Who doesn’t want to live forever? Although it’s not possible now, there may be a simple—and fun—way to extend your life.
If you think of the fundamentals of a healthy relationship, a few things probably come to your mind: trust, honesty, communication, and sex. A healthy and happy relationship requires a healthy sex life and there is a ton of research to support that claim.
The latest findings also suggest that a healthy sex life can prolong your life. The research out of the University of California San Francisco found that sex works on your body’s cells, which can increase a person’s lifespan.
The secret to a longer life is sex
The researchers focused on telomeres, which are proteins found in the cell’s nucleus that stabilize the ends of chromosomes. Confused? Let me simplify this for you. When your cells are put under stress or become damaged, the telomeres that offer protection become lost, which shortens the chromosomes. When chromosomes shorten, you age.
Think of it like the split end of a hair. The more a hair splits and the more you brush it, the more damage occurs and your hair doesn’t look so good anymore. Like hair, you want your telomeres to be long.
Other research on telomeres proposed that telomeres may be responsible for aging and contributes to the end of life. When telomeres become damaged, the cells are less able to perform their function. Some suggest developing a drug to ensure that telomeres do not shorten, but research has suggested this will ultimately contribute to cancer.
Instead, the researchers suggest that if you want to protect your telomeres, having regular sex is a much safer solution.
To achieve their findings, the researchers first looked at the notion that telomere shrinkage was reduced among those with good social support and good relationships. On the other hand, they suspected negative relationships would have the opposite effect, shrinking telomeres. So, the researchers focused their study on sexual encounters as a means of slowing down the shrinkage of telomeres.
The researchers collected data from 129 women who were married or partnered, were mothers, and their children were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. With each week of the study, the participants reported their relationship quality. They also reported any sexual activity from the day before along with levels of stress. Telomere data was collected through blood samples along with dietary data.
Nearly one-third of the participants reported sexual activity within the week. The researchers took into account all contributing factors to telomere length and found only sexual activity was related to telomere length. The researchers suggest that sexual activity helps support telomere length because it stimulates the hormone oxytocin.
The study did not define sexual activity as mere intercourse. Simply having meaningful relationships and physical intimacy is enough to help prevent shortening of telomeres, which in turn may slow down the aging process.
If you and your partner need a reason to get busy tonight, how about you both work on extending your life?
Related: Researchers uncover secret to a healthy sex life