MEN who have sex at least twice a week can almost halve their risk of heart disease, according to new research.
It shows men who indulge in regular lovemaking are up to 45% less likely to develop lifethreatening heart conditions than men who have sex once a month or less.
The study of over 1000 men shows sex appears to have a protective effect on the male heart, but did not examine whether women benefit too. Now the US researchers who carried out the investigation are calling for doctors to screen men for sexual activity when assessing their risk of heart disease.
Every year around 270000 people in Britain suffer a heart attack, and coronary disease remains Britain's biggest killer. Although sex has long been regarded as good for physical and mental health, there has been little scientific evidence to show the full benefits that frequent intercourse can have on major illnesses.
In the latest study, scientists at the New England Research Institute in Massachusetts tracked the sexual activity of men aged between 40 and 70. At regular points over a 16-year period, each man was quizzed on how often they had sex and checked for signs of heart disease.
Researchers took into account risk factors such as age, weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The results were published in the American Journal of Cardiology. In their findings, researchers said the benefits of sex could be due to both the physical and emotional effects on the body.
Men with the desire for frequent sexual activity and who are able to engage in it are likely to be healthier. But sex in some forms has a physical activity component that might directly serve to protect cardiovascular health.
Men who have frequent sex might be in a supportive intimate relationship, and this might improve health through stress reduction and social support.
An earlier study at the National Cancer Institute in the US showed men who ejaculated through sex or masturbation at least five times a week were much less likely to get prostate cancer.
And sex once or twice a week in winter can boost the immune system, reducing the chances of catching colds and flu, according to researchers at Wilkes University, Pennsylvania. They found it boosted levels of immunoglobulin A, or IGA, which helps activate the immune system to destroy organisms which invade the body.
Regular sex can even boost a woman's sense of smell by triggering the release of a hormone called prolactin, according to scientists at Calgary University in Canada. – The Daily Telegraph