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The Science of Sex

Sex is fun, but did you know it has a higher purpose? We’ll break down the biology of it, from intimacy and arousal to the evolution of sex.

The Science of Sex

Women can choose to have sex even when they’re physiologically unable to produce offspring. So we know that sex must have some higher purpose and function than simply reproduction. We strongly desire the physical connection even after we can’t bear children. Sex drive does not decrease with age!

What’s the higher purpose? Firstly, sex can serve as a nirvana moment between couples--a time when you feel complete happiness and intimacy, expressing love to your mate.

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The Science of Sex

Factoid

There’s a biological reason that humans are hornier in the summer. We all have a third eye (pineal gland) in the middle of the brain that secretes melatonin, a chemical that helps us sleep and blocks our sex hormones. The long, bright summer days decrease melatonin, so sex drive goes up. The biological upside? You may conceive a child due the following spring, allowing him or her to grow before having to endure the challenges of winter.

Sex is designed to make you feel good. Really, really good. To start, consider...

  • Men who have sex three times a week can decrease their heart attack and stroke risk by 50 percent.

  • Women who enjoy sex tend to live longer than those who don’t. Great sex makes your body feel about two to eight years younger! This is the same for men who have 150 to 350 orgasms per year (compared to the average of once a week).

  • Orgasms appear to help decrease general pain.

  • When you increase sex from once a month to once a week, it’s the happiness equivalent of adding $50,000 to your income for a typical American.

It’s also interesting to look at the gender-based evolutionary functions of sex. For thousands of years, women have felt the responsibility of growing the species and raising children. She has needed someone to protect her family. Her body responded more readily to intimacy (she provided the intimacy so a man could help her orgasm).

MORE: Eat for Better Sex

The man, on the other hand, had different intentions. When he saw threatening males approach, he’d get aroused by the threat to his family and mate (a sign that his sperm needed to beat out that of the other men). Under this scenario, the man would respond sexually to anxiety, risk and excitement—in stark contrast to the woman’s desire for intimacy. 

This is one way of explaining potential differences that women and men have when it comes to arousal. It’s one clue to figuring out how to better mesh sexual preferences. You need not go through the emotions when it comes to sex, but rather, experience the emotions.

QUIZ: How Do You Act in Relationships?

You may think the biggest sex organ is covered by your latest Victoria’s Secret purchase. But really, your biggest sex organ is your brain. Some studies show that men think sexual thoughts every 52 seconds, but women only once a day.

Even conservative researchers admit men have many more sexual thoughts than women do. Potential reasons for this? Men have 2.5 times the amount of brain space for sexual drive than women do (or is it that women just have more important things to think about?).

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