Research and studies have shown that sex is not only good for your mental health, but your physical well being too. Taking a few moments out of your day to share that special moment with your sweetie might be just what the doctor ordered.

1. Orgasms Can Relieve Pain

During an orgasm, the body releases a hormone known as oxytocin. Among other things, oxytocin is responsible for other sexual functions and can also be a powerful pain killer. According to a study by Beverly Whipple, professor emeritus at Rutgers University, when women had an orgasm "the pain tolerance threshold and pain detection threshold increased significantly by 74.6 percent and 106.7 percent respectively."

2. Semen May Have Antidepressant Properties

Not only is human sperm full of protein and can be a powerful antioxidant, but women who have unprotected sex might be happier. A study conducted a few years ago by researchers at the Department of Psychology at the State University of New York at Albany found that female students who were having sex with condoms showed more symptoms of depression than those who had sex without.

"These data are consistent with the possibility that semen may antagonize depressive symptoms and evidence which shows that the vagina absorbs a number of components of semen that can be detected in the bloodstream within a few hours of administration," said researchers.

Of course, this doesn't mean that you unprotected sex is always the way to go — using a condom significantly lowers your risk for sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea, HIV, chlamydia, and more. Always use protection with casual or new partners.

In addition, the findings in the study are not necessarily relevant to all sexual relationships. Studies have also shown that multiple sexual partners, promiscuity and unprotected sex may also have a correlation to depression and lower self-esteem.

3. Sex Can Strengthen Your Cardiac Muscles

Researchers at the British Royal University found that when they had examined a group of men leading sexually active live they had a much lower risk of having either heart attacks or strokes. The hormones released during sex can physiologic benefits.

"They produce a healing effect on the whole body, improve digestion and expand blood vessels. Rhythmic motion during sex and delightful cramps improve the muscle tone, especially stomach muscles," said Dr. Alexander Poleyev, professor in the Institute of Psychoanalysis at the Moscow State University.

4. A Boost To Your Immune System

The Department of Psychology at Wilkes University conducted a survey on 112 college students; those with more frequent sexual encounters showed higher immunoglobulin A (IgA) levels when saliva testing was done. IgA is a protein that fights infections is plays a major role in human immune systems.

5. Fights Aging

Dr. David Weeks of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital claims that having sex three times a week can make you look four to seven years younger. In a previous study he noted that "pleasure derived from sex is a crucial factor in preserving youth. It makes us happy and produces chemicals telling us so," said Weeks.

Also, because of an increase in blood pressure to various parts of the body including the face, fresher skin cells are pushed up higher to the surface giving a more youthful looking appearance.

"Sex is the most intense kind of pleasure and that triggers certain chemicals. In women it produces a human growth hormone which helps the process," said Weeks.

6. Countering Prostate Cancer

In the U.S,, almost 30,000 men die from prostate cancer related causes every year. Research has found that frequent ejaculations may lead to a lower risk of prostate cancer later in life. The Journal of the American Medical Association published a study which found that men who had 21 or more orgasms a month were 30 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer than those who has less than 10 per month. The study was conducted by Michael Leitzman, a cancer researcher at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland.

7. Better Sleep

Laura Berman, the director of the Berman Women's Wellness Center of Beverly Hills, California found that the endorphins released during sex can actually promote a better night's sleep.

"We also found that sexual satisfaction not only is a stress reliever but impacts intimacy. Taking a vacation together, going on a date night a week, taking care of yourself, exercising," Berman said. "All of that will do great things for your stress levels, to alleviate depression, to enhance your relationship, which really enhances your quality of life and your sense of wellbeing, which will all contribute to your sleep."

8. Prevent Future Incontinence

During an orgasm the pubococcygeus muscle, or PC muscle, contracts during sex. This muscle also controls urine flow and aids during childbirth in women. As women age, this muscle gets weaker and can sometimes lead to urinary incontinence. Doing Kegel exercises will not only help in preventing bladder issues, it can also increase the pleasure from an orgasm.

9. It Can Make You Smarter

Dr. Jens Forster at University of Amsterdam and Jacobs University Bremen found that people who merely thought about sex had better critical thinking skills than those who didn't.

Forster and her team discovered accelerated brain cell growth in sexually active lab rats as compared to their virgin control counterparts. While the basis for the study is derived from the conclusions of lab rat testings, research has shown that in the past 10 years, findings conclude that there is a correlation between sexual activity which releases positive chemicals in the body and promotes healthy brain cell growth.

10. It's Good For Your Overall Happiness

A study conducted at UC Boulder found that people who had sex at least two to three times a month were 33 percent more likely to self-report higher happiness levels than those who reported having no sexual encounters.

Tim Wadsworth, an associate professor of sociology determined that "people reported steadily higher levels of happiness as they reported steadily higher sexual frequency. But he also found that even after controlling for their own sexual frequency, people who believed they were having less sex than their peers were unhappier than those who believed they were having as much or more than their peers."