Listen to my latest podcast episode:

TMHS 352: Self Assessment, Adjusting To Change, & Social Media Detox - With Guest Anne Stevenson

TMHS 335: How Sex Helps You Live A Longer, Healthier Life

Science agrees: sex is good. Engaging in regular sexual activity not only feels great, but also has many health-promoting benefits. Because sex is so taboo in our culture, no one is really talking about this. That’s why I wanted to dig into the research and bring you a comprehensive look into how sex can help you live a longer and healthier life.

You probably already know that sex releases endorphins and contributes to cardiovascular health. But what if I told you that sex can promote cell growth in your brain, relieve pain similarly to morphine, and increase your overall functionality?

Today you’re going to learn the latest research on how having an active sex life can contribute to your mood, cognitive function, and general well-being. You’ll hear studies linking sexual activity to increased heart function, improved sleep, and a more powerful immune system. Additionally, I’m sharing a few tips for maintaining a healthy sex life. So click play, and let’s talk about sex!

In this episode you’ll discover:

  • How sex is linked to cognitive function.
  • The most powerful sexual organ in your body (it’s not what you think!)
  • How sex triggers neurogenesis in the brain.
  • The hormones that are released during sex, and how they improve cognitive skills.
  • What the science says about sex and heart health.
  • How many calories are burned during sexual activity.
  • Which muscles are strengthened during sex.
  • How regular ejaculation can decrease the risk of prostate cancer in men.
  • Which hormone is known as “the cuddle hormone.”
  • The impact that frequent sex has on your body’s immune system.
  • How cortisol can help you get a better night’s sleep.
  • Why sexual intimacy can lead to less stress.
  • Tips for maintaining a healthy sex life as you age.

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Items mentioned in this episode include:

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Transcript:

Shawn Stevenson:  Welcome to The Model Health Show. This is fitness and nutrition expert, Shawn Stevenson, and I'm so grateful for you tuning in with me today. 

When this episode is being released, this is right around a special time for a lot of people, it's right around Valentine's Day. Alright?

For a lot of people, this is one of the times of year when they're doing things special for the people that they care about. 

Valentine's tends to be a time that lovers go the extra mile for each other. Right? Dinners, chocolate, cook for them. Fellas, have you ever cooked for your lady? That's a whole different level right there. 

Bubble baths, rose petals, people go all out. And when I think about that kind of thing though, the rose petals, is that hygienic? I don't know if that's safe or not. 

But playlists; you may put a playlist together. Have you ever made a playlist for your significant other? You know, one that helps to support the mood, getting it on.

Well, with all of that said, every year I like to do some things around a certain theme, and last year around Valentine's Day, I did a really special episode focused on how to increase your level of self-love and how your self-love impacts your health, happiness, and success, and it was one of my all-time favorite and most powerful episodes. 

So if you happened to miss that one, definitely check it out. It'll be in the show notes for you. 

But this time for this year I want to talk about a subject matter that is often overlooked, but it's a huge part of our overall health and wellness.

Today we're talking about how sex help you to live a longer and healthier life, and I think that these studies are straight up going to blow your mind. Alright?

This episode is not for the youngsters, alright? So that should go without saying, but today again, we need to really make some of this stuff clear because these studies just blew my mind, and I was so shocked that we don't know more about this. 

So we're going to have this conversation, today we're going to talk about sex. Hit me with a little bit of that. 

So that's what we're getting into today, and again, get ready to take some good notes, and just have your mind really shifted, your perspective shifted, because this is something that we really take for granted, and we don't really talk about. 

So again, I think you're going to get a lot out of this, but before we do that, I cannot have a conversation about longevity- because today we're talking about how sex impacts your longevity, and you'll see why. 

But I can't talk about longevity without talking about some nutritional components. 

There was a study published in the 'International Journal of Molecular Medicine' that found that fruit flies given cordyceps lived 32% longer than the controls who didn't. Interesting, but that's just fruit flies, right?

What about le mammals? Well there was another study published in 'The Facile Journal' that found that mice given cordyceps lived several months longer than the control group that didn't receive cordyceps. 

Do you know how long that is in mouse years? That's literally like a few extra years of life. 

When we think about mice, I don't know, just for me I think about Master Splinter. Right? I'm just thinking like, "Oh, they're old. They get old or whatever."

No, it's not like that. Additional months means additional years. And so what does this all correlate to?

Well published in the 'American Journal of Chinese Medicine' found that cordyceps protects mitochondria, these energy-creating power plants in all of our cells. 

They protect them by scavenging reactive oxygen species, or these ROS's. And so this is what's kind of correlated with aging, is we see this uptick in inflammation and uptick of this free radical activity. Kind of a  hyper experience of this free radical activity.

Now several human studies have found that cordyceps improves cardiovascular function, VO2 max, insulin sensitivity as well. Alright?

