We all want to be as healthy as possible, so the more good-for-us habits we can develop – and stick to – the better. But in between all that conscientious eating and exercise, there’s another under-rated habit you should also be working on. Drum roll please –and that healthy habit is sex! Yes, believe it or not, sex is well, wonderful and pleasurable, it’s also an amazingly effective wellness technique that we all can, and should, take advantage of.

Often overlooked or forgotten, especially as we get older, the simple and pleasurable act of sex comes with an ever-expanding menu of health benefits. Sure, bumping sex to top of mind can seem challenging, particularly when you’re consumed with a host of seemingly more pressing tasks. My advice? It’s time to make time with someone special. Here are a few thoughts on what this very healthy habit can do for you:

Sex is a stress tamer.

Feeling angry, anxious, worried, or overwhelmed? Channel that restless mental energy into something more positive: boudoir play. Chances are high you’ll feel better and more relaxed afterwards.

Sex enhances immunity.

Nookie on the regular helps keep your immune system in tip-top shape. Notice that those who get some are rarely sniffling and sneezing.

Sex is a pleasurable way to burn off a few calories.

An average romp is comparable to a modest workout on a treadmill—and it’s a lot more fun.

Sex supports good sleep.

A good session between the sheets will trigger feelings of relaxation as well as sleep-inducing endorphins to help carry you off to dreamland.

Sex staves off problems with incontinence.

Sex tones the pelvic muscles that support your uterus, bladder, and bowels, leading to better urinary control.

Sex pumps up your anti-aging hormones.

Trade those vials of Botox for some booty. An active sex life promotes the release of hormones like testosterone and estrogen, which slows the aging process and keeps the body looking young and vital.

Sex takes the edge off pain.

You might change, “Not tonight, honey, I have a headache,” to “Yes tonight, honey, I have a headache.” The hormone oxytocin is secreted during sexual arousal and orgasm, which in turn causes the release of endorphins that act as a powerful analgesic and eases pain.

Sex is an excellent confidence booster.

When you show up in the bedroom, it’s easier to show up for the rest of your life. Pleasing your partner while also having your own desires fulfilled is a surefire way to boost your self-esteem. Carry that confidence along with you and walk a little taller throughout the day and beyond.

Sex enriches you.

Though it might not actually boost your bank account, sex enriches in other ways. Sex makes you happier than having money, according to a recent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research. Their results showed that marriages which included regular sex yielded the same levels of happiness as earning an extra $100,000 annually.

Sex boosts your bonds.

Sex is an excellent way to re-connect – literally and figuratively – with your partner. Regular bouts of sex encourages feelings of intimacy and connection. All the while reducing stress and anxiety levels –great for your overall health too.

Sex is worth learning more about!

Advice on making sex a better experience isn’t hard to find these days, but some sites are better than others. One of the good ones is OMGYes.com, a refreshingly frank and informative website devoted to the “science of pleasure.” It empowers women—and their partners— with pragmatic knowledge about achieving and enhancing orgasm.

How to handle the occasional sex slump?

Here are three ways to improve the state of affairs (as it were):

Think shut-eye. If you, like, many modern humans, feel like your sex drive is idling, or possibly in park, the first thing to look at is sleep deprivation. Lack of sleep is the biggest passion-killer out there. Even if your head is in the game, the rest of you might not be. When your body is tired, it barely has enough energy to perform basic survival tasks, pushing nonessential extras like sex way into the back seat. Conversely, when you’re well-rested and energized, your desire and orgasmic potential typically surge – just in case you needed another reason to work on improving your sleep habits.

Shake your groove thing. The second thing that might be driving a sex slump is a lack of movement, which over time tends to beget more lethargy, further tamping down your body’s sensitivity to sexual stimuli. To help combat the all-over-blahs, find a movement practice that moves you – one that you can really connect with and sustain – and notice how it wakes up a new sensitivity to your body and its healthful urges.

Re-think your to-do list. A third area to look at is a tendency to prioritize productivity over intimacy and sensuality. Only you can evaluate that, but I encourage you to push past the usual to-do list and make time for sex, either with a partner or solo. Do it regularly, and you’ll find that your relationship and/or sense of self-love becomes stronger, your skin brighter, and your disposition sunnier. You’ll also be happier and healthier – which is, after all, the goal.

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