For older couples who enjoy an active love life, there’s some good news… and some not so good. Experts in the US have found that frequent – and satisfying – sex significantly reduces the risk of heart problems for women later in life.
But men from the same age group who had sex once a week or more actually doubled their heart risk compared to those who were sexually inactive.
In the first large-scale study of how sex affects elderly hearts, women over the age of 57 were half as likely to develop high blood pressure – a major cause of heart attacks and strokes – if they still had frequent, satisfying sex.
The rush of beneficial hormones and the emotional boost of being in a loving relationship are thought to be behind the boost to women’s health.
Meanwhile men were almost twice as likely to suffer a ‘cardiovascular event’, such as heart attacks and angina, if they had sex at least once a week.
The team interviewed 2,200 people aged between 57 and 85 about their sexual activity and then tracked their health over five years. However, only women in good quality relationships may acquire such benefits from their partner. Moreover, older men who found sex with their partner extremely pleasurable or satisfying had higher risk of cardiovascular events than men who did not have such feelings.