So long history, and also today we've got so many different clinical studies that are proving the efficacy of cordyceps. So if we're talking about longevity, we've really got to take a look at this.

And so for me, in the different studies that I looked at, they were doing different extracts. They were doing different extraction methods of the cordyceps.

So this is why I'm a big fan of Four Sigmatic, is because they do a dual extraction. Because you hear studies, and you don't know what extraction method are they using? How about we do both of them?

And so they do a hot water extract and an alcohol extract, so you actually get all the beneficial compounds that we're looking for when we hear studies like this. 

And this is earth grown nutrient, and it's been around for thousands of years- documented use for humans and benefitting many different areas of health, including longevity. Alright?

So Four Sigmatic has their foundational cordyceps elixir, they have cordyceps coffee. Yes, they have that too. And also cordyceps hot chocolate. Alright?

I'm not going to say chocolate anymore this whole month. Alright? This is the love month, 'chocolate.' Alright? Hot chocolate. 

All of these are available to you right now. Simple, easy-to-use packets, organic. Everything is organic, don't panic. Alright?

Head over, check them out, make sure that you've got some of this in your cabinet. My cabinets are stock full of Four Sigmatic. I'm just telling you what it is. 

You open it up, a glow of shimmer comes from my cabinets. I promise you that. 

Head over, check them out. It's www.FourSigmatic.com/model. That's www.FourSigmatic.com/model and you get 15% off everything. 

Cordyceps elixir, the coffee, the hot chocolate. Also they've got rishi, they've got lion's mane, so many great things to choose from. Pop over there, check them out, www.FourSigmatic.com/model. Now let's get to the Apple Podcasts review of the week. 

iTunes Review:  Another five-star review titled, 'Coach Combo from Kenya,' by ComboFromKenya.

"I have been a coach for the last twenty years, listened to a lot of different kinds of podcasts, but this is the best. Keep on doing the good work."

Shawn Stevenson:  Wow, thank you so very much for leaving me that review over on Apple Podcasts. I appreciate it more than you know.

And listen everybody, if you've yet to leave a review, please pop over to Apple Podcasts and leave a review for the show, or whatever medium you're listening to this on. 

Leave a comment if you're watching on YouTube, whatever podcast app you're using. Please just leave a comment, let everybody know what you think of the show. I appreciate it so much. And on that note, let's get to our topic of the day. 

So today we're talking about how sex helps you to live a longer and healthier life, and like I said, the research is just going to blow your mind, so be prepared for that. 

Now first of all, we've got to get this out of the way. This is a very taboo topic when we're talking about sex because it's literally something that we do behind closed doors, unless you're like in a car or a tent or whatever.

But this is something that is not really out in the public eye, right? So a lot of our conversation and a lot of our language around it is very coded, and it can bring up a little bit of the giggles and a lot of code, because it's taboo. 

So we need to kind of break that pattern first before we get into this, because I'm not going to be super robotic about it and be like, "Sexual intercourse." 

We're going to get into this and we're going to talk about these studies, but I'm going to use some of these things interchangeably. 

And so to break your pattern, I'm just going to go through- for instance, the word 'sex' itself has dozens of different code names, so let's just go through some of those, alright?

These can be interchangeable throughout this episode. So instead of 'sex,' I might say, 'getting busy,' 'making love,' 'shagging.' Alright? Shout-out to the UK folks out there.

'Mattress dancing.' That might be new to you. And of course many people have heard the term 'screwing.' I think it's a little- if you think about the technical- never mind. And let us not forget about 'knocking the boots.' Play a little bit of that for me. 

'Knocking the boots.' I really sat and contemplated before this episode, 'What does that mean? How is sex knocking boots?' And I thought about it like maybe this is something from the olden days, right?

Like back in the- a couple hundred years ago when it was just like the Wild, Wild West, it's harsh conditions, everybody's got their boots on. Right? 

And when they get together, they keep the boots on, they're knocking those boots. You get what I'm saying? That's just my hypothesis. 

Another term, 'humping.' 'Going to town,' 'Going to Disneyland,' AKA the happiest place on earth. It's the real happiest place on earth. 

'Horizontal jogging.' These all might be used interchangeably. I'm breaking your pattern right now so we can get this out of the way and get focused on the science. Alright?

So again, this is a taboo topic, but something that we need to talk about, and it's a big part of our lives as human beings because our DNA, our genetic code, the biggest driving force of our evolution and moving forwards as a species is driven by sex. 

It's driven by the activity that helps to continue our species on, but we don't really talk about it much. Again, it's very taboo, but I really want to open that up today and have these conversations and to see how it impacts our health and actually impacts our longevity as well. 

And we're going to start here with this really interesting connection between sex and cognitive function, especially as we age. 

So contrary to popular belief, your most powerful sexual organ is not between your legs. Alright? I know some people are like, "It definitely is." It's not, okay? It's your brain, so it's between your ears.

