Having sex at least once a week slows aging in women – even if they do not enjoy being intimate, new research reveals. The study, published online in Psychoneuroendocrinology, found that women who reported having sex at least once a week often displayed longer telomeres, the protective tips to our DNA that shorten with age, Psy Post reported.
What’s more, this increased telomere length was not associated with relationship satisfaction, daily support or conflict, or perceived stress in the relationship. Significant telomere length was observed in women who reported weekly sexual intimacy, regardless of other relationship circumstances. This finding could have important applications, as increased telomere length is associated with increased health and longer life.
Telomeres are the caps of repetitive DNA found at the end of chromosomes that help to protect our precious chromosomes from deteriorating during cell division. Telomeres ‘cap’ the end of DNA strands and with longer lengths being associated with slower ageing, longer lifespans and improved overall health. The telomere, however, shortens with age and poor lifestyle habits, such as alcohol abuse. The study showed that being active lengthens telomeres.
The study further shows that women’s telomeres lengthen with regular love making regardless of whether they are sexually satisfied in their relationship. Researchers from the University of California, United States believe sex may aid aging in women by dampening stress and boosting their immune system. Though it is not clear if regular sex had the same anti-ageing effects in men as women.
Conversely, according to researchers from the National Defence Medical Centre in Taiwan, regular sex really is the best medicine for preventing life-threatening heart disease – if you are a man. Research reveals making love several times a week can slash levels of homocysteine – a harmful chemical in the blood that can trigger cardiac problems. It is thought men who have sex often have better circulation and healthier blood vessels. This is crucial for preventing a build-up of homocysteine.