Anytime and anywhere the word sex is mentioned, the kind of attention that greets it is usually unprecedented.
No doubt, sex is good for the body. Beyond the unequalled pleasure derivable from it, it has been found to have enormous health benefits. And according to a sex therapist, Dr. Ian Kerner, sexual attraction and sexual compatibility are the basis of many successful relationships.
Previous studies have shown that sex boosts immune system, ensures better sleep, boosts libido, improves women’s bladder control, lowers blood pressure and reduces the likelihood of prostate cancer in men. It was also found to be a good form of exercise, lower the risk of having heart attack, reduce stress and calm the mind or reduce anxiety.
Apart from the increasing rate of sex-related issues, a report released by a website that sells hotel room per hour, Dayuse.com, says it has recorded a rise in bookings for its rooms. The rooms are given up for up to 80 per cent lesser than the actual cost of the rooms.
The identified benefits among many others could compel willing persons to have sex as much as possible. However, beyond the advantages, some experts have revealed that too much sex is not good for the body.
It might sound weird that such a pleasurable act that has enormous health benefits could also have side effects, but that is the reality, according to some experts. They identified the side effects to include dehydration, lower back pain, bruises and soreness, injured nerves, strained muscles, increased body exhaustion, fracture and heart attack for those who have heart-related problems.
According to New Health Advisor, while sex is most pleasurable when the session has just begun (first round), there could be feelings of pains in the genitals when the sexual activity is sustained because the persistent rubbing in the course of the subsequent ‘rounds’ could make the exercise painful.
It added that while men are more likely to have slight pain on their organ, and in extreme cases, fracture of the penis due to sustained thrusting in the absence of sufficient erection, women tend to feel a bit sore in their private part due to the brushing of the vaginal walls by the penis during penetration. Thus, these could lead to pains in the genitals, strained muscles and injured nerves due to direct overstimulation of the same spot in the genital area.
Also, it was found that due to the fact that sex is a strenuous exercise, of which one round of sex has been equated to 30 minutes of jogging, having sex repeatedly without adequate hydration could lead to dehydration and exhaustion.
Meanwhile, the National Health Service in the United Kingdom has advised that drinking plenty of water after sex is a good way to avoid dehydration and that emptying the bladder after sex helps to prevent urinary tract infections as it clears bacteria from the urinary tract.
Being a physiological act, it was also found that too much sex could lead to lower back pain due to the heavy and consistent thrusting, which can also lead to prolonged ejaculation due to the depletion of the semen levels.
It was also gathered that while sex is a form of exercise, it can be very tiring, and having it continuously leads to exhaustion, more so that men are wont to fall asleep after ejaculation due to the release of some hormones into their system. “During sexual activity, the body releases norepinephrine, epinephrine and cortisol which increase the heart rate and trigger the release of glucose in the blood. All these activities are tiring, especially when done frequently. Thus, indulging in sex several times a day will drain all your energy and leave you feeling exhausted most of the time,” it added.
Of more importance is that too much sex can worsen the health situations of people with heart problems. In other words, even though sex is good for the heart as it keeps increasing blood flow, it can lead to complications for people who have heart problems.
According to a consultant endocrinologist, Dr. Michael Olamoyegun, people who have cardiovascular (heart) problem are often encouraged not to have frequent sex, saying it might not be good for their health and that the degree of the heart problem could be mild or severe.
He added, “The same thing for people who have heart attack or stroke, and the reason why it is not encouraged for them is that sex consumes energy. And one round of sex is equivalent to running for about some minutes. So, if someone whose heart is on a borderline begins to have sex regularly, it can affect the health.”
Given the above mentioned effects of too much sex, thus the question; how much sex is too much?
According to Olamoyegun, there is no exact definition of what quantity of sex is too much or adequate, saying it varies among individuals and age groups.
Impliedly, sex is deemed to be too much when people out of convenience or the need to satisfy a partner go for more ‘rounds.’ However, as long as they are doing it for fun, regardless of the quantity and quality, even if it is ten times a week, it does not qualify as too much.
A study by Kinsey Institute at Indiana University, United States, found that frequency of sex varies by age range, saying on the average, people that are aged between 18 and 29 have sex an average of 112 times per year, while people aged between 30 and 39 do it on average of 86 times per year.
Meanwhile, Kerner argued that once or twice a week makes for a healthy sex life. He however added that having sex on a daily basis does not imply too much sex, as long as both partners enjoy it, but that if partners have it frequently and one person enjoys it more than the other, in which case the other person sees sex as a chore or an obligation rather than something that should be enjoyed, it becomes too much for that person.
He added, “As funny and un-sexy as it sounds, it may even be smart to schedule sex so the lower libido partner doesn’t feel pressured, and the higher libido partner doesn’t feel rejected. That said, if you ever feel overwhelmed, either physically or emotionally, by the kind or amount of sex you are having, let your partner know you need a break. Sex can be dangerous if there is any sort of pressure or force to do something with which either party isn’t comfortable.”
Even though couples who are trying to conceive are often advised to have sex regularly, a 2005 study found that sperm count tends to increase if someone does not ejaculate for days while it decreases with frequent ejaculation, thus, such men are advised to have like two to three days interval before they have sex for the secretion of the sperm to take place and to help their chance of releasing sperm that can find its way to the eggs.
On the psychological effect of having too much sex, a consultant psychologist, Prof. Oni Fagboungbe, said like anything else, too much sex tends to have negative effect on the body.
He continued, “One thing that is psychological about it is that individuals have perceptual threshold; the level at which they perform optimally, and it varies from person to person. So, it becomes dangerous when you go beyond your physiological limit. It varies and no two human beings have equal physiological limit.”
He said it is in a bid to enhance their sexual performance and delay ejaculation or orgasm that people resort into drugs. “But when you use drugs, you discover that at a stage, you would not be able to perform unless you are assisted by a drug; whether a man or woman. And one thing is that people, men or women, enjoy sex when it is prolonged.”
He advised that people should not go beyond their threshold so as to avoid the effects of too much sex.