It's your most powerful sexual organ because your brain largely controls your sexual health, but your sexual health also influences your brain. 

Listen to this; a study done by a team of researchers at the University of Maryland found that regular sexual activity not only triggers neurogenesis, which is the creation of new neurons in the brain, but it also improves cognitive function, potentially helping people to think more clearly. What?

Bet you never heard that before. I had no idea sex triggers neurogenesis; creation of new neurons in your brain. Remarkable. Remarkable. 

Another study done in 2010 and published in 'The Journal of the Public Library of Science' found that sexual experiences causes cell growth directly in the hippocampus. 

And this is a region of the brain that's really instrumental in our long-term memory, alright? And the impact just goes on, and on, and on. 

It's so fascinating that this science and these various studies have been done for years, but there hasn't really been a compilation to share with people, and that's what I really wanted to do for you today.

Now Barry Komisaruk, Ph.D. and his team at Rutgers’s University have been studying female orgasms for twenty-five years. 

First of all, let's just pause there. That's a long time. That's a long time to be studying female orgasms, so just shout-out.

They recently concluded a study that used FMRIs and found that in women, orgasm lights up as many as thirty different areas of the brain. 

Now I want you to really understand what this means when looking at these scans through an FMRI, what you're seeing when the brain is illuminated like that, that represents blood flow, that represents a potential carrying of a surge of nutrients and oxygen to your brain cells, which can definitely lead to a healthier brain. 

Now to put this in perspective, versus sex by comparison, things like crossword puzzles, Sudoku, memory games; these are often found to stimulate the brain. But looking at an FMRI, it's only certain localized regions, just a couple.

We're talking five to ten, fifteen. Orgasm- female orgasm, over thirty areas of the brain are experiencing this increase in nourishment and blood flow.

So really fascinating and it's something to think about because again, we don't really hear this, we don't talk about this. 

Research suggests that sex can actually improve cognitive skills. Doing the sexy actually raises levels of serotonin, which boosts creativity, and also logical decision making, and the hormone oxytocin is elevated as well, which is related to enhanced problem solving ability. 

Now another study- and this was conducted by researchers at Coventry and Oxford Universities in Britain. Seventy-three people between the ages of fifty and eighty-three were analyzed.

The research revealed that study participants who engaged in weekly sexual activity scored higher on tests of verbal fluency - which is the ability to essentially recall, organize, and use words effectively - and also visual spatial ability was enhanced as well.

And this is involved in depth and distance perception, movement, spatial navigation, those kinds of things. So those were all enhanced for folks who have sex on a more frequent basis than folks who weren't having sex on a frequent basis.

So this is just one area. When we're talking about longevity, when we're talking about the health of our brain, when we're talking about our overall health and well-being, I don't want to just point the discussion towards lifespan. 

I also want to point it towards health span. How long are we living a life full of joy and health and functionality, and being able to really live? Right? 

It's not living if we're confined to some of the situations that we see take place in our culture on the regular now, and a lot of these pieces that we've been covering here on The Model Health Show are huge solutions to some of these problems.

We're seeing this just rapid increase in issues related to dementia and Alzheimer's, heart disease is still a major killer. It's just like we're barely scratching the surface, and we know that there is so much that we can do to prevent a lot of these things.

Now of course nothing is perfect, but in my opinion, if we can stack conditions in our favor, we can give ourselves the opportunity to really enjoy a very long health span. Right? Not just lifespan, but having great health and functionality as well. 

So let's talk a little bit- another thing that we see is just age-related pain. Right? People just hurting, just in pain. So let's look at this general health and pain relief. 

There was a study conducted at the Headache Clinic at Southern Illinois University that found that half of the female migraine sufferers reported relief after climaxing. 

Experts stated that, 'The endorphins that are released during an orgasm closely resemble morphine, and they effectively relieve pain.' Interesting, very interesting stuff. 

But as I mentioned earlier in relationship to heart disease, this is still the number one killer in the United States right now. 

So with longevity, it's not just living a long time, it's avoiding the things that are taking us out, if that makes sense. So let's talk a little bit about the connection between sex and heart health. 

There was a sixteen-year study published in the 'American Journal of Cardiology' conducted with over 1,000 male participants aged forty to seventy.

The study found that men who had sex at least once a week were almost 50% less likely to die from heart disease than men who had sex once a month or less. 

What? If you're not watching the video, you didn't see my head jerk back. Like that's crazy. That's crazy. And this was taking into account all these other lifestyle factors; smoking, and exercise, and diet. 

Sex, 50% less likely to die from heart disease. How in tarnation? How in tarnation? I've never said that before, by the way. I've never said tarnation, but I felt compelled to say it. 

We've got to know this stuff, alright? It's connected to something far deeper than we realize as far as us being here, and being functional, and being healthy.

