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Sex Is Good For Your Health: A 30 Day Sex Challenge

Lissa Rankin's picture


Hiya Pinkies! How’s the second week of 2010 going for you? I just read something that inspired me to write about your favorite topic- SEX (yes, it’s true- the Pretty Pink Pussy Tour is still Owning Pink’s #1 most heavily trafficked post). CNN correspondent Elizabeth Cohen reported about Sadie Nardini and her husband, who resolved to have sex every day in December to help them fight his-and-hers vices: ciggies and chocolate. Lo and behold, guess what happened? Not only did they find their cravings curbed, but they felt better, slept better, and didn’t get the usual winter viruses that typically plague them.

Apparently, their experiment worked so well, they’re planning to continue it into January. My guess is that, in addition to the evident health benefits, Sadie and her husband find themselves more loving, more connected, and hell- more sexually satisfied!

It got me thinking (and feeling a little…uh…sparkly, if you know what I mean). What if, instead of wallowing in the Winter Blues that seem to be afflicting many of the people I know, those of us with ready and willing partners snuggle in front of the fireplace and resolve to whoop it up a bit? After all, sex is good for you. Just ask Dr. Beverly Whipple, a leading sex researcher who famously named the G Spot and just co-wrote The Orgasm Answer Guide. I interviewed Beverly when I was researching my upcoming book What’s Up Down There? Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend. Here are some of the many health benefits to sex and orgasm.

Engaging in acts of sexual expression may:

  1. Help you live longer.[i][ii][iii]
  2. Lower your risk of heart disease and stroke if you have sex twice/week or more.[iv]
  3. Reduce your risk of breast cancer.[v]
  4. Bolster your immune system.[vi]
  5. Help you sleep.[vii]
  6. Make you appear more youthful.[viii]
  7. Improve your fitness.[ix]
  8. Help protect against endometriosis.[x]
  9. Enhance fertility.[xi]
  10. Regulate menstrual cycles. [xii][xiii]
  11. Relieve menstrual cramps.[xiv]
  12. Help carry a pregnancy to full term.[xv]
  13. Relieve chronic pain.[xvi][xvii][xviii]
  14. Help reduce migraine headache pain in some individuals.[xix]
  15. Improve quality of life.[xx][xxi][xxii]
  16. Reduce the risk of depression.[xxiii]
  17. Lower stress levels.[xxiv][xxv]
  18. Improve self esteem.[xxvi]
  19. Improves intimacy with your partner.[xxvii]
  20. Help you grow spiritually.[xxviii][xxix][xxx]

The evidence is mounting. Sex and orgasm aren’t just good – they’re good for you.

So go ahead and resolve to try something sexy for 2010. If you don’t have a partner, don’t worry. Orgasm benefits you, with or without a partner, so fly solo if need be.

What do you think, Pinkies? You all get shy when we start talking about sex, but speak up! Tell us what you think. Share your experiences, and let’s get this party started.

Hot and bothered,

Dr. Lissa

[i] Davey Smith, George, et al. (1997). “Sex and Death: Are They Related? Findings from the Caerphilly Cohort Study.” BMJ ? British Medical Journal, 315, 1641–1644.

[ii] Palmore, E. (1982). “Predictors of the Longevity Difference: A Twenty-Five Year Follow-Up.” The Gerontologist, 22, 513–518.

[iii]Persson, G. (1981). “Five-year Mortality in a 70-Year-Old Urban Population in Relation to Psychiatric Diagnosis, Personality, Sexuality and Early Parental Death.” Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 64, 244–253.

[iv] Ebrahim, S., et al. (2002). “Sexual Intercourse and Risk of Ischaemic Stroke and Coronary Heart Disease: The Caerphilly Study.” Journal of Epidemiology Community Health, 56, 99–102.

[v] Lê, M.G., et al. (1989). “Characteristics of Reproductive Life and Risk of Breast Cancer in a Case-Control Study of Young Nulliparous Women.” Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 42(12), 1227–1233.

[vi] Charnetski, Carl J. & Francis X. Brennan. (2001). Feeling Good Is Good For You: How Pleasure Can Boost Your Immune System and Lengthen Your Life. Emmaus: Rodale Press, Inc.

[vii] Ellison, Carol Rinkleib. (2000). Women’s Sexualities. Oakland: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.

[viii] Weeks, David & Jamie James. (1998). Secrets of the Superyoung. New York: Berkley Books

[ix] Ellison, Carol Rinkleib. (2000). Women’s Sexualities. Oakland: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.

