Having a healthy sex life comes with some surprising health benefits. Express.co.uk is joined by Dr Jeff Foster, previously seen on This Morning, who explains the benefits of having sex, especially as you get older. Can good sex, especially as you get older, add years to your life?
When we talk about health, we often focus on things like diet and exercise, but your sex life can make a huge contribution to your overall health and wellbeing.
Dr Jeff Foster is a GP who specialises in men’s health.
He says: “Sex is important for both physical and mental wellbeing.
“Physically, it releases endorphins and also keeps your vascular, muscular and neurological control of your sexual organs intact and healthy.
“Mentally, it helps couples maintain a deeper emotional bond, can relieve stress and help you with sleep.”
Research claims there are other surprising benefits to having a regular sex life as you get older too, including fighting off colds and improving your sense of smell.
So, what are the health benefits of a good sex life?
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Sex regulates hormone levels
Especially for women who are perimenopausal, sex can alleviate some of the symptoms.
In addition, hormonal issues can be the reason behind a loss of interest in having sex.
Dr Jeff says: “The first thing before seeing a doctor is to ask about desire – do you still desire your partner? If not then this is not a medical problem.
“If you still love your partner but you have just lost interest in sex, see a doctor as this could be a hormonal problem – it is always best to see either a female specialist or men’s health specialist.
“The most common query I hear from my patients is, ‘Is it normal to stop having or wanting sex when you get older?’”
For men, having sex often can be evidence of a healthy heart
Being able to sustain an erection can be a measure of good health for men.
Dr Jeff explains: “Being able to have a normal quality erection and regular sexual activity means the following are working: Testosterone levels are OK, nerve function and brain are OK and the desire is there.
“From a cardiovascular side – it means the arteries in the penis are not narrowed with cholesterol deposits and hardened from high blood pressure.”
Erectile dysfunction, on the other hand, can be cause for concern.
Dr Jeff says: “Erectile dysfunction is linked to heart disease because the arteries of the penis are almost identical to the arteries that supply the heart.
“Therefore they say if you have cardiovascular narrowing of the penile arteries there is about a three-year window before something could happen in the heart (i.e. heart attack).”
So, if you struggle to get it up, you should see your doctor to check it isn’t a symptom of heart disease or high cholesterol levels.
Sex can fight colds and flu
One study found those who had sex regularly had a higher amount of the antibody immunoglobulin A compared to people who had sex less than once a week.
Immunoglobin A is considered a powerful defence against colds and flu.