Another way that sex supports your heart health is that sex counts as cardio. It counts as cardio too. A session of mattress dancing can burn anywhere from 85 to 250 calories, depending on the length obviously of the session and the vigorous nature of it, or lack thereof, whatever. 

In fact, according to the research published in the 'American Journal of Cardiology,' cardiologists consider sexual activity comparable to a modest workout on the treadmill. Done. I'm done with the treadmill. 

You're not going to see me on one. If you do, you know, "What's going on in your relationship?" I'm just kidding. I'm totally kidding. Totally kidding. 

But just, what? So incredible, right? So this is the 'American Journal of Cardiology.' This is like an esteemed journal, and they're just like, "Hey, we've got the treadmill, sex counts." Alright? So put that in your mental rolodex, it's really fascinating. 

Not only will your heart get a workout, but you're also finessing some strength training as well. 

According to Dr. Hilda Hutcherson, Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Columbia University, "Your abs and the muscles in your back, butt, and thighs get a good workout as you thrust during sex." 

Just throwing it out there. Just throwing it out there. And other muscles as well, if you think about it, depending on the position that you're in. 

Those arms, you're propping yourself up, you know? There's different things that are getting engaged, and if it's good for your muscles, it's good for your health. Right?

There are so many scenarios playing in my mind, you get the wobbly arms, the abs can get a little- if you did a workout and then try and do the thrusting, like you really know that you're engaging those abdominal muscles. 

But it all depends on you, it depends on - as Ice Cube said - you can do it, put your back into it. Right? It all depends on what you are putting into this as far as the benefits with the cardio and the muscles.

Now speaking of that appearance, and what muscle can do for us, speaking of appearance, listen to this. 

A healthy sex life appears to keep you looking younger longer. This was a study conducted at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital in Scotland, and a panel of judges viewed participants through a one-way mirror and guessed their ages. 

Those who were enjoying lots of sex with a steady partner - this was four times a week on average - were perceived to be seven to twelve years younger than their actual age. 

Again, compiling all of this data, and just seeing the people, they were judged to look seven to twelve years younger. And they'd find out, "Wow, they're that age?" Really interesting connection there. 

According to Dr. Cindy Meston, who's the Director of the Sexual Psychophysiology Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin, "Regular sex promotes the release of hormones, including testosterone and estrogen, which can keep the body looking young and vital. Estrogen has also been shown to promote soft skin and shining hair."

You've got the glow. You've got the glow. We hear about this, we talk about this in culture, but like there is some science behind it as well. 

Like, "You're glowing. Do you have a new such-and-such in your life? Have you been having more?" The glow. Shout-out to The Last Dragon, Bruce Leroy, whoever thought about that when I said, 'the glow.'

Alright, let's move on. This is really interesting here. Sex and cancer prevention.

Part of living a long health life, again, is doing our best to reduce our risk of chronic diseases. It's not just a longshot. Like we hear this term of 'dying of old age.' Right?

This is something that we used to hear a lot more of, but today it's a different scenario. But part of that is having the ability to die of old age is not being taken down or stricken with these chronic illnesses. 

And again, no method is going to be perfect whether it's our diet- we can eat a perfect diet and still have something happen. We could exercise daily, still something can happen. We can sleep great, still. Relationships still have something happen. On, and on, and on. 

But again, I want to stress to us, it's all of it together, stacking conditions in our favor, living a life that our genes expect us to live, that we evolved having a life of community, and real food, and movement, and sleep, and all these things that today for various reasons are not a normal part of our culture. 

And I'm working, as I know that you are, you're part of this. The Model Health Show community, we're working to change that, and we're doing it first and foremost with how we live our lives. 

And so I mentioned earlier heart disease still being the number one killer. Cancer is right there behind it. They're very, very close, number two cause of death in the U.S. 

And again, there's a relationship here interestingly with sex and cancer prevention. 

A couple of studies highlighting the correlation between sex and reduced cancer risk, one of them being a study conducted by Harvard researchers. 

And this was looking at 29,342 men between the ages of forty-six and eighty-one, and they were asked about their average number of ejaculations per month during early adulthood. 

Ejaculation included those that resulted from sexual interaction with a partner and through masturbation as well. We'll just call it solo sex. That's what we'll do. It's not a word that just like rolls off your tongue. You know what I mean? 

So the researchers found that men who ejaculated twenty-one or more times each month as young adults had a 33% decreased risk of developing some types of prostate cancer later on in life compared to individuals who reported four to seven of those experiences each month. 

So really interesting. Again, this is some types of prostate cancer. There's many different types, just like with breast cancer, there's different types but this is something to think about. 

What? How? How did they even think to look at this correlation? First, let me share another study with you, and this was carried out by an Australian research team.

2,338 men were asked to report on their monthly ejaculations. Those research participants who reported four to seven ejaculations per week were 36% less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer before the age of seventy, compared to men who did it less than two to three times per month. 

