Sex does a body good. Though it's not a viable replacement for your strength and cardio workouts, you can still burn some calories (get the specific numbers for 20 different sex positions here). But, the benefits go beyond fat loss. When you think about sex, you're probably not considering all the ways it's elevating your health and wellness. We don't blame you. It's not as sexy as, well, sex; but you should know that an orgasm can seriously benefit you mentally and physically—beyond a surface-level "It feels really good" way. 

Sex can reduce your stress, help you live longer, and keep your body functioning optimally. To see what you're really doing for your body each time you dive beneath the sheets, take a look at these research-backed benefits.

1. Sex more, stress less

Pleasurable behaviors like having sex and eating high-calorie comfort foods reduce stress via our brain reward pathways, according to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.  Though this particular study was done on rats, researchers found daily intercourse for two weeks led to cell growth in the hippocampus, the part of our brain that manages stress. Sex was also found to make blood pressure less reactive to stress, according to research published in Biological Psychology

2. Bangin' heart health

Keep that sex life thriving to keep your heart thumping. According to research published in The American Journal of Cardiology, men who orgasm once a month or less were 45 percent more likely to have a stroke or contract a cardiovascular disease than those who had sex more than twice a week. The researchers believe the men with better health overall had stronger sex drives prompting them to have more sex, which in turn bolstered their cardiovascular systems. 

3. Prevent prostate cancer

If you want to get lucky, in more ways than one, have sex every day (or nearly every day) and your risk of developing prostate cancer will drop by 33 percent, according to 10-year follow-up of a Harvard study from 2004. Men who orgasm over 20 times a month are a third less likely to suffer from the cancer compared to those who only ejaculate four to seven times a month. Ejaculation is key here. The study authors believe purging your body of old sperm releases beneficial hormones in the body and dispels precancerous cells out of the body. Opt for the sex, though. Feverishly masturbating to ward off cancer is a far less favorable way to do so than having some quality time in the bedroom with your girlfriend or wife. 

4. Keep away colds

Sure, you can frantically wash your hands to fend off germs and cure colds with certain cocktails, but wouldn't you rather boost your immune system by having sex? The question's rhetorical. A study published in the journal Neuroimmunomodulation actually did find that orgasms can activate parts of our immune ststem that help us get over colds faster. The researchers asked 11 male volunteers to masturbate until completion. Blood was drawn continuously throughout the process, which revealed orgasms increased the number of "killer" cells called leukocytes in the men. Want an extra immune boost? Initiate a makeout session with your lady. By swapping spit, you’ll introduce each other to different strains of bacteria (stay with us, it’s not that gross), which can help you tackle future infections. And after some time, you’ll form a similar mix of bacteria in your bodies so you’ll both be better equipped to tackle similar infections.

5. More youthful you

Sex may also be the key to turning back the clock. Dr. David Weeks, a British clinical psychologist, spent 10 years questioning thousands of men and women between the ages 40 and 50 on their sexual practices as time went on. The ones who looked the youngest after a decade reported having sex three times a week as opposed to their not-so-youthful counterparts who had sex two times a week. 

Weeks says: “Sexual satisfaction is a major contributor to quality of life, ranking at least as high as spiritual or religious commitment and other morale factors, so more positive attitudes towards mature sex should be vigorously promoted,” according to The British Psychological Society. Now there’s a an anti-aging regimen we can get behind. 

6. More O's, more ZZZ's

There's a reason why you just want to roll over and go to sleep after sex. When you orgasm, there's a surge of oxytocin, endorphins, and prolactin. All of these hormones promote a sedative effect through the body, which can help you doze off at night. Prompt some late-night sex (or have a solo session) to help you fall asleep faster. 

7. Love longer, live longer

If you want to live to be 100, sex needs to be a part of your health regimen. There are a few studies that back it up. One Swedish study from The Kinsey Institute (done in the 80s) found that among 70-year-old women the ones who still had sex made it to age 75.  Similarly, a Duke University study kept tabs on 252 people over the span of 25 years and concluded that frequency of sex was a major predictor of longevity, and a Wales study—both of which were cited in the book Change Your Brain, Change Your Body: Use Your Brain to Get and Keep the Body You Have Always Wanted by Daniel G. Amen—analyzed the sexual frequency of 918 men between the ages of 45 and 59 who died from coronary heart disease. They found that those who had two or more orgasms a week died at a rate half of those who had orgasms less than once a month. You see, sex can save your life. 

8. A rise in boners

To keep a car running smoothly you've got to drive it; the same goes for your penis. The more sex you have, the better your sexual health, especially when it comes to getting it up, according to a 2008 study published in The American Journal of Medicine. Men aged 55-75 who had sex less than once per week had twice the incidence of erectile dysfunction as men who have sex once a week (there were 79 cases of ED per 1,000 compared to 32 cases of ED per 1,000). But if you really want to reduce your risk, shoot for three times per week (only 16 cases of ED per 1,000). Can you really argue with science, or a perscription to have more sex?