10 Health Benefits of Sex After 60
There is a widely used adage that 60 is the new 40. That may be the case. What is certain is that people have sex after 60, and there are some health benefits to remaining sexually active when people are in their Golden Years. In this article, we will discuss ten key health benefits of sex after 60.
The 10 key health benefits of sex after 60 are:
- Boots immunity
- Improves heart health
- Strengthens pelvic floor
- Relieves headaches and other pain
- Aids with symptoms of menopause (for younger women)
- Reduces risk of prostate cancer
- Boosts mental health
- Burns calories
- Enhances sleep
- Extends life
Researchers at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania found that people who had sex one to two times a week had significantly more immunoglobulin A in their systems than individuals who had sex less often. Medically speaking, immunoglobulin A is an antibody in the mucosal membranes that is considered a first-line defense against infection. Yet another study released in 2021 found that having sex more than three times a month appeared to have at least some protective effect against COVID-19.
Researchers are not completely certain how and why sex seems to enhance immunity. There is some thought that this may occur because sex increases blood flow. Increased blood flow does help to distribute antibodies throughout the body.
Improves Heart Health
There certainly are some individuals, mostly men (it seems), who worry that sex could trigger a heart attack. However, research studies reveal that a heart attack induced because of sex is exceedingly rare. This particularly is the case if a person exercises regularly. The latest research demonstrates that regular sex can actually improve a person’s overall heart health.
A large study published in The American Journal of Cardiology found that men who had sex at least twice a week were 50 percent less likely to die of heart disease than men who had sex once a month. In another study, researchers followed 914 men for two decades. These researchers found that as sexual activity increased, the risk of stroke and heart attack decreased.
For women, an extensive research study revealed that those who are satisfied with their sex lives are less likely to have peripheral artery disease. This is a condition that narrows the arteries and makes the risk of stroke more likely.
Researchers have generally concluded the protective effects stem from a variety of factors. These include lower stress levels, improved sleep, and a stronger connection to your partner that has been linked to sex.
Strengthens Pelvic Floor
A research study published in International Urogynecology Journal revealed that sexually active women are significantly more likely to have a strong pelvic floor than those who are not sexually active.
Researchers conclude that this likely is the case because every time a woman has sex, muscles in a woman’s proverbial nether regions get a workout. When a woman is aroused, muscle tension in the pelvic region naturally increases. During orgasm, all the muscles contract just as happens during Kegel exercise.
Having strong pelvic floor muscles gives a person control over the bladder. It helps prevent incontinence. In men, a weak pelvic floor can contribute to erectile dysfunction.
Relieves Headaches and Other Pin
Sex and an associated orgasm are shown to relieve headaches and combat other types of pain. This includes pain associated with arthritis and other chronic health issues.
One large observational research study found that 34 percent of the patients had experience with sexual activity during a migraine attack. Of these individuals, 60 percent reported an improvement in their migraine attacks. Some patients, particularly male migraine patients, even used sexual activity as a therapeutic tool to combat the pain.
In another research study, researchers found that vaginal stimulation in women elevated their pain tolerance by about 40 percent, while orgasm pushed it upwards to nearly 75 percent.
Experts credit the release of “feel-good hormones,” including endorphins. Scientists refer to these as the body’s natural pain reliever.
Aids With Symptoms of Menopause (For Younger Women)
Regular sexual activity can help counteract the physical changes associated with menopause. This includes such changes as vaginal dryness and atrophy, according to Amir Marashi, a gynecologist practicing in Brooklyn.
Biologically speaking, sex stimulates blood flow. In turn, this helps keep vaginal tissues healthy, toned, and stretchy. Research studies show the more you have sex, the healthier a woman’s tissues will be overall.
“Any organ that you bring more blood supply to, you keep it more youthful,” Marashi explained. “A lot of patients come to me for hormonal replacement therapy. Before all of that, I say, ‘Make sure you get regular, consistent, good orgasms because that’s going to help a lot.’”
Reduces Risk of Prostate Cancer
For men, several research studies have revealed a link between frequent orgasms and a reduced risk of prostate cancer. The prostate holds some of the fluid that is released during ejaculation.
A Harvard research study involved almost 32,000 men. The study found that the more a man ejaculated, the lower his risk of prostate cancer. The study revealed that men who ejaculated more than 20 times per month reduced their prostate cancer risk by about 20 percent. This is compared with those men who ejaculated four to seven times per month.
At this time, researchers note that while the reason for the link is not entirely clear at this time, they believe that frequent turnover of the fluids in your prostate likely is a healthy process. Researchers believe that ejaculation flushes out potential carcinogens that are located in the prostate.
Boosts Mental Health
Several authoritative research studies have found that sexual activity and intimacy are linked to lower rates of:
- Feelings of isolation
These studies indicate that regular sexual activity can boost happiness and enhance a positive mood. One of the more recent studies published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine found that anxiety and depression scores were significantly lower in those people who were sexually active during the COVID-19 lockdown compared with those who were not.
“One of the top benefits of sex, particularly in the acutely stressful world in which we’re living these days, is its ability to immediately melt away built-up stress,” explained Paul Hokemeyer, a licensed marriage and family therapist based in New York City.
When you have sex, biologically, your body releases what experts call a cocktail of hormones and neurotransmitters that “help calm us down and make us feel safe and secure in the world,” Hokemeyer noted.
Sex does count as physical activity. In a study published in the journal PLOS One, researchers found that men burned 101 calories on average during a 24-minute session. In turn, women burned 69 calories. “These results suggest that sexual activity may potentially be considered, at times, as a