Sex has always been such a taboo subject! Don’t talk about it, don’t encourage it and definitely don’t enjoy it! And we’ve broken every one of the above mentioned – and felt copious amounts of guilt in the process.
Thankfully things are getting better in recent times. In this insightful article – an excerpt on the Biology of Sex from the book You: Being Beautiful – an owners manual by Dr Mehmet Oz and Michael Roizen – both Dr Oz and Roizen discuss sex frankly and in terms that everyone will understand.
Find out what really happens, why it happens and how to make it keep on happening!
The Biology of Sex
Humans are the most sexual species around. How do we know? (The answer is not from National Geographic specials.) One example: Women are sexually active for almost their entire lives and throughout all times of their menstrual cycle— meaning that they can choose to have sex even during times when they are physiologically unable to produce offspring. That means that sex must have some higher purpose and function than simply reproduction. Another: Sex drive does not need to decrease with age, meaning that we strongly desire the physical connection even after we’re unable to bear children.
What’s that higher purpose? For one, sex can serve as that nirvana moment between couples—a time when you feel complete happiness and intimacy, a time when you express your love to your mate. In other words, sex is designed to make you feel good. Real, real good. How good? For starters, consider that:
Men who have sex three times a week can decrease their risk of heart attack and stroke by 50 percent.
Women who enjoy sex tend to live longer than those who don’t.
Great sex makes your body feel and be the equivalent of two to eight years younger—same for men who have 150 to 350 orgasms a year, compared to the average of once per week.
Having orgasms seems also to help decrease general pain.
Increasing sex from once a month to once a week, according to researchers, is the happiness equivalent of an additional $50,000 in income for the typical American.
It’s also interesting to look at the gender-based evolutionary functions of sex.
Thousands of years ago, the woman felt that it was her job to grow the species and raise the children, so she needed someone who could protect the family. Her body responded better to intimacy (she provided that intimacy so that men could help her reach orgasm). A man had different intentions.
When he saw a bunch of marauders marching through camp, he would get aroused by the threat to his family and mate—a signal that his sperm needed to beat out other men’s sperm.
So a man responds sexually to anxiety, risk, and excitement, in contrast to a woman’s desire for intimacy.
That hard-wired difference is one way to explain the different ways that men and women feel aroused—and it’s the basis for helping you figure out how to better mesh the sexual preferences and differences in your own relationships so that you don’t only go through the motions when it comes to sex but also experience the emotions.
While you may think that the biggest sex organ of all is one that’s covered up by the latest style from Jockey or Victoria’s Secret, your brain is actually your biggest sex organ. Some researchers have said that sexual thoughts, for example, go through a man’s brain once every 52 seconds and through a woman’s only once a day. And even conservative researchers say that men have many more sexual thoughts than women do.
Perhaps that’s because men have 2.5 times the amount of brain space devoted to sexual drive that women do (or because women have more important things to think about).
Sex, of course, is more than just thinking about it; it’s also about craving it. That craving originates in a part of the brain called the insula. Blocking messages to the insula is one of the ways that cigarette cessation techniques work—good news for many, they don’t block sexual craving messages; in fact, bupropion, the drug we most often use in our breathe-free program with nicotine, actually increases libido in most people. The insula (remember it from chapter 8?), a primitive area of the brain, is especially active in women who have more frequent orgasms.
Let’s now look at the way men and women biologically work when it come to sex: