How to lose weight by having sex

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With more than half of the United States population on a diet, weight loss is clearly on our minds. But should you include sex in your weight management plan? We investigate.

A healthy weight is part and parcel of a healthy lifestyle. Keeping our pounds in check is good for our ticker, our bones, and our lungs. It might even keep cancer at bay, as we found out this week.

But a staggering 73.7 percent of men and 66.9 percent of women in the U.S. are overweight or obese. Perhaps it comes as no surprise, then, that 66 percent of us are currently on a diet.

Whether opting for a tried-and-tested Mediterranean diet or a relative newcomer, like intermittent fasting, as a nation we understand that our diet, our weight, and our health are intricately linked.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), “physical activity is an important part of maintaining healthy weight, losing weight, and keeping extra weight off once it has been lost.”

The HSS recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week, but less than 25 percent of adults manage to hit this target.

Where does sex fit into this?

Well, sex is good for our health, it burns calories, and it makes us happy. You are, of course, unlikely to burn as many calories between the sheets as during a heavy gym session, but exercise alone may not be the panacea for weight loss we give it credit for, according to a recent study.

So, get ready to look at the obvious and some of the more surprising reasons why sex should be firmly integrated into our plan to reach and maintain a healthy weight, regardless of whether you are a gym buff or not.

Sex is exercise

In 2013, Prof. Antony D. Karelis — along with colleagues from the Université du Québec à Montréal in Canada — studied exactly how many calories we burn when we get our groove on.

Prof. Karelis explains in his article in the journal PLOS ONE that only a handful of studies have attempted to shine the spotlight on the physiological effects during partnered sex with human subjects. All previous studies showed an increase in heart rate.

For his study, Prof. Karelis worked with 21 heterosexual couples, aged between 18 and 35.

The couples were asked to have sex once per week for a period of 4 weeks, while wearing an activity tracker that allowed the research team to calculate how much energy they spent each time.

A sexual encounter included foreplay, intercourse, and at least one orgasm by either partner, then “ended at the couple’s discretion,” as the authors explain.

Here is what the team found.

Men burned on average 101 calories and women 69 calories when they had sex. The average intensity was higher than walking but lower than jogging, Prof. Karelis explains, putting it firmly in the category of moderate-intensity exercise.

This means that each time we have sex, it counts toward our 150 minutes of weekly exercise recommended by the HSS.

If that’s not appealing enough, the data revealed more.

‘More pleasant’ than a gym workout

The range of calories burned during sex varied considerably. At the lower end, men burned 13 calories and women 11.6, while at the top of the range, men shifted 306 calories and women 164.

Let’s look at these numbers into the context of how long each sexual encounter lasted. While the average duration of foreplay, intercourse, and orgasm was 24.7 minutes, the actual time the couples spent having sex ranged from 12.5 to 36.9 minutes.

Whether the top calorie-burners had more vigorous sex or just took their sweet time isn’t clear from the data, but we can draw some conclusions. If we want to increase our calorie loss during sex, we can either get more actively involved, keep at it for longer, or a combination of both.

Prof. Karelis also compared sex with regular gym exercise. He found that men burned between 149 and 390 calories during a 30-minute, moderate-intensity session on the treadmill, while women burned between 120 and 381.

When asked to compare the two activites, all of the men and 95 percent of the women in the study said that sex was more pleasant than pounding the treadmill.

So, we are not only making considerable headway toward reaching our 150-minute weekly exercise goal when we have sex, we also stand to gain more pleasure than from a gym visit.

Exercise may not equal weight loss

While some may argue that a study on healthy, young individuals may not be representative of the general population, the participants included a wide spread of weight categories.

Body mass index (BMI) for men varied between 19.5 and 31, putting at least some of the men in the overweight and obese category. For women, the range was from 16.9 to 26.6, meaning some of the women were underweight and some were overweight.

The study doesn’t reveal anything about the participants’ weight during the 4 weeks they took part. But if you’re looking to shift some pounds, exercise alone may not be the answer to weight loss we once thought it was, as we reported last week.

Researchers from the University of Bangor in the United Kingdom found no discernible weight loss in women who had taken part in three sessions of circuit exercise training per week for either 4 or 8 weeks, despite burning around 3,400 calories in total during this time period.

On the contrary, the team identified changes in hormones that control appetite in overweight and obese study participants after exercise.

“[…] Someone undertaking more physical activity may experience increased appetite as a result,” senior study author Hans-Peter Kubis, Ph.D., explains.

Sex might fill a useful gap here because hormones released during our amorous experiences cause us to eat less.

Sex curbs food intake

The “love hormone” oxytocin is produced in the hypothalamus in our brain as well as in our gastrointestinal tract, and it has been accredited with key functions in sex, empathy, relationship-building, childbirth, and breast-feeding.

Oxytocin levels shoot up when we have sex – specifically, when we experience orgasm. But that’s not all the love hormone can do.

Dr. Elizabeth A. Lawson — from the Neuroendocrine Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston — explains in an article in the December edition of Nature Reviews Endocrinology that “experiments in rodents, nonhuman primates and humans consistently show that oxytocin reduces caloric consumption.”

She adds that men ate fewer calories, particularly in the form of fat, after receiving 24 international units (IU) of oxytocin in a nasal spray in one study.

“The authors found that oxytocin reduced consumption of a postprandial snack, particularly chocolate cookies,” Dr. Lawson explains.

It’s important to note that oxytocin doesn’t stick around in our bodies for very long. Within 2–8 minutes of being released, half of hormone will be gone.

The after-effect of a single sexual encounter on our food intake will therefore only ever be transient. Still, every little helps, and a temporary curb on eating after sex is sure to contribute to overall weight loss.

Sex and weight management

Now that we’ve looked at the benefit of sex when it comes to burning calories and temporarily putting a halt on eating, how likely is it that we are going to lose weight by having sex?

That probably depends on how easy it is to incorporate sex into your personal schedule. Finding time to be romantic sounds easy, but the stark reality of busy lives make it less tenable for some.

However, it is worth reminding ourselves that sex has a plethora of health benefits, and, unlike a gym visit, you don’t have to stray far from your bedroom — or other location of personal preference — to make it happen.

So, if you are looking to shed a few pounds in the lead up to the peak holiday season, why not make the time to spend with your partner, enjoy sharing some intimate moments, and bask in the full effect that all that oxytocin and calorie loss will hopefully have on your scales.

You might find that your 2018 diet plan will easily accommodate sex as an indispensable component.


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“The Greatest Health of Your Life”℠

Boston Testosterone Partners
National Testosterone Restoration for Men
Wellness & Preventative Medicine


Men, this specialty massage may improve your health

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Although all men have a prostate—unless it’s been removed—many of them are unaware of its role. First off, the prostate is located between a man’s rectum and bladder. Its main function is to produce fluid that is expelled during ejaculation.

If you’re a male over the age of 50, your doctor has either encouraged you to undergo a prostate exam or maybe you’ve already experienced one. This is because the prostate is a common area for men to develop cancer. The risk of prostate cancer increases with age, which is why going for annual exams can help detect problems early on.

Many doctors are now recommending prostate massages because they have been found to help relieve symptoms of various health problems. Although there aren’t too many studies regarding prostate massages, the preliminary findings look promising, and many theories do suggest there are some benefits. Below you will uncover some of these benefits.

Benefits of prostate massages

Erectile dysfunction: Dr.  Joshua R. Gonzalez explained, “The theory behind the potential benefit involves an improvement in blood flow resulting from vigorous milking or massaging of the prostate. Because erections are largely the result of good blood flow, any increase could potentially lead to better boners.”

Urine flow: A swollen prostate can prevent urine from flowing steadily. It’s suggested that a prostate massage can help relieve prostate inflammation, improving urine flow.

Painful ejaculation: If it hurts to ejaculate, it could be a sign of infection or inflammation. A prostate massage can help ease inflammation, which reduces pain while ejaculating. Another cause of painful ejaculation is tight pelvic floor muscles, which a prostate massage can loosen up. Dr. Gonzalez added, “Manual manipulation of those muscles during prostate massage can further alleviate ejaculatory pain. This is definitely something you would want a specialist to work on with you. There are even physical therapists that specialize in treating your pelvic floor muscles.”

Prostatitis: Prostatitis is a condition that causes inflammation of the prostate as a result of a bacterial infection. Symptoms of prostatitis include burning while urinating, painful ejaculation, weak urine stream, and discomfort in the perineum, which is behind the scrotum. Although the studies are limited on how prostate massages can improve prostatitis, some doctors suggest that at least five percent of their patients experience improvements in symptoms as a result.

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Boston Testosterone Partners
National Testosterone Restoration for Men
Wellness & Preventative Medicine

Seasonal Affective Disorder: What You Should Know

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The bright lights of the holiday season aren’t just for decoration; they can also help regulate your mood.

In late fall and winter, shorter daylight hours leave many people with little to no sun exposure, signaling the brain to create too much of the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin.

This overproduction of melatonin leads to seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a mood disorder that affects an estimated 10 to 20 percent of the population.

SAD Differs from Depression

Major depression is a disease in which your brain’s pleasure responses are broken. You may have a loss of appetite, fatigue, trouble sleeping and feelings of hopelessness. Depressed people often have a harder time managing their symptoms in the winter. But when depressive symptoms are only affecting you in the winter, it’s considered seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

SAD Affects Men and Women Equally

Historically, researchers have considered women to be more likely to experience seasonal depression. But psychiatrists are increasingly finding that’s not the case. “The classic crying and melancholic depression is more the norm of expression in women. But men express things differently, showing depression with more irritability, anger or frustration,” said Dr. Andrew Angelino, director of psychiatry at Howard County General Hospital.

Ways to Reverse SAD

If you can’t get outside during daylight hours, there are ways to help reverse your body’s creation of too much melatonin.

“If you find that you’re prone to getting the blahs in the winter months or you know you have depression and are taking your medicine, you can also get a light box,” says Dr. Angelino.

Absorbing natural, full-spectrum light regulates hormones in the brain, and helps keep your moods stabilize. In addition to obtaining a light box, Dr. Angelino recommends these five tips to help chase away the seasonal blues:

  1. Keep your holiday expectations realistic. Don’t let your hopes for perfection spoil your holiday spirit. Learn how to embrace things as good enough, like food, company and gifts.
  2. Practice wellness. A daily routine of at least 7 hours of sleep, a 30-minute exercise routine and limiting your alcohol intake can go a long way in fighting the blues.
  3. Stand in the sun. Take a break from your desk. At least 15-30 minutes of sunlight, especially in the early morning, helps to regulate your internal clock.
  4. Cultivate some winter hobbies. The chilly weather may freeze your weekend gardening plans but it may be the best time to catch up on your reading list or tackle a new project in the house. Adjust your leisure activities to fit the seasons.
  5. See a doctor if natural interventions are not successful. If your symptoms are regularly interfering with your everyday life, make an appointment with your doctor.

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“The Greatest Health of Your Life”℠

Boston Testosterone Partners
National Testosterone Restoration for Men
Wellness & Preventative Medicine

Testosterone Therapy Beneficial to Men with Heart Disease

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New study finds that testosterone supplementation enables a reduction in the risks of major cardiovascular events, such as strokes, heart attacks, and death.

In a recent study, a research team from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute studied 755 male patients, ranging from 58-78 years, who all had severe coronary artery disease, the most common type of heart disease. They were separated into three different groups, receiving varied doses of testosterone, administered intravenously or by gel. At the end of the first year, 64 patients who weren’t taking any testosterone supplements had serious adverse cardiovascular events, whereas only 12 who were taking medium doses of testosterone and 9 who were taking high doses did. At the end of 3 years, 125 patients who had not received testosterone therapy suffered severe cardiovascular events, whereas only 38 medium-dose and 22 high-patients did. Patients who were given testosterone as part of their follow-up treatment did much better than patients who had not been given testosterone supplementation. The non-testosterone-therapy patients were 80 percent more likely to suffer an adverse event. “Although this study indicates that hypo-androgenic men with coronary artery disease might actually be protected by testosterone replacement, this is an observational study that doesn’t provide enough evidence to justify changing treatment recommendations,” said Dr. Muhlestein, co-director of cardiovascular research at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute. “It does, however, substantiate the need for a randomized clinical trial that can confirm or refute the results of this study.” This new study confirms the findings of a previous study from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute, which found that testosterone therapy did not increase the risk of experiencing a heart attack or stroke for men with low testosterone levels and no prior history of heart disease.

The Intermountain Medical Center research team will presented their study at the American College of Cardiology’s 65th Annual Scientific Session on Sunday, April 3 at 12:15 p.m., CDT.

The Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute is made up of clinical and research professionals who aim to advance cardiovascular treatment. Intermountain Medical Center is the flagship facility for the Intermountain Healthcare system, which is based in Salt Lake City.

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“The Greatest Health of Your Life”℠

Boston Testosterone Partners
National Testosterone Restoration for Men
Wellness & Preventative Medicine