When it comes to sex, there’s no other month like August. Researchers at Nottingham University have found that men who enjoy a regular sex life in their 50s are at lower risk of developing prostate cancer.
‘Clearing the prostate out regularly is the reason behind this,’ says Dr Ghosh. When it comes to sex, there’s no other month like August.
Lingerie retailer Ann Summers reported a 40 per cent rise in sales last August as shoppers took advantage of the holiday period to boost their sex lives.
Meanwhile, researchers from Boston State Hospital in the U.S. have found that summer sun at least doubles levels of the sex hormone testosterone, boosting a flagging libido.The amount of sex you have is important. The more often you make love, the better quality your sperm will be. This is thought to be because the sun’s rays trigger vitamin D production, which in turn boosts production of the hormone.
And if another excuse is needed, it’s well known that sex burns calories – just this week a survey found that 87 per cent of women named sex as their favourite way to exercise (shopping came second).
But there are many other benefits, too. Here some of the country’s leading experts reveal some little-known facts about why sex is good for your health.
IT PROTECTS AGAINST HEART DISEASE
Having sex three times a week could halve the risk of heart attack or stroke.
Sex can have a protective effect on the heart. A study at Queen’s University in Belfast found that having sex three times a week could halve the risk of heart attack or stroke.
Another study in Israel found that women who had two orgasms a week were up to 30 per cent less likely to have heart disease than those who didn’t enjoy sex or didn’t orgasm.
Dr Lisa Turner, a sex and relationship therapist, says: ‘One theory is that these women may have felt depressed, which has been linked with an increased risk of a heart attack.
‘The endorphins released during sex also neutralise the stress hormones in the body, which are linked to heart disease.’
And the old cliche of sex causing heart attacks?
‘It’s a very low risk — it accounts for less than 1 per cent of all deaths,’ says Dr Graham Jackson, consultant cardiologist at the London Bridge Hospital and chairman of the Sexual Advice Association.
However, if you’re over 50, overweight and unfit, there is a risk to your heart – just as there would be if you suddenly and vigorously took up any form of exercise.
‘What also increases the risk is extra-marital affairs, and this has been proven by three large studies,’ says Dr Jackson.
‘In fact, this accounts for 75 per cent of heart-related deaths from sex, 90 per cent of which are older men. It’s thought the combination of high-fat foods and alcohol – wining and dining – combined with vigorous exercise, often with a younger partner, is what tends to trigger the heart event.’
IT’LL STRENGTHEN YOUR BONES
U.S. research found menopausal women who had sex every week had oestrogen levels twice as high as their abstaining counterparts.
The hormone has a protective effect in bone health and a lack of it after the menopause has been linked with osteoporosis.
‘Regular sex increases the production of oestrogen,’ says Dr Peter Bowen-Simpkins of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
IT MAKES YOU MORE FERTILE
‘I’m often asked whether penis length affects fertility and the good news is no,’ says Dr Ghosh.
But the amount of sex you have is important. The more often you make love, the better quality your sperm will be.
‘If you’re trying to conceive, you need the sperm to be as fresh as possible – not stuff that’s been sitting in the prostate for three or four days,’ he adds.
IT STAVES OFF PROSTATE CANCER
Researchers at Nottingham University have found that men who enjoy a regular sex life in their 50s are at lower risk of developing prostate cancer. ‘Clearing the prostate out regularly is the reason behind this,’ says Dr Ghosh.
‘The link was suggested after research showed that monks appear to have a higher chance of developing prostate cancer.’