[x]Meaddough, Erika L., et al. (2002). “Sexual Activity, Orgasm and Tampon Use Are Associated with a Decreased Risk for Endometriosis.” Gynecologic and Obstetric Investigation, 53, 163–169.

[xi] Cutler, Winnifred B. (1991). Love Cycles: The Science of Intimacy. New York: Villard Books.

[xii] Cutler, Winnifred B. (1991). Love Cycles: The Science of Intimacy. New York: Villard Books.

[xiii] Burleson, Mary H., et al. (1991). “Heterosexual Activity and Cycle Length Variability: Effect of Gynecological Maturity.” Physiology & Behavior, 50, 863–866.

[xiv] Ellison, Carol Rinkleib. (2000). Women’s Sexualities. Oakland: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.

[xv] Sayle, A.E., et al. (2001). “Sexual Activity During Late Pregnancy and Risk of Preterm Delivery.” Obstetrics and Gynecology, 97(2), 283-289.

[xvi] Kaplan, Helen Singer. (1984, October). “Desire ? Why and How It Changes.” Redbook, 58. As cited in Komisaruk & Whipple, 1995.

[xvii] Shapiro, D. (1983). “Effect of Chronic Low Back Pain on Sexuality.” Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality, 17, 241–245. As cited in Komisaruk & Whipple, 1995.

[xviii] Whipple, Beverly & Barry R. Komisaruk. (1985). “Elevation of Pain Threshold by Vaginal Stimulation in Women.” Pain, 21, 357–367.

[xix] Evans, Randolph W. & James R. Couch. (2001). “Orgasm and Migraine.” Headache, 41, 512–514.

[xx] Weeks, David J. (2002). “Sex for the Mature Adult: Health, Self-Esteem and Countering Ageist Stereotypes.” Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 17(3), 231–240.

[xxi] Warner, Pamela & John Bancroft. (1988). “Mood, Sexuality, Oral Contraceptives and the Menstrual Cycle.” Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 32(4/5), 417–427.

[xxii] Laumann, Edward O., et al. (1994). The Social Organization of Sexuality ? Sexual Practice in the United States. Chicago: University of Chicago.

[xxiii] Catania, Joseph A. & Charles B. White. (1982). “Sexuality in an Aged Sample: Cognitive Determinants of Masturbation.” Archives of Sexual Behavior, 11(3), 237–245.

[xxiv] Charnetski, Carl J. & Francis X. Brennan. (2001). Feeling Good Is Good For You: How Pleasure Can Boost Your Immune System and Lengthen Your Life. Emmaus: Rodale Press, Inc.

[xxv] Weeks, David J. (2002). “Sex for the Mature Adult: Health, Self-Esteem and Countering Ageist Stereotypes.” Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 17(3), 231–240.

[xxvi] Hurlbert, David Farley & Karen Elizabeth Whittaker. (1991). “The Role of Masturbation in Marital and Sexual Satisfaction: A Comparative Study of Female Masturbators and Nonmasturbators.” Journal of Sex Education & Therapy, 17(4), 272–282.

[xxvii] Weeks, David J. (2002). “Sex for the Mature Adult: Health, Self-Esteem and Countering Ageist Stereotypes.” Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 17(3), 231–240.

[xxviii] Gardella, Peter. (1985). Innocent Ecstasy: How Christianity Gave America an Ethic of Sexual Pleasure. New York: Oxford University Press.

[xxix] Keesling, Barbara. (2000). Rx Sex: Making Love is the Best Medicine. Alameda: Hunter House Inc., Publishers.

[xxx] Ogden, Gina. (2001, August 14, accessed 2009, November). “Spiritual Passion and Compassion in Late-Life Sexual Relationships.” [Online]. Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality. http://www.ejhs.org/volume4/Ogden.htm.

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This blog, and the book on which it is based, is a complement to - not a substitute for - professional advice and intervention, and is not intended to replace the advice of a gynecologist or medical professional, who should be consulted about any health care issues that may affect the individual reader. The information contained in this book is the product of observations made by the author in her practice, as well as her review of relevant literature in her field of expertise. The literature at times reflects conflicting opinions and conclusions. The views expressed herein are the personal views of the author and are not intended to reflect the views of any group or organization with whom the author is affiliated.


