While sex is well known for adding life to your years, it can also add years to your life. Research is mounting (ahem) that a healthy, regular sex life allows people to age slower, live longer, and avoid a wide variety of lethal health issues.
This is especially good news for men, who have generally shorter life spans to begin with and whose sexuality has been maligned as shallow, base, and excessive for generations. A lot of the recently discovered (or verified) benefits also benefit men in particular, since the health issues dodged kill a great many men before their time. The entire list should help everyone, though, to have a fuller, more fun and longer life – and to keep their partner around for longer, too!
First, a couple of myths need to be tossed out. To begin with, testosterone (which is key to sex drive in both sexes) is not something which promotes any sort of health risk beyond risky behavior itself. To the contrary, it is important to cardiovascular health, blood pressure, cognitive energy, and mental well-being, among other things. “Testosterone poisoning” is simply libel mistaken for medicine.
Following on from there, a very long-standing myth is that sex depletes a man’s testosterone and its attendant benefits. People have been warned off sex before athletic competitions at least as long ago as the ancient Olympic games. While it is true that sexual desire can be sated, the tiredness one feels after a long night’s romp shouldn’t be confused with lack of testosterone. There is more to the thing than aggression. No, as very sexually active men have quietly utilized for centuries, sex causes a strong increase in testosterone production.
This phenomenon affects women as well, and is part of the established fact that a way for women to increase libido is to have more sex in the first place. Women produce far less testosterone than men, but produce it they do, and are far more strongly affected by an equal increase.
So how exactly does sex increase a lifespan? It’s part testosterone production, part mental health, and (predictably enough) part exercise:
1. Better blood pressure reduces likelihood of heart damage, headaches, certain kidney issues, and stroke.
2. Improved physical and cognitive energy both increases healthy activity and greatly reduces risk of depression.
3. Increased lean body mass and reduced belly fat (both courtesy of testosterone’s metabolic aid) improves heart health, joint health, and other benefits of reduced obesity risk.
4. Fending off osteoporosis may or may not extend one’s life, but it certainly makes a life more lively! Testosterone does that too, yes, since it increases bone density.
5. Sex burns off excess sugars and in doing so further helps body mass and cardiovascular fitness. Among its many benefits, avoiding obesity helps avoid a whole slew of cancers.
6. Testosterone is an anabolic steroid, but a natural one. As such, it builds muscle and is a cell-level anti-inflammatory agent, which is far more useful in general health than it sounds.
7. Sex – and frequent sex – has a huge impact against the likelihood of prostate cancer.
This last is obviously a men-only issue (women lacking a prostate, you know), but it is indeed a huge one. In fact, the numbers are so stunning, I have no idea why it is not giant news.
Ok, that is not quite true. I know exactly why it is not news, and odds are so do you, but we’ll cover that pair of injustices a different time. For now, here are the numbers:
Prostate cancer is the 2nd most common cancer among American men. Over 230,000 cases will be diagnosed this year alone. Over 29,000 will die of it this year. Sex 5 or more times per week reduces the likelihood of developing prostate cancer by age 70 by 34%. There are other ways to reduce the likelihood, but that is by far the greatest. I promise that there are no typos in this paragraph.
Needless to say, I have rather a dim view of women who think a man is excessive who wants her more than once every week or so. I’m an epicurean sybarite, after all. This sort of grim statistical reality makes me sad, for more than medical reasons, for the poor souls who’ve got prostate cancer. It reminds me of the old joke that finishes with, “Why do men die sooner? They want to.” But things don’t have to be that way! Both of you can be healthy, happy, and far younger than your years by the simple expedient of enjoying each other regularly.
There are other benefits to sex, of course: these are only a quick grouping that specifically help longevity. Some of the other things it does for you are obvious, some are subtle, and some are unexpected but amazing. We’ll get to those another time… In the mean time, go make a bid for immortality!