Having sex twice a week can boost heart health, lower cancer risk and fight Covid – Study
Experts believe sex to be such an important barometer of general health that it should be more widely discussed by doctors with their patients. iStock
We have all heard that regular sex brings with it many benefits, however, you may just be surprised at the range of benefits this act of intimacy is capable of bringing about, from lowering your risk of heart problems or cancer, to boosting your immunity and even helping you fight off Covid – frequent sex can provide a big boost to your overall wellbeing.
The Daily Mail reports that physical exertion is thought to help explain why it might improve immunity — specifically raising levels of immunoglobulin A, which exercise has also been shown to improve.
It’s not just the exertion, there are specific elements of sexual activity that may improve health, too, the Daily Mail states.
According to earlier research (in February) published in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour, when having sex, men reportedly burned on average 100 calories, and their heart rate rose to as much as 170 beats per minute — this helps strengthen the heart.
In 2010, the American Journal of Cardiology reported that men having sex two to three times a week have a 45 per cent lower risk of a heart attack compared with those having sex once a month or less.
Professor Geoffrey Hackett, a urologist and a professor of men’s health at Aston University in Birmingham points to the Caerphilly Heart Disease Study (set up in 1979) that involved 914 men aged between 45 to 59.
According to the study, it was found that deaths from heart disease over 20 years were double in men having intercourse once a month compared with those having sex twice a week.
Stressing the importance of lovemaking Dr Hackett states, “I’d suggest men and women aim for some kind of sexual activity twice a week.”
In a study featured in The Journal of Sexual Medicine in January, it was found that those who had sex during lockdown (whether they were living with their partner or not) were 34 per cent less likely to experience depression than those who didn’t.
The Daily Mail said that in fact, some experts believe sex to be such an important barometer of general health that it should be more widely discussed by doctors with their patients.
Yet, this is rarely known to happen.
“As a doctor, you’re happy to ask women about their menstrual cycle, yet sexual activity is something we rarely discuss,” Dr Hackett told the Daily Mail.
“And the issue is even worse with men, yet knowing if a man has regular erections tells me an awful lot about his health,” he said.
Dr Hackett also said, being physically able to have sex also indicates a certain level of fitness.
He adds, “We estimate that 20 minutes of sexual activity in a man is the equivalent of walking a mile, and that’s a reasonable amount of physical effort if you do it often enough.”
In addition, research from University College London found that women engaging in sexual activity at least once a month had later menopause than those who weren’t sexually active.
The Daily Mail informs that according to the researchers, if sexual activity is not detected, the body deprioritises ovulation (releasing of the mature egg from the ovary) and this triggers menopause or the end of a woman’s menstrual cycles.
The journal Ear, Nose & Throat reported last year that orgasms can clear a stuffed-up nose as effectively as a nasal spray – this is probably because exercise has also been shown to be a decongestant.
Apparently, this is possible because exercise increases body temperature which in turn helps to loosen mucus. Also, the increase in circulation (due to the exercise) encourages the flow of nasal discharge.
Also, last year, the journal Fertility and Sterility stated that sexual activity at least three times a month was linked with a milder Covid-19 infection.
The explanation for this is that sex, primes the body to handle pathogens more effectively.
This study reportedly followed a 2004 study in the journal Psychological Reports which found that sex (once or twice a week) increases levels of immunoglobulin A, which is part of the antibody response of the immune system that defends us against infection.
Furthermore, frequent sex can also lower the risk of prostate cancer.
According to a 2016 study from Harvard University, it was found that for men aged 20 to 50 ejaculating more than 20 times per month reduced prostate cancer risk by 20 per cent. The theory is that sex “flushes the system” said Professor Hackett. The study is published in the journal European Urology.
Meanwhile, arousal and orgasm in women reportedly have been linked to better pelvic floor strength and reduced incontinence, which is linked to muscle contractions.
Kaye Wellings, a professor of sexual and reproductive health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine told the Daily Mail, “Improving your health” is not usually at the top of your mind when you’re thinking about sex, but immunity, cardiovascular health, and depression are just some of the areas where studies suggest that sexual activity might have a benefit.
Dr Wellings adds, that while regular sex is “likely to be important, I don’t want people thinking that because they don’t have sex that often, or don’t have a partner to have sexual activity with, they’re going to end up sick.
“Many of the benefits of sexual activity can be gained in non-sexual ways, including exercise or hugging friends and family.”
Conclusively, Dr Narjust Duma, an oncologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, U.S. is reported to have said, patients whose sexual health is addressed “have a better quality of life, better pain control, and better relationships with their partners and their healthcare team.”