Again, it's just like what? How? What is the connection? What's this correlation? The researchers speculate that regular ejaculation cleanses house, in a sense, in the prostate, making it a less welcome environment for carcinogens, and infection, and stagnant metabolic waste products that could lead to inflammation. 

And as we know, we've talked about on the show many times, that inflammation- this is the biggest causative factor in its many faces behind accelerated aging. It's inflammation, right? So they're looking at how this is reducing inflammation. 

Also according to the Director of Sexual Health Medicine at Alvarado Hospital in California, Dr. Irwin Goldstein, "Several studies show that women who have regular intercourse often have less risk of breast cancer as well."

So really interesting fascinating data to put into our mental rolodex and to start to question and change our perspective and pay attention to the fact that sex has a correlation with our health and our longevity. 

Now another aspect of cancer prevention and health overall is related to the impact that sex can have on the immune system. So it looks like regular sex may boost your immune system. 

This was a study presented at the Eastern Psychological Association Convention, and it found that study participants who had sex once or twice a week had high levels of the antibody Immunoglobulin A, or IgA, compared with the participants who got busy less often. 

Now IgA is found in saliva and mucosa linings, and it's one of the body's first defenses against infection. And so according to the researchers at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania, sex once or twice a week in the wintertime - come on now, bear skin rug, fire - can boost the immune system and reduce the chances of catching colds and flu. Alright?

Shout-out to Wilkes University, thank you for that piece of data. 

So we've looked at heart health, we've looked at brain health, we've looked at cancer prevention, the immune system, and this is just a small little morsel. So much information out there. 

And so to shift gears, because another chronic issue in our culture today is sleep deprivation, and we know now that sleep deprivation is directly linked to increased cancer risk, diabetes risk, obesity risk, depression. The list goes on and on and on. 

So helping to support our sleep is helping to support our health and our longevity overall as well, and there's this really interesting impact between sex and sleep, and this is because during orgasm we release a cocktail of different chemicals that are linked to improved sleep quality, one of them being oxytocin.

Now oxytocin is also known as 'the love hormone' or 'the cuddle hormone,' and oxytocin is increased through orgasm, and according to researched in the journal 'Regulatory Peptides,' oxytocin has a calming effect that counters the effects of cortisol and helps to promote good sleep. 

And this is coming directly from my book, 'Sleep Smarter.' So I've got a chapter - this is chapter nine - dedicated to the relationship between sleep and sex. 

So make sure to pick up a copy if you've yet to do so. I think you're really going to enjoy it. So again, that's chapter nine in the book.

Also, prolactin is a hormone that's linked to sexual satisfaction and it's also heavily related to sleep. Studies show that prolactin levels are naturally higher during sleep, and animals who were injected with this chemical become tired immediately. Alright? Immediately.

Studies clearly demonstrate that plasma prolactin concentrations are substantially increased for more than an hour following orgasm for both men and women.

With that said, we can finally understand why sex is sometimes referred to as 'sleeping with someone.' Because prolactin is connected with sexual satisfaction, its release is the reason that men generally can't 'go another round' and need some time to recover.

It's also important to note that men produce four times more prolactin when having an orgasm through intercourse as compared to masturbation. 

For women, prolactin surges are deeply connected to the quality of orgasm and subsequent sexual satisfaction, according to research published in the 'Journal of Sexual Medicine.'

This pituitary hormone is associated with improved immune system function, great sleep, and improved quality of life. It's yet another reason to get a little closer and enjoy the health-giving benefits of the big O.

Again, that's direct from 'Sleep Smarter,' that's chapter nine looking at this connection between sleep and sex. 

Now after compiling all of this information, and really thinking things through, we realize that, 'Wait a minute, culturally these two things are connected; sex and literally sleeping together - sleeping.' 

But then there's another side to this that might come up from time to time, or something that we might think about, which is- and again, I want you to please note, this does not guarantee that somebody is going to be sleepy immediately after sex.

Because highly active sex can actually make you feel - some people potentially - more energized than sleepy, and there are going to some people like, "Yeah."

So it's not saying that sex should necessarily be like a very- we'll just call it lazy cakes, alright? We'll just call it not really doing much.

But if you get active, and you're really doing some stuff, like who knows what can happen? Who knows? Handstand- I don't know. I don't know.

Have you ever broken something? Not physically, but like an item in your household? I remember one time I broke some of my favorite CDs. 

Like I just- my foot reached out off the bed, broke CDs. I was so upset for like- you don't care during, it's afterwards like, "Man, I loved that CD." You know?

So if you're highly active, a lot's going on, you might not necessarily be sleepy right after, so I'm just putting that out there. Got some great science showing the connection between sleep and sex, but could be potentially energizing as well. Just depends on how it's going down.

