Good sex is its own reward and all the reason a man needs to engage in a little bedtime exercise. Yet if a guy ever needs an extra justification for indulging in a little solo or partner-based playtime, here’s one: Sex reduces stress signals in the brain and creates a more relaxed, stress-free individual. And, as most people know, stress is a contributing factor to many health conditions, such as high blood pressure. So it turns out that practicing proper penis care and taking care of one's package has great overall health benefits as well.

How does sex relieve stress?

Scientists are still working out the exact nuts and bolts of how and why sex can be a great stress reliever, but here are some of the likely reasons:

- It strengthens the brain. Some animal studies have found that frequent sex causes cells to grow in the hippocampus. That's important not because the hippocampus makes you smarter, but because it's the section of the brain that's in charge of regulating stress. Scientists surmise that when it's made stronger, it's able to do this job more effectively.

- It lowers blood pressure. Studies have also indicated that frequent intercourse does a pretty good job of maintaining blood pressure at levels lower than they otherwise would be. Stress is associated with higher blood pressure, so keeping it lower, or giving it a lower baseline from which to start, may help to make a person feel less stressed.

- It releases oxytocin. Oxytocin is a naturally-occurring hormone that has a sedating quality, making one more able to react calmly to stress triggers.

Work the stress out

Any kind of positive sexual activity can help with stress reduction, but here's a helpful tip: Different types of stress may respond best to different types of sexual activity.

Every person is different, of course, and will have his or her own stress triggers. The best way to determine what works for an individual is through experience. It helps to keep a record that briefly lists the level of stress one felt before and then after sex, and then details about what may have brought about the stress relief: position, type and amount of foreplay, exuberance of the activity, newness (i.e. trying new things or sticking to tried-and-true methods), etc. Many people find that patterns show up.

As said above, every person is different; however, the following are tips that often apply to people in terms of sex and stress relief:

- Sexual activities that require a great deal of focus and attention are often best when the stress is caused by too many different things to do. When a difficult position or new element causes a person to focus, one is more likely to forget (at least temporarily) about the multitude of stressors one has been experiencing.

- Stress due to lack of control may respond best to sex in which a person is in the "take charge" position.

- Stress caused by fears about one's relationship often responds best to sexual activity that is gentle and involves a lot of close contact.

Another sex tip for men: A guy will feel less stressed if his tool is in good health. Men should regularly use a top-flight penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil) for this reason. Why stress over that rank penis odor that won't go away when a crème with vitamin A's anti-bacterial properties can help keep it under control? Why suffer from a penis that has lost some sensitivity due to over-zealous handling when a crème with a neuroprotective ingredient like acetyl L-carnitine can help restore that lost sensation? Prepping the pecker for proper sex in this way can be its own stress reducer.