Is sex a key to longevity?

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We know sex is for procreation, its’ fun and can build intimacy within a relationship.  But is it true it could also increase our life expectancy?  It may be possible. Healthy sex is essential to a healthy life and when we are healthy, we are more likely to live longer. 

Research has even backed this notion up of the health benefits resulting from a healthy and active sex life, particularly for women.  Don’t worry men – sex may also extend your length of years.  A study from a few years back showed that men with a high frequency of orgasms had a 50 percent reduction in mortality risk. 

So, just how exactly does sex hold a key to longevity?  Let’s look at several ways in which an active fulfilled sex life not only adds life to your years, but years to your life:

· Sex strengthens the immune system

Tired of fighting colds, the flu or infections?  Have more sex.  A study done at Wilkes University demonstrated that couples who have sex at least two times a week tend to have higher amounts of the antibody immunoglobulin A (IgA) than couples who engaged in sex less than once a week.  IgA is a necessary component in beating back sickness and for keeping the immune system strong.

· Sex involves touch

One of the most intimate aspects about sex is the value of touch.  All of us need and thrive upon being touched.  It is well known that animals and babies deprived of physical touch are sickly and often do not develop normally.  Having sex means plenty of touching and caressing of various body parts.  This helps create bonds between a couple vital for social support for one another.  Being touched can increase self-esteem as frequent touching is a way to communicate someone’s worth to one another.  Touch can also release hormones and other substances much like meditation or other stress-relieving activities.  Sex basically can give that feeling of being wanted and needed which we all crave.

· Sex reduces stress and lowers blood pressure

During an orgasm, not only is the feeling euphoric but the release of oxytocin helps calm nerves and can help counter the effect of cortisol, a stress hormone.  Don’t take offense if after sex your partner rolls over and falls fast asleep.  Oxytocin is also responsible for promoting sleep and better quality sleep.  In regards to blood pressure, European researchers found that the more frequent couples had sex, the more their blood pressure reduced. 

· Sex may ward off prostate cancer

Researchers with the Health Professionals Follow-up study tracked orgasms in almost 32,000 men for 18 years and found that as orgasm frequency increased especially when men were in their twenties, the more their prostate cancer risk decreased later in life.  Men who reported 21 or more orgasms a month had a 33 percent less likelihood of developing prostate cancer compared to men who only ejaculated seven times or less a month. 

· Sex may prevent preeclampsia in pregnant women

Pregnant women can be at risk of developing a condition called preeclampsia which can result in abnormally high blood pressure and protein in the urine in the latter half of a pregnancy. Preeclampsia affects between 3 and 5 percent of pregnant women and if left untreated can put a woman at risk of brain injury, impaired kidney and liver functioning, blood clots, pulmonary edema, seizures, and in severe forms can result in maternal and infant death. 

Research has shown that a special protein called HLA-G found in a man’s sperm may have a positive impact on preventing preeclampsia.  HLA-G can help regulate the body’s immune system.  The study showed that if a woman has had enough exposure to her partner’s semen prior to conception, she is significantly less likely to get preeclampsia. 

· Sex and heart disease

To reduce your risk of developing heart disease or a stroke, it looks like an active sex life can possibly make this happen.  In 2010, the New England Research Institute conducted a large study which found that regular sexual activity may reduce heart disease risk while infrequent sex appeared to predict a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease independent of erectile dysfunction.