Caren's picture

Well, I just had to comment

Well, I just had to comment again. Beth: Do yourself a favor and go toy shopping, it will be some of the best money you have ever spent. Also, I have a boy toy, 26 and gorgeous. It is what it is and we both now that. Being that I am in my mid 40's. I have so many body image issues and with him it doesn't matter. Point being it really is good for the soul. You deserve to have pleasure and I am so sorry for your situation. Go for it girl, get yours!!

Megan: Feeling sexy has never been the problem for me. I know there is a sexy woman inside of you, in there just dying to get out. You are so much more sexy than you know. OWN your sexiness!


Chrystal's picture

That is way frustrating,

That is way frustrating, Beth. I hear ya. You can only lead a horse to water. Trust your instincts and Lissa is right... your pleasure is your birth right!

Lissa Rankin's picture

One of the many things I love

One of the many things I love about you Beth is that you have simply OWNED IT. Rather than wallowing or getting pissed or taking people out with an Uzzi, you've owned your sexuality and are rejoicing in it. If only more of us would OWN whatever we need to get our mojo back....

Beth Wilson's picture

Thanks Lissa... I get a

Thanks Lissa... I get a little defensive when i'm told to try and get him interested. I know its safe to say things like that here not anywhere else. I do try to channel that sexual energy into doing other things and it helps..but nothing beats sex....not even really good chocolate lol.

Lissa Rankin's picture


(((((((((((((((((((Beth))))))))))))))))))))) You are held- and heard. And yes, you deserve pleasure-with or without weight loss. You deserve it simply because it's your birthright. I'm so glad you're exploring ways to feel pleasure, even without your husband. Really, it's his loss... xoxo

Beth Wilson's picture

Chrystal, Love that spelling

Chrystal, Love that spelling of the name BTW!! Honey I haven't been touched since August..TOUCHED! I'm being accused of putting too much pressure on performance...plus i've tried several avenues of getting him interested, and i am ignored. I even have lost 60 lbs in the last 16 months and i don't even get a second look. I observe him and he just is into his own lil world of work and such..so i am having to find other outlets. We used to have a smoking sex life..but not anymore. I'm 46 not dead for heavens sake!

hot and bothered LOL!! boy now that sounds familiar..heheheheheee

Chrystal's picture

Thanks for the shout out,

Thanks for the shout out, Lissa. Beth, I am so sorry your husband is no longer interested in sex. You would be so surprised how often I hear that this is a problem. (I have personally facilitated over 1,000 Bliss Pleasure Parties and have spoken with over 10,000 Bay Area women about what it is they want from sex and we hear OFTEN how little sex they are having.)

As my friend Emily Morse says, "communication is lubrication" and if your husband is really not into it, maybe try bringing your computer to bed with him and browse together (my site or Drew's site) and see if anything is interesting to him. See if you can maybe spark some interest.

Sounds like you have some interesting things brewing. You are HOT and you are confident and you deserve PLEASURE!

Lissa Rankin's picture

Bring it, girlfriend!

Bring it, girlfriend!

Heather's picture

Im all about this...gonna

Im all about this...gonna have the hubby read this..I could def use the health benefits!!! Not to mention I love to have sex!! LOL!!!

Lissa Rankin's picture

Thanks, love. And yes- you

Thanks, love. And yes- you got it goin' on, girlfriend! Thanks for the affirmation and best wishes for your 2010 intentions!

Megan Monique Harner's picture

OMG! Your sign off- 'hot and

OMG! Your sign off- 'hot and bothered' had me rolling on the floor and of course, blushing! LoL. I love sexy although from my 'partners' stand point you wouldn't always be able to tell. One of my intentions and goals for 2010 is BE sexy, to feel it, live it and radiate with confidence that I got it goin on. So perhaps this is part of my 2010 goal.... Great post Lissa!

Lissa Rankin's picture

Oh- and Leslee- I definitely

Oh- and Leslee- I definitely think sex CAN be spiritual, Leslee. We are, after all, spirits embodied, and we're here on earth to live, experience, grow, connect, and most importantly- LOVE. What better way to explore our embodied experience on earth than to experience pleasure and communion, either alone or with another?

Lissa Rankin's picture

Wow, Dana, as always, you

Wow, Dana, as always, you rock, sister.

Yes, at least half of my upcoming book What's Up Down There? Questions You'd Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend is about affirming everyone's right to be who they are sexually. It IS no one's and everybody's business. If you don't like what someone else is doing sexually, don't do it yourself. The more we give each other permission to OWN our sexuality, the more we can step into our own desires, and in doing so, step into our true power.