And now with that said, just consciously when we think about sex, and we think about sleep, for a lot of us, we relate that to our bedroom, and to the bed. This is kind of a sacred space.

And so whether we think about it or not, we spend about a third of our lives in our bed. Our bed matters a lot. And for me, a big issue that is not talked about enough, and I really took a stand on this in 'Sleep Smarter,' and just have been kind of pushing this into culture as time has gone on, is the fact that so many mattresses out there are really detrimental to our health.

Many people are shocked to find out that most mattresses contain toxic foams and synthetic fabrics, and are treated with chemical flame retardants that literally off-gas and lead to a whole host of health problems. 

Chemicals in conventional mattress flame retardants, for example, include one of the most used things for years to treat conventional mattresses was PBDEs, or polybrominated diphenyl ethers. 

A 2003 study published in 'Environmental Health Perspectives' revealed that PBDEs were found in alarming levels in US mothers' breast milk. This is not a joke, it's not just, "Oh, it's sprayed on the mattress, it's not a big deal." 

Another study in 2001 found that PBDEs were linked with behavioral abnormalities early in life. Because of that, it's been banned, and it's been slowly being phased out of mattresses in the mattress production. 

But thing is, it's just like why in the first place? It might start off with a good intention of like a flame retardant. This was like back in the days, people falling asleep with cigarettes in their mouth on a regular basis because cigarettes were just like- they're not bad for you. Right?

It's just like a protective measure, but there are better ways to go about that than something that can cause all of these different problems.

So it was used- and this was before 2004 when it was beginning to have been phased out. However, since it was determined when the phase out began that the chemicals - PBDEs - are toxic to your liver, your thyroid, nervous system. 

And again, they've been phased out, but the question is are they in your mattress? We don't know. Especially if you have an older mattress.

And for me, I really didn't think about it. I just didn't think about it for years. Like I had my same mattress. 

Another thing that's used, boric acid. Still today this is very, very common. Very, very common. It might sound familiar when you hear boric acid. 

Not only is it used as a flame retardant for mattresses, but it's also used commercially to kill roaches. It's confirmed to be a strong respiratory irritant and has known carcinogenic properties. That's cancer causing properties. 

That's not okay. We need to talk about this stuff, and we need to change how things are being done. 

So for me, when I found out this information, I started to find and seek out, what is a great wellness mattress? Like something that actually supports my health.

And there was another reason that I was really drawn towards the mattress that I use today, and that I've gotten for my kids as well. 

So number on, I don't want my kids sleeping on that stuff, so I got them this mattress as well. And for me, I sleep on an Intellibed, and I've been sleeping on an Intellibed for maybe five years, six years. 

It's been quite a while, and this took place for me when I was having issues with my SI joint. So it's like- and I would experience it as back and hip pain, and there was no reason that I should have been in pain. 

Everything looked good on my scans, but I had a little bit of this SI joint dysfunction going on, and I'm just like, "Why?" And so this is your sacroiliac joint. 

And part of the reason is this; most fancy mattresses out there with all the great marketing, and the memory foam. Right? It's memory foam, it remembers you.

What happens is your hips are the heaviest part of your body when you lay down, and so that's where it starts to lose its resiliency. It's called mattress resiliency first. 

And this can happen up to 25% loss in mattress resiliency, even for the fanciest memory foam, within the first two years. And so for me, it had been maybe four or five years had went by, and I started to have pain as a result of the mattress that I was sleeping on.

I had no idea, and a lot of other people don't realize that research indicates right now that about seventy million Americans suffer from sleep-related pain due to their mattresses. 

It's one of those strange things, again, happens behind closed doors, we often don't think about it. But this is a surface that we're laying on for hours upon hours upon hours, so it kind of matters.

And so my Intellibed, number one, it's three times more supportive than memory foam, yet it cradles your hips and your shoulders to relieve your pressure in these various pressure points up to 80% better than your standard mattresses out there. 

You know, again, the fancy memory foams, and all this different stuff - the Sleep Number, or whatever it is - and it's because they have this patented non-toxic Intelligel that's used to make their mattresses.

It's just phenomenal. It's so crazy, like once I shifted over and changed the mattress I was sleeping on, my pain went away. And that was just one of the many reasons that I shifted over. 

Of course, getting rid of all the toxic stuff, the off-gassing, but also this mattress sleeps cool whereas these newer beds, this memory foam, they actually conduct and generate heat when you're sleeping on them. 

And we know now, since the mainstream hit of projects and books like 'Sleep Smarter,' that your temperature and thermoregulation is a big part of your sleep quality, and if you're running too hot trying to sleep, this can really damage your sleep cycle. 

So again, it sleeps cool, and here's what's really cool about it, is that the mattress is so well made, and the resiliency holds up for so many years, it has a twenty year warranty. 

