaginal orgasm and with having masturbated in the past month. In a multiple regression, larger waist circumference was independently predicted by lesser frequency of vaginal orgasm, greater frequency of masturbation, and older age. Conclusion: Abdominal fat mass appears to be adversely associated with lesser capacity for vaginal orgasm, but not for orgasms from other sexual activities. Results are discussed in the context of vaginal orgasm being relatively more contingent on situations of increased fitness in both partners.
    European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology 09/2014; 182C:118-122. DOI:10.1016/j.ejogrb.2014.09.007 · 1.70 Impact Factor
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    • "For example, Higgins, Hoffman, Graham, and Sanders (2008), Crosby, Milhausen, Yarber, Sanders, and Graham (2008) and Brody (2010) "
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    ABSTRACT: Gallup et al. (2002) argued that women who never use condoms or less frequently receive more ejaculates which contain antidepressants such as prostaglandins, testosterone or oestrogen which enters the woman’s bloodstream several hours after intercourse. Although their study received considerable media attention, there was no attempt to replicate their findings. There is additionally a lack of theoretical assumptions which may explain the evolution of antidepressants in human male ejaculates. The original study of Gallup et al. (2002) with 261 Slovak women was replicated and found extremely inconsistent results in a comparison with their original research. In contrast to condom use, partner satisfaction was found to be a unique predictor of women’s symptoms of depression. Since no scientific theory may be built on a single research project, this study calls for replications of the original research.
    Personality and Individual Differences 08/2014; 71:51-55. DOI:10.1016/j.paid.2014.07.024 · 1.86 Impact Factor
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