It’s not everyday that news this good drops right into our laps: Science has just found a healthy correlation between the health of older women and active sex lives. Among people in their mid-50s or older reporting frequent, enjoyable sex, women are likely to have better than average heart health.
The researchers who analyzed the data utilized surveys from more than 2,000 people aged 57 to 85 who participated in the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project, which began as one survey wave in 2005, and was followed up five years later. Events like heart attack, heart failure and stroke during that time were recorded, and participants' blood pressure, heart rate and inflammatory proteins were measured.
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In the beginning of the study, 70 percent of men and 39 percent of women said they'd had sex with a partner over the previous year. A quarter of men said they had sex once a week or more, compared to 11 percent of women.
According to Reuters and the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, men who had sex at least once a week in the first survey were almost twice as likely to have experienced a heart attack, heart failure or stroke five years later than men who said they were sexually inactive. Those who felt sex was extremely satisfying were even more likely to suffer one of these events.
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On the other hand, women who said they found sex extremely pleasurable in the first survey, were at no greater risk for heart problems, and were less likely to have high blood pressure five years later.
"Moderate frequent sex is good for older men, although high frequency of sex is risky for older men. For older women, sexual quality is good for them," explains lead author of the study, Hui Liu, an associate professor of sociology at Michigan State University in East Lansing.
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While the findings are interesting in terms of sex and quality of life for women, the researchers do acknowledge that the it cannot prove a definitive cause and effect relationship between the participants' sex lives and their heart health. They point out future studies on the topic are needed to weed out the connection between the intriguing correlation, but in the meantime, no shame in testing out the theory for your heart and health.
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