Things can get a little confusing when it comes to sex and heart attacks. On the one hand, sex may lead to lower blood pressure over the long term. On the other, it can be vital work that may momentarily boost your risk for heart attacks.
However, new research suggests that jumping back into your sex life following a heart attack may extend your life.
The research is coming from the School of Public Health at Tel-Aviv University in Israel, and lead researcher Yariv Gerber believes the benefit has a lot to do with mindset.
Gerber suggests that resuming regular or frequent sex within six months of a heart attack might indicate that patients perceive themselves as healthy, functioning, energetic people. It could imply a healthier lifestyle and a positive outlook.
Positive outlook, after all, is associated with positive health outcomes.
The study did have some drawbacks. One was that 90% of the participants were men. It’s unknown, therefore, if women would experience the same results.
Men, however, may experience sexual benefits for heart health in a few different ways. Although the study looked mainly at sexual behavior, men using supplementation or medications to improve blood flow may get an added benefit.
Major medications used to help men achieve erections were actually developed as heart medications. These products stimulate the release of nitric oxide, which can relax veins and improve blood flow—an essential physiological component of sustaining an erection.
There is also a selection of foods and supplements that promote nitric oxide production in the body.
The study looked at data from nearly 500 sexually active people age 55 and under who were hospitalized for a heart attack in 1992 and 1993. During a median follow-up period of 22 years, 43% of patients died.
Researchers noted that those who maintained increased sexual activity within six months had a 35% lower risk for death than those who did not. The results appear in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology.
Sexual activity can make a person feel younger and more energized. It might also lead to lower blood pressure over time, as it is a valuable activity. It may also lead to stronger marital relations, greater happiness, and a positive self-image.
If you’ve suffered a heart attack, or even if you haven’t, it might be worthwhile to spice up your sex life. If heart health is a concern, talk to your doctor to make sure an uptick in activity is safe.