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Holiday Sex
Protect yourself from holiday illness with holiday sex!

Stay healthy this holiday season by finding time to have sex.

Tensions run high over the holidays: the in-laws, the financial stress, the constant baking, distant relatives visiting or the kids being home from school. Itís enough to make people put their sex lives on hold until the New Year.

Medically, however, this can be a huge problem. Sex can be one of the most natural and effective ways to deal with stress, which can be a leading contributor to holiday illness. Only in America could we find a way to make time off even more difficult than time spent working.

Sex is a powerful way to release endorphins and relax muscles that canít be reached otherwise, and it provides the following health benefits that can all help to decrease the likelihood of being floored by a holiday bug. So before you brush aside the thought of sex, here are a few things to think about:

1. Sex is exercise. And, you know how good exercise is for you. It burns calories, strengthens the cardiovascular system, improves endurance, releases endorphins, and builds muscles. Having vigorous sex burns a lot of calories! You will increase your heart rate more than you could ever do at a gym, and you wonít have to worry about wiping the machine down for the next person.

2. Stop headaches. Find yourself having more headaches and body aches during the holidays? Maybe thatís because you arenít releasing the right hormones, such as DHEA and oxytocin. In addition to protecting the prostate gland, some studies show that sexual activity reduces joint pain, lowers the amount of headaches a person has and reduces pain severity. Lay off the pills and eggnog, and switch the Bing Crosby to Barry White. Heís got a holiday album, too. Itís called "Staying Power."

3. Keep your body tuned up. Regular sex strengthens the vaginal muscles, and helps prevent infection, while also keeping the vagina flexible and healthy. A mechanic will tell you that during the snowy season, you have to run your car every day even when you arenít using it in order to keep the valves lubricated. You see where this is going.

Maybe you are too busy for the kind of foreplay to which you have become accustomed. Thatís no problem. After all, the holidays are only temporary. If you need help, now might be the time to explore what your local sex shop has to offer in the way of gifts for the both of you: sex toys, candles, bubble bath, lingerie, fun lubricants, mousse or moisturizers, new enhancement potions, and movies that you shouldnít watch with the kids.

Every stocking has a bottom that no one can see, and itís always nice to find something special down there that will help you get through the holidays smiling.

Dr. Machelle Seibel is a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Massachusetts, and former Editor in Chief of Sexuality, Reproduction and Menopause, a journal of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

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