spring fever“In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love” – Alfred Lord Tennyson

With this year going down as the winter that wouldn’t end, it makes it that much more satisfying to feel the gentle caress of the spring breeze on the back of your bare shoulders for those precious few moments when the sun peeks out from behind the clouds. We’re almost a month past the Vernal Equinox, the official beginning of the season, but in typical Canadian style, there’s still the odd patch of grimy snow grazing the occasional front lawn. Still, we’re shedding layer after layer as the days grow longer, and soon we’ll be hitting the terraces en masse, spreading pheromones that have been cooped up all winter long.

Needless to say spring makes people horny. Known colloquially as spring fever, the increase of vitamin D has many uplifting powers including energy levels and overall vitality. Additionally, the fluctuation in daylight hours between winter and spring triggers a reaction in the retina that signals the brain to produce less melatonin, which in turn can lead to elevated mood levels.

The correlation between spring and sex is pretty simple: getting out of the house more often means meeting more people, which in turn leads to more chances for spring romance. However, there are also biological and chemical factors at play for this increase in libido. As mammals, we’ve developed seasonal breeding patterns that promote long-term survival, which helps to explain the increase in birth rates in the springtime.

“From a biological perspective, most types of animals, and maybe even plants, have a seasonal variation in behavior and physiology; there are seasonal cycles in human rates of conception,” noted Thomas Wehr of the National Institute of Mental Health.

For example, a late-spring increase in the luteinizing hormone that is known to trigger biological changes like increased ovulation or testosterone production leading to an increase in spring births. Logically, if you’re going to be carrying and nurturing a baby for nine months, it makes sense for the latter ones to occur during winter when you spend most of your time hunkering down and hibernating anyways. tumblr_lcqd1ovk2n1qfnk3mo1_500

So what are some of the best ways to harness this added energy and channel it into something positive? Try working off some of that winter weight by starting a new exercise program. Incorporate outdoor activities like cycling or jogging to bask in the warming glow of the sun.

And for those of your ladies out there who might need a little extra motivation to get back to the gym, researchers from the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University have found that approximately 40% of the women they surveyed had experience exercise-induced pleasure, sometimes resulting in orgasm even when the women weren’t having any sexual thoughts at the time. Of the women who experienced orgasms during their workouts, a little less than half were engaging in abdominal exercises at the time, while almost 20% were biking or spinning, and nearly 10% were climbing poles or ropes.

So whether you’re full of spring vigor or just looking to put an extra spring in your step, the time for change is now. Spring means renewal of all kinds, and making it a renewal of love for yourself is the fastest way to attract love back to you. Now if only Mother Nature would hurry up and share some of that sweet sunshine love with us!

I bet if you were to ask a selection of happy couples how often they have sex, the most common answer would be somewhere along the lines of “as often as we want to.” Relationships tend to have a higher success rate if both partners have a similar sex drive, since a disparity in libido means that one party is always compromising. But what exactly is the “right” amount of sex for couples to be having in the first place, if there even is such thing as the Goldilocks standard for sexual frequency?

According to a very interesting take on the subject from Jezebel, couples who attend therapy to address their issues with incompatible sex drives are most often told that twice a week is a good benchmark to aim for. The author questions this seemingly arbitrary number and discovers that while there is no medical basis for this recommendation, it does seem to stack up with the average reported by happy couples.

For these couples, sex and happiness enjoy a synergistic link. Having more sex makes them happier, and being happy makes sex more likely as well.

But for couples where one partner craves sex more than the other, quantifying the amount with a rigid number can be very damaging for a couple looking to foster intimacy through genuine desire as opposed to the dreaded fulfillment of “duty.” Imposing this “twice a week” rule can also cause issues for couples that are happy with the amount of sex they’re having, especially if it’s less than this so-called proscribed amount. Seems like we’re always antsy for statistics about what’s normal so that we can have something to compare ourselves to, positively or negatively.

The truth is we should all probably be having more sex, considering its myriad of health and wellness benefits. First of all, it acts as a great form of stress relief while burning calories, approximately 85-100 per 25 minute session. Exchanging bodily fluids means exchanging all the germs that go along with them, and as it turns out, that can be a good thing for your immune system.

According to a study at Wilkes University, having sex once a week raises the level of immunoglobulin A in your saliva by 30%, an antibody that is part of the body’s first line of defense against germs and viruses. Therefore, having a healthy, frequently sex life makes you less prone to catching colds.

Sex leads to feelings of relaxation and physical intimacy, both of which are known to provide significant immunological benefits as well. Finally, as if that weren’t enough, sex has also been shown to boost your brain power and intelligence. Researchers have found that middle-aged rats experienced an increase in neuron generation after engaging in sexual activity, which is thought to restore cognitive function and boost brain power.

After this sexual activity was stopped, the benefits to the brain power were lost, giving more agency to the old expression, “if you don’t use it, you lose it.”