ANYONE looking to improve their health could do a lot worse than getting frisky under the sheets as sex has lots of benefits, experts have claimed.
The good news is that getting down to it once or twice a week can help in the battle against infections and can also help fight other conditions.
Kaye Wellings, a professor of sexual and reproductive health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said it’s normal for your health not to be at the top of the list when it comes to sex.
“But immunity, cardiovascular health and depression are just some of the areas where studies suggest that sexual activity might have a benefit”, she told the Daily Mail.
Here we take a look at the different ways sex can improve your health – from pushing back the menopause to helping fight infections.
HELPS FIGHT INFECTIONS
A 2004 study published in the journal Psychological Reports, revealed that having intercourse once or twice a week increased levels of immunoglobulin A.
This is part of the antibody response of the immune system that defends against infection.
Alongside this, the journal Fertility and Sterility also revealed that sexual activity at least three times a month was linked to milder Covid-19 infection.
Experts believe it primes the body to handle pathogens more effectively.
BEATS A BLOCKED NOSE
Battling the common cold can be the bane of people’s lives, but Brits might want to consider getting intimate with their partner to help fight it off.
Medics writing in the Journal Ear, Nose & Throat last year found that having an orgasm was as effective as a nasal spray.
It all depends on how active you are when it comes to getting beneath the sheets.
Those who are a little more vigorous may class sex as exercise.
And being active has been shown to be a decongestant – as the rise in body temperature loosens mucus while the increase in circulation encourages the flow of nasal discharge.
FIGHTS THE ONSET OF THE MENOPAUSE
Research from University College London found that middle-aged women who romp weekly are 28 per cent less likely to experience the change over the next decade.
And those who still have sex at least once a month have a 19 per cent reduced risk.
Megan Arnot, from University College London, said: “The findings suggest that if a woman is not having sex, and there is no chance of pregnancy, then the body ‘chooses’ not to invest in ovulation as it would be pointless.
“There may be a biological trade-off between investing energy into ovulation and elsewhere, such as keeping active by looking after grandchildren.”
The findings suggest that if sexual activity is not detected, the body deprioritises ovulation, triggering the menopause.
The heart is the most important organ in the body and it’s key to keep it healthy.
The good news is that regular romps can help prevent heart disease – the bad news is that it only works for men.
Regular trysts reduce levels of homocysteine, a harmful chemical in the blood that can trigger heart problems.
It’s thought men who have more sex also have better circulation and healthier blood vessels.
This is crucial for preventing a build-up of homocysteine.
But scientists say women benefit much less because sexual arousal is less dependent on having a healthy blood flow, which is a key factor in keeping homocysteine under control.
Researchers from the National Defence Medical Centre in Taiwan tracked more than 2,000 men and women, aged from 20 to 59.
They analysed blood samples to measure levels of homocysteine and matched the results up with volunteers’ sexual activity.
The results showed the lowest traces of the chemical were found in men claiming to have sex at least twice a week, while the highest readings were found in those restricted to less than once a month.
But in women there was no significant variation.
A study published in January this year in The Journal of Sexual Medicine found that people who kept up a sexual relationship during lockdown, either if they were living with their partner or not, were 34 per cent less likely to experience depression than those who didn’t.
Some experts believe that sex is a key barometer of general health and should be widely discussed by doctors with their patients, yet this rarely happens.
Geoffrey Hackett, a urologist and professor of men’s health at Aston University said: “As a doctor, you’re happy to ask women about their menstrual cycle, yet sexual activity is something we rarely discuss.
“And the issue is even worse with men, yet knowing if a man has regular erections tells me an awful lot about his health.”
An inability to get an erection can have many causes but could be a result of blocked arteries supplying the penis, which in turn could be a sign of furred arteries elsewhere in the body.
As well, physically being able to have sex is also an indication of a certain level of fitness.
“We estimate that 20 minutes of sexual activity in a man is the equivalent of walking a mile, and that’s a reasonable amount of physical effort if you do it often enough,” said Professor Hackett.