Continuing to have sex regularly as you get older can only be good for your health, right? Well, not necessarily…
According to a new large-scale study lead by Hui Liu, an associate professor of sociology at Michigan State University in the US, satisfying sexual activity can protect women from certain heart problems, but pose increased risk for ageing men!
Liu reported, “These findings challenge the widely held assumption that sex brings uniform health benefits to everyone.” Keep reading for the full scoop on this interesting study.
Large-scale study uncovers that sex can protect older women from heart problems like hypertension
For the study, which was published in the Journal of Health and Social Behaviour
, Liu and her team analysed data from 2,204 people between the ages of 47 and 85. They measured cardiovascular risks like rapid heart rate, elevated C-reactive protein, hypertension and cardiovascular events including stroke, heart attack and heart failure.
What the team found was that women who found sex to be intensely satisfying or pleasurable were less likely to develop hypertension, a hallmark of heart disease
, than those who found sex less enjoyable.
Liu elaborated, “This may be more relevant to women than to men because men in all relationships, regardless of quality, are more likely to receive support from their partner than are women. However, only women in good quality relationships may acquire such benefits from their partner.” She went on to say that the hormone that women release during orgasm could also have a significant effect on their health.
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...but that sex can have the opposite effect on the heart health of ageing men!
On the other hand, the researchers found that men who had sex once or more a week were at increased risk of heart problems. “Strikingly, we find that having sex once a week or more puts older men at a risk for experiencing cardiovascular events that is almost two times greater than older men who are sexually inactive,” Liu explained. “Moreover, older men who found sex with their partner extremely pleasurable or satisfying had higher risk of cardiovascular events than men who did not feel so.”
So what could the reason for this be? Liu offered one suggestion by saying that as ageing
men “become frail and suffer from more sexual problems”, the pressure of maintaining a healthy sex life and relationships could be the culprit behind heightened risk of cardiovascular problems. “Because older men have more difficulties reaching orgasm for medical or emotional reasons than do their younger counterparts, they may exert themselves to a greater degree of exhaustion and create more stress
on their cardiovascular system in order to achieve climax,” she said.