And it's not pro-rated, like it doesn't change over time like these other mattress companies. Twenty year warranty, it's unbelievable. And this really, from my perspective, is the number one wellness mattress.

This is what I sleep on, this is what my kids sleep on, and I truly realize now how important it is because, again, we spend about a third of our lives on our mattress. 

So this is- we're investing in so many other things, exercise, and food, and all this stuff, but you physically spend so much time here in your bed. 

The number one wellness mattress is Intellibed, so go to www.Intellibed.com/modelhealth. That's www.Intellibed.com/modelhealth together as one word, 'modelhealth,' and you're going to get an exclusive discount - and they have not done this before - you're going to get an exclusive discount off your mattress, free delivery, and they'll come and swap out your mattress for the number one wellness mattress.

You can also speak to a sleep specialist there on the staff to find out really what your needs are and what kind of mattress is going to be best for you, because they design and cater them to your needs. 

So pop over there, check them out right now, www.Intellibed.com/modelhealth. Do that now, and I promise you that you will not regret it. I absolutely love my bed. 

And on that note, let's move on. By the way, you remember that Drake song? He was like, "I only love my bed, and my mama, I'm sorry." 

My bed, we thought he was talking about his bed. I'm like, "He must have a nice bed." In my head, I was like, "He must have an Intellibed." 

But actually I think Mahbed is his son's name maybe. Yeah, so anyways, a little insider thing. Let's move on.

So today we're talking about the connection that our sex life has on our longevity and our health, and another important area that I wanted to talk about was the connection between sex and happiness, and just our mental health overall. 

This is a big conversation that's finally being put into the mainstream right now in talking about mental health. 

Researchers from the University of West Scotland revealed that people who had sex at least once over two weeks were better able to manage stressful situations such as public speaking. 

Alright? Now I don't know if you know this, public speaking is ranked higher in adult fears in the US than dying. Fear of death is under public speaking. 

It's crazy, right? But it's one of those things. And you know, many of us have experienced this, I know I have of course, and it's one of those things we don't talk about. 

But they found that having sex helped to subside those affects. According to the researchers, it's because endorphins and oxytocin are released during sex, and these feel good hormones activate pleasure centers in the brain that create feelings of intimacy and relaxation that help to stave off anxiety and depression.

They also stated that you don't have to climax to actually get these net effects, but you'll get the biggest surge of soothing hormones if you do in fact have an orgasm. So really interesting. 

So according to a study of twenty-four men and twenty-two women who kept daily diaries of their sexual activity and then had to either do arithmetic or speak in front of a crowd. 

People who reported having more sex had lower blood pressure when performing these stressful tasks. 

So for other people it's like, "I can public speak all day, but don't put no math in front of me. Just don't, okay? Hypotenuse, Pythagorean Theorem, I don't care. I don't care." Stress you out. So this was found to lower their blood pressure.

In an Arizona State University study on fifty-eight middle-aged women, physical affection or sexual behavior with a partner significantly predicted lower negative mood and stress and higher positive mood the following day. Getting that glow. 

Simply put, the researchers found that sex and physical intimacy led women to feel less stressed and to be in a better mood the following day.

And another study- and this was in 2004, it was a study of 16,000 Americans, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, found that people who are happy tend to be the ones getting the most action. 

The study estimated that boosting between the sheets time from once a month to once a week was the happiness equivalent of getting a $50,000 raise. Pause for dramatic effect.

Happiness equivalent- $50k is a lot. Happiness equivalent from once a month to per week. Yeah. 

Now the research did note that the type of sex mattered, right? So when they were looking at how did the situation come about, so if men were paying for sex, or if they were engaged in some cheating, that raise feeling that they were getting was not the same. 

So I'm just throwing that out there. It's what the researchers said, I'm just sharing it with you.

Now keep in mind, even outside this context of talking specifically about sex, affection and touch are powerful on their own, and I do not want this to be overlooked. 

Another study looked at women's heart rate and cortisol levels as a measure of stress response and found that women exhibited less of a stress response after positive physical contact with their partner.

Emotional support- not touching, just emotional support alone did not have the same effect. Touch matters. Getting closer, it matters. Alright? 

It's something that we actually require for our health. We literally release certain positive chemicals when we have the affection and the touch of somebody that cares about us. You know? It's incredible powerful. 

We know the impact that it has on children, in the development. Holding a baby will have this blanket statement of failure to thrive if they're not held, if they're not being- having that physical touch and affection. 

And so don't overlook that. This doesn't mean- hearing this data today that it's just time to go- it's time to go crazy and just the mattress dancing daily, five times a day, it's not that. It's not what this is about. 

This is understanding something that is taboo and not talked about that does have a lot of benefit as humans. But be responsible, be smart, be safe. Alright? I don't want you coming up to me at a conference like, "Hey Shawn, I'd like to introduce you to my baby, Model Health."

