Can Sex Increase Life Expectancy?

Sex, Aging, and Longevity

Couple lying in bed together
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Having more sex may increase how long you live. Sex releases several hormones in the body, increases intimacy and bonding, and works against loneliness and depression. Staying sexually active has physical, stress relieving, social and mental benefits. According to the RealAge books, frequent orgasms—about 100 per year—can increase life expectancy by 3 to 8 years.

However, keep in mind that the science on this is somewhat spotty. Studies show that men with a high frequency of orgasms have a 50 percent reduction in mortality risk.

The Value of Touch

Touch is necessary for mammals to thrive. Animals and babies deprived of physical touch are sickly and do not develop normally. How touch impacts health is a mystery, but it likely works on several levels:

  • Cements relationships Touching helps create bonds. These bonds provide vital social support and other benefits known to be linked to life expectancy.
  • Increases self-esteem: Self-esteem is largely our perception of worth. Frequent touching is a way to communicate worth to one another.
  • Provides physical stimulus: It is possible that touch releases hormones and other substances much like relaxation and meditation.

Sex, Touch, and Older Adults

There is very little data concerning the sexual habits of older adults. Sales of Viagra and other medications indicate that sexual activity is definitely of interest to older adults. To maintain an active sex life as you age, follow the following advice:

  • Be open and honest with your partner about needs, interests, and desires
  • Seek help for any problems that might arise
  • Keep exercising to maintain your libido
  • Keep a healthy weight and blood pressure

Exercise Helps Sexual Aging

Sixty-year-olds who exercise frequently report having the same amount of sex and sexual pleasure as people decades younger. One study examined the sexual frequency and satisfaction ratings of swimmers aged 60 and found that they were the same as those 20 years younger. If you exercise a lot, your “sexual age” will be years younger than your chronological age.

Another study showed that men and women who were more physically fit rated their own sexual performance higher. Among people who exercised four to five days per week, 88% of the women and 69% of the men reported their own sexual performance as above average or much above average. The reason for this could simply be an increase in confidence because of an improved body image, or a physiological reason (such as better circulation and blood flow).

View Article Sources
  • Sex and death: are they related?; Davey Smith G, Frankel S, Yarnell J; BMJ. 1997 Dec 20-27;315(7123):1641-4.