Sex makes you feel good, relaxed, improve sleep, and strengthens the connection between you and your partner. But we bet you didn’t know that regular sex can slash your risk of heart disease.
Heart disease continues to be the number one killer of men and women, and lifestyle factors like obesity, lack of physical exercise, smoking, stress, and an unhealthy diet can all increase your risk. Therefore, it’s almost a sigh of relief that something so easy—and enjoyable—like sex can go a long way to reduce your risk.
The good news is that regular sex cuts your risk of heart disease, the unfortunate news is that the benefit was only seen among men. The researchers found that regular sex reduces levels of homocysteine, which is a harmful chemical found in the blood that can contribute to heart problems.
Men who have regular sex are thought to have greater blood circulation and healthier blood vessels, which means that homocysteine doesn’t build up in the arteries.
But why do men improve their heart health during sex and women get the shaft? This is because women’s arousal is not dependent on blood flow and blood flow is a key contributing factor to levels of homocysteine.
Previous studies also explored the benefits of sex and heart health and found that sex at least twice a week for men reduced the risk of clogged arteries by half, compared to men who only had sex once a month or less.
Although there have been prior studies that have explored the association between sex and heart health among men, this is the first study to link the association with levels of homocysteine.
Previous studies on homocysteine found that as levels increased in the blood, so did the risk of heart disease—by as much as 66 percent. Other studies found that high levels of homocysteine increased the risk of stroke by one-third. Lastly, homocysteine has been linked with Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.
The lowest levels of homocysteine were seen among men who had the most sex; there was no significant difference in homocysteine levels seen among women regardless of their sexual activity.
The researchers explained, “This is the first study of its kind to evaluate the correlation between sexual frequency and homocysteine levels. A good quality sex life, frequent sex and libido are all related to health in the middle-aged and elderly. Increased sexual frequency could have a protective effect on general health and quality of life—especially in men—so doctors should support patients’ sexual activity.”
Sex should be added to the lifestyle changes you make to increase your heart health.