But that's just my two cents. Don't let me take over this show. Share your thoughts, Pinkies!

Dana Theus's picture

Lissa Great article. I

Lissa Great article. I commend you for reintroducing this subject because it is SO important on so many levels. Every level, really, and yet sex is also so shrouded in mystery for women that most of us don't have a clue about how to even broach it - with themselves, their partners or others in their lives that might help them learn how sexual discovery can help you find happiness. My experience has not been that people are willing to chat about this subject in meaningful ways around the kitchen table, I actually find that the anonymity of the internet can bring people out more fully. I think there's a real role for conversation on this subject "here."

Leslee- I saw that same PostSecret card and had the same thought. And I was amazed at how many of the other Post Secrets had to do with hidden desire. Sex, sexual expression and sexual joy are so much a part of being a fulfilled human being - and woman - that it's sad to know how many people are tormented by it because they think it's some horrible dark secret they need to be ashamed of. That said, our culture has enough rules and restrictions on the subject that if you're not at least mindful of how and where you express yourself, not only do you break social rules, but you can really hurt some people without meaning to. It's a tricky subject and the PS notes make that tenderly and painfully clear.

Caren How cool that you and your ex can still help each other out. And yes, the phone can be a wonderful tool that way. People get so worked up about sexting, but I don't see the harm as long as there aren't other problems (underage, stalking, and relationship troubles etc.)

All Which leads me to my final point (and, geeze, i wasnt' going to write anything but "good post!"). My final point is that I am always stunned that so much of what makes people happy can look "against the rules" from the outside because of some assumption like "women who masturbate in private must not be getting enough sex from their husbands." While this is certainly sometimes true, it's also just as often not. The fact is that masturbation and sex with another human are different experiences and both have their pleasures but indulging in both makes for a happier woman (and presumably man).

Or, "if people have sex outside the marriage something must be wrong." Well, often this true because people in unhappy marriages can fall into sexual relationships that end up disrupting the marriage for them (so they don't have to step up to the responsibility for being unhappy and talking to their partner about it directly). BUT, I know a couple who stays together because they're happy in their marriage, but one of them happens to be bi and is allowed to indulge in some extramarital activity so as not to feel personally squelched or given a "suppress half yourself so you can stay with me" ultimatum. Not only is this courageous of the partner, but I see this as the ultimate act of love and it works for them.

My basic rant on this subject is that sex is really nobody's business and it's everybody's business. If we spent half the energy allowing ourselves to enjoy our bodies as too many of us do judging how others do, we would all be a whole heck of a lot happier.


Love, Light and Sexually Verbose ~Dana

Leslee Horner's picture

I was reading a postsecret

I was reading a postsecret book the other day and came across a secret that said something like "My New Year's Resolution is to stop masturbating." and I thought "WHY?!?"

Nice post. I especially like the idea that sex is spiritual. I have definitely been trying to approach it that way over the past year. And I can say with that approach it has never been better!

Lissa Rankin's picture

Right on girlfriend!

Right on girlfriend!

Beth Wilson's picture

Lissa, already have done that

Lissa, already have done that and i'll admit.right now, its in the hands of the Universe because what i Want, who I want.. is in another state...not sure if he is "The One" but the connection is strong, emotionally, physically and spiritually. We have been put together for reasons we're figuring out.. we know its to help each other find our true selves..and we've admitted it would be nice to be together long term...whether married.. i don't think i make a good married woman. haven't met a man who can handle my energy and mediumship and intuitiveness and other abilities yet..he's handled me from long distance so far....but in person....when its right we will meet up. This is a major patience tester for me! lol.

Lissa Rankin's picture

Amen, sister! If you need to

Amen, sister! If you need to go toy shopping, check out these sites owned by Pinkies: http://www.blissconnection.com/ from Pink Goddess Christel and http://www.edenfantasys.com/ from Pink God Drew

As for boy toys, Beth- start visualizing. What is he like? What kind of spirit does he have? Be very specific and let it go into the hands of the Universe. It's amazingly powerful how setting an intention can make our dreams come true....

