Here are some fascinating facts about sex you probably didn’t know

Everyone has a strong opinion about sex: whether its’s good or bad, how much we “should”  or “should not” be having, or even how to do it — we all have ideas about what sex should look like for us. But sex isn’t just fun — it can also have some cool health benefits as well.

Here are some facts about sex that you probably didn’t know before — and they will definitely come in handy the next time you’re looking to get it on!

1Scent plays a huge role in attraction

The fives senses all have a role to play in the ways that we engage with sex. But smell is especially important. In heterosexual couples, women have been found to actually be able to smell out their partners’ major histocompatibility complex, or MHC (those are genes that are able to determine how the body’s immune system works, and plays a huge role in susceptibility to disease and illness).

In a study conducted by Claus Wedekind at the University of Bern in Switzerland, this was tested by having women smell t-shirts with the scents of anonymous men over a two-day period, and pick the one they liked best. By the end of the study, it was found that women consistently chose the odors of men with dissimilar MHC — which is important. Biologically, when both parents are dissimilar, this makes it more likely for a heterosexual couple to conceive and bring a child.

Leave it to science to explain why smelling your significant other’s clothing with their scent on it is so enjoyable.

2Masturbation is natural…and starts earlier than you think.

Yep, you read that right. Masturbation is totally normal and natural to engage in — and it also starts earlier than you probably knew. Backed by studies conducted by examining sonographic images and a letter published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, it has been suggested that masturbation is something that fetuses as early as 23 weeks have engaged in. In fact, self-exploration is a common act with tons of health benefits attached.

3The clitoris is its own expansive system

The medical community hasn’t been too great when it comes to inclusivity for people with vaginas; over the years, the amount of research dedicated to better understanding the anatomy structure and responses of people with vaginas has been few in number compared to available information for people with penises. But knowledge has grown, and some of the most inclusive research studies have begun exploring the clitoris.

Most people think that the clitoris is only the visible clitoral hood and Glans, at the apex of most vaginas. However, the clitoris actually refers to an entire, larger sexual organ that is mostly internal. In fact, scientists didn’t even study the stimulated clitoris in its entirety until 2009!

Understanding the clitoris and the entire vaginal structure can help you be more knowledgeable about your vaginal health, but also help you pinpoint spots that are especially pleasurable and likely to help with orgasm during a sexual experience. Knowledge is power!

4Kegels do wonders for improving your orgasms and more

It’s pretty common knowledge that Kegels can improve the strength of your genitals and muscle control. But did you know that they’re also great for improving your orgasms? No matter what your gender expression or gender identity, Kegels improve the entire pelvic floor — the collection of systems that work to control the muscular base of the abdomen and lower body. One study found that it even helps with issues such as premature ejaculation.

The trick is to ensure that you are doing Kegels correctly. The exercise that most people are familiar with can actually damage or harm the pelvic floor over time. Instead, be sure to research and get insight from a pelvic floor specialist on the best way to perform Kegels safely. That way you can get all of the benefits.

5Regular sex can improve your health…literally

As we’ve mentioned before, regular sex (whether with a partner or solo) can greatly improve the state of your health. But exactly what does it benefit? Research has found that it can lower blood pressure and stress, lessen the severity of migraine headaches, and strengthen your immune system over time. And that’s just the beginning. Sex can also improve your mental clarity, help you relax before bed, and clear up your skin.

Though these facts may be new to you, they’re important to understand how sex can work to improve our lives. Remember, sex isn’t just pleasurable — it’s good for your body as well.

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