Does Sex Make You Live Longer?

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Does Sex Make You Live Longer?

For some species of insects, sexual activity significantly shortens life. Sexual activity often equals reproduction, which can actually be protective against some conditions (for example, breast cancer).

So, is there a consensus about the impact of sexual activity on human lifespan? We will explore some research to provide insight on the topic.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Risky sex and the diseases associated with it are a contributor to premature mortality in many areas of the world. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), although not solely sexually transmitted, remains among the world’s top ten causes of death. Human papilloma virus (HPV), another sexually transmitted microorganism, is associated with cervical, vaginal, anal, and head and neck cancers. However, modern medicine and contraception are widely available in developed areas of the world.

Sex and Heart Disease

In most developed countries, cardiovascular disease leads the list in mortality causes. While regular exercise is known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and aid in rehabilitation, some heart disease patients are afraid to engage in sexual activity. Is the fear justified?

In a study reported in 2015, researchers at Ulm University analyzed sexual activity during the 12 months prior to a heart attack among 536 patients.2 Compared to having sex less than once per week, subjects who had sex more frequently had a 56% lower rate of subsequent cardiovascular events, including fatal and nonfatal heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular death, per 1,000 patient-years after adjustment for age, smoking status, physical activity and other factors.

To help answer the question concerning whether sexual activity might trigger heart attack, the researchers found that only three patients reported engaging in sex within an hour before their heart attack, none within one to two hours, and 1.5% within 3 to 6 hours. Seventy-eight percent reported engaging in their last sexual activity at least 24 hours prior to the event.

A study that involved 1,274 men and 605 women with a history of heart attack found that mortality during the first year following the event was 2.1% for those who reported engaging in sexual activity within one month after their heart attack, compared to 4.1% among those who were inactive, leading the researchers to conclude that mortality was not significantly increased in those who were sexually active soon after their event.3

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