Beth Wilson's picture

I've been told i'm so "out

I've been told i'm so "out there" with my sexuality due to my personality and how i act.. i'm very comfortable with knowing what i want, and now thanks to a friend who helped me get rid of those "good girls don't do that" voices.. i enjoy them when i have the time lol. However, having a partner who participates would be nice..Can i have a boy toy please?? ohhhh and i do need to go "toy" shopping!! As a married woman with a partner who isn't interested..yes believe it or not.. i need this release..otherwise now i get bitchy real fast. I have a friend who says Damn woman go "play" lol. If sexuality is part of our essence then honeys, my essence is out there and i don't care what others say...i'm confident, i'm hot, i'm funny and not afraid of men at all..lol. I need a night out with the girls soon!

Lissa Rankin's picture

OOH- I love this Kelly!

OOH- I love this Kelly! Fabulous- and oh so true.

I love Mama Gena- interviewed her here: http://www.owningpink.com/2009/12/17/owning-pleasure-my-interview-with-mama-gena/

And I just finished reading her book Mama Gena's School of the Womanly Arts. Great read, Pinkies!

Thanks for sharing this fabulous quote Kelly. xoxo Lissa

Kelly's picture

This is an excerpt from an

This is an excerpt from an article out of SHAPE magazine that was written by Amy Bloom about 14 years ago.....

"And then there's appetite: The thing women are not supposed to have (except in music videos, and then it's so clearly on display for the benefit of the viewer that I don't get any idea what Madonna or Christina Aguilera or Eve really wants for herself). You can fake blonde. You can fake tan. You can even fake sexy - for a while. What you can't fake is the real and unmistakable scent and feel of someone who actually likes....sex. You can't fake that Bessie Smith growl, the easy warmth of someone who wants a little sugar in her bowl and who is prepared, under the right circumstance, to have and give a very good time. Who would you rather have dinner with: the flour-fearing vegan or the happy omnivore who looks on dessert as a special occasion, not a torment? So it is with sex. Shame, guilt, and aversion are not attractive to most people. Confidence and an adult appreciation of pleasure - and of the amazing human machine, which despite imperfections and wear and tear, can do such a glorious job of delivering it - is appealing. People who know that and show that they do are simply irresistible."

Made me think....led me to Mama Gena....now I have orgasms all the time!

Lissa Rankin's picture

I know, Sheila! I had the

I know, Sheila! I had the most fascinating conversation with Beverly Whipple about all of this. This woman is amazing. She has devoted her life to scientifically proving the sexual anecdotes women tell her (like how the Gspot turns them on and how they ejaculate from time to time...) Many of these health benefits are things Beverly researched herself... Fascinating. Who knew?

Sheila McCann's picture

Sounds good ;D Amazing to see

Sounds good ;D Amazing to see how many health benefits you get.

Lissa Rankin's picture

Thanks for speaking up Caren!

Thanks for speaking up Caren! You Pinkies are so funny. I know from personal experience that when you gather people together in a safe, sacred space and invite them to talk about sex, you can't shut them up once they start opening up. But it's so hard to get you all to discuss it here. I guess the internet is just harder! But it can be very healing to take this subject out of the closet and shine a Pink light on it. It's just part of OWNING all of who we are.

Caren's picture

Alright Lissa, I won't be

Alright Lissa, I won't be shy. I love sex. By myself, or alone. My sister used to be a Pleasre Party rep, so I have what I like to call an "arsenal" of toys. I have used them alone and with partners. Currently no partner, but still satisfied just the same. And just an FYI, Pinkies there is always the phone if your partner is away. My ex and I still engage in that every now and then. He lives in another state.

Feelin' Satisfied, Caren

Beth Wilson's picture

Lissa..OMG doesn't describe

Lissa..OMG doesn't describe what it feels like lol even when one is alone and "playing" omg! had issues with shipping and thier 2 week cancellation policy on auto shipping and when i called to talk to someone about it, they let me keep first shipment for free..because it took 3 almost 4 weeks to arrive for free samples.. i'll order as needed lol.

Lissa Rankin's picture

Oh, good! You liked the

Oh, good! You liked the Zestra, Beth? (For the rest of you Pinkies, Zestra is a botanical oil meant to jazz up your desire. Try it!)

Beth Wilson's picture

Not shy here just no one here

Not shy here just no one here to be active with because of his issues soooo yes i'm alone in it but i have to be honest i tried the Zestra and OMG!!!!!!!!!!

Lissa Rankin's picture

You go girl! Thanks for

You go girl! Thanks for sharing your thoughts Beth. You Pinkies get SO shy when we talk about sex. Let's chat, dear ones!

Beth Wilson's picture

As i've said lately since

As i've said lately since discovering the big O finally.. there better be an OA helpline lol.. i'm willing to try..

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