Having sex regularly could make you age more slowly

Alice Sholl
Contributor
Well get to it, then [Photo: Pexels]

If the long working week is preventing you and your significant other from getting down and dirty on the regular, consider this.

Having sex just once a week could make you age more slowly.

In a small study published in Psychoneuroendocrinology, researchers compared the length of DNA strand protectors – telomeres – in 129 mothers in long-term relationships.

And they found that regular sexual intimacy was associated with longer telomere length.

Telomeres are the protective caps on the ends of human chromosomes and are a good way of measuring ageing and overall health; they shorten as you get older.

Protecting against more than just pregnancy [Photo: Pexels]

The researchers wanted to explore whether sexual intimacy – within the context of a committed long-term relationship – could affect one’s health.

They also assessed the women’s stress levels, relationship satisfaction, and completed daily reports on partner conflict and support over the course of a week.

And while overall relationship satisfaction didn’t seem to have an impact upon ageing, sexual satisfaction did. Researchers also found that recent sexual intimacy was positively associated with longer telomere length even after controlling for other factors.

Remember, however, that correlation doesn’t always mean causation – it could be that women with longer telomere length were the ones having more sex, and not the other way around.

It certainly can’t do any harm [Photo: Pexels]

“There are so many exciting questions to ask regarding sexual intimacy’s role in health,” lead researcher Tomás Cabeza de Baca from the University of California told PsyPost.

“One major question that needs to be addressed involves hypothesising how the effects of sexual intimacy may translate to better health.

“There are many physiological and psychosocial mechanisms that may mediate the sex-telomere relationship.

You might have to have a word with your significant other about this [Photo: Pexels]

“For instance, we proposed that sexual intimacy may dampen the effects of stress by down-regulating stress response systems and up-regulating immune response.

“Over time, these patterns of stress function should result in longer telomere length.”

In other words, perhaps the stress relief that sex provides is doing more than just helping us chill out a bit.

Whether it works or not, any excuse to have more sex is a good one.

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