A new study is showing that a healthy sex life may pay even more dividends than originally thought. If you’re yet to enter menopause, you might want to keep reading,
Already shown to improve immunity, blood pressure, reduce pain, and more, a healthy sex life might also delay the onset of menopause. Research from the University College of London is showing that a more active sex life is associated with a later onset of menopause.
Researchers looked at nearly 3,000 women for more than 10 years. The study group was first interviewed in 1996–1997 when they were age 45. At the time of the interviews, none of the women had entered menopause, but 46% were starting to have perimenopausal symptoms like changes in period cycle and hot flashes.
During more than 10 years of follow-up, 45% began natural menopause with an average onset age of 52. They found that women who had sex weekly were 28% less likely to develop menopause at any age than those who had sex less than once per month. Women who had sex monthly were 19% less likely to get menopause as early.
The study also found that intercourse was not required in order to achieve the benefit. Oral sex, fondling, and masturbation were all shown to contribute to a later onset of menopause.
Why is this finding potentially important? Because menopause is associated with a number of serious health conditions in women. Delaying menopause can mean stronger bones and a lower risk for fracture or osteoporosis, as well as lower cholesterol levels.
So why does sexual stimulation appear to delay menopause? According to the study’s lead author, Megan Arnot, “There may be an energetic trade-off between investing energy into ovulation and investing elsewhere, such as keeping active looking after grandchildren.”
This “use it or lose it” idea suggests that if a woman is not having sex, and therefore has no chance of pregnancy, the body looks at ovulation as a pointless process can begin menopause.
If you’re yet to hit menopause and want to delay it, boosting sexual stimulation could help buy some time. Menopause, of course, is unavoidable. But a slower, later transition is certainly appealing to some!