I'm like, "Why did you name them Model Health?" "Because I listened to your episode and I became kind of frivolous." Don’t' do that. 

But what this is really about is understanding ourselves, understanding how important that this connection is, and not overlooking it. This is something- again, it's so behind closed doors, not talked about, we don't really understand the roles that it plays on our health and our psychological health. 

So I hope that this gave you some tools and some insights, but some questions might arise for you, so I wanted to give you some more action oriented advice. Not that kind- well, okay. 

So what do we do to actually make this happen? If we're like, "I want more of these benefits, it's kind of a little bit off right now in my life." And now that we know we have all of these different benefits in increasing our lifespan and health span potentially, the question might arise, "How do I ensure that I'm able to maintain a healthy sex life as I age, when the public at large sees it as a sharp decline?"

Right? We've got all these commercials, the guys are like- you know how the screen- it's a color commercial but then it goes to black and white, and the situation just kind of turns into this like depressive- but we see these images and it's imprinted on us that things just go downhill. 

We don't have examples of things being great, and so I want to make sure that we have these conversations and start to think differently about this.

Because while you might be excited to know and to improve your sex life, to improve your longevity and your health span, it's a natural thing to wonder about how to maintain it as you age. 

One thing that will likely help is routine exercise. Listen to this. Sixty-year-olds who exercise frequently report having the same amount of sex and sexual pleasure as people who are decades younger. 

One study examined the sexual frequency and satisfaction ratings of sixty-year-old swimmers, as in these are people who swim. Because when I first looked at it was like- anyways, people who swim.

And they found that these sixty-year-old swimmers who, again, are physically active, they found that they were the same in their satisfaction and sexual frequency as people who are literally twenty years younger. Alright? 

Exercise. It benefits so many different areas of our lives, so that's one thing. Also, sleep. We talked about the impact that sex has on sleep, but what about the impact that sleep has on sex?

A study cited in my book 'Sleep Smarter,' and this was published in the 'Journal of Sexual Medicine,' found that women who got a more optimal amount of sleep had greater levels of sexual desire and greater arousal during sex. 

There was also found to be a 14% increase in the likelihood of sexual activity the following day after a good night of sleeping. I'm thinking- 14%, I'm thinking. 

Now exercise, sleep, also another big part of this is not about demanding or wishing or thinking that this is just going to happen on its own. It's not working on our sex life, it's working on our relationships period. Right?

And like with anything in life, if it's important to us, we need to make it a study. Like if your relationship isn't where you want it to be, you have to study what does a good relationship look like? 

What are the components of that? What do I need to be doing? How do I need to change? And really support that, because out of that can come all of this other potential benefit. Alright? So working on our relationship overall. 

And another big thing is to simply communicate with your partner, alright? So not just as far as the overall relationship, but specifically in the discussion and communication about sex. 

Wants, preferences; sure absolutely. But there are some relationships where sex is definitely very intuitive and unspoken, but sometimes unspoken can just mean unsatisfying. Right? 

So be open to having these conversations because it's a big part of our health, it's a big part of our relationships, so communicate with your partner.

Now finally, shift your perspective. Just have an open heart. Start to think about this stuff differently. 

This is another thing that we're adding to our experience and our mental construct about what really entails great health, and something that can lead us to longevity and a great health span. 

And it just highlights the natural part of being alive and being human, because in truth, every cell in our body is driven towards this connection. 

And this might be something to start thinking differently about, and maybe these cells - this community of cells that make you - might want this interaction a little bit more frequently than you might think. 

But it's just something to think about, something to get educated about, and I hope that this provided a lot of value and sparked the question and the insight and a new drive to start to think about stuff differently.

And again, this is adding to the overall equation, right? The right nutrition, right movement, great sleep, right relationships; all of these things come together as a compilation that make us up. 

And no thing is outwardly more important than the other, and I'm just grateful that you are on this mission with me to get educated about this stuff, and again, I hope you got a lot of value out of this episode. 

If you did, please share it out with your friends and family on social media, and you can tag me. I'm @ShawnModel on Instagram and on Twitter too. Shout-out to Twitter. And also on Facebook, I'm @TheModelHealthShow.

So tag me, let me know what you thought about this episode, and I appreciate you so much for tuning in today. We've got some power house shows coming up, alright? So make sure that you are prepared. 

Again, thank you so much for tuning in today. I appreciate you immensely. Take care, have an amazing day, and I'll talk with you soon.

And for more after the show, make sure to head over to www.TheModelHealthShow.com. That's where you can find all of the show notes, you can find transcriptions, videos for each episode, and if you've got a comment you can leave me a comment there as well. 

And please make sure to head over to iTunes and leave us a rating to let everybody know that the show is awesome, and I appreciate that so much. 

And take care, I promise to keep giving you more powerful, empowering, great content to help you transform your life. Thanks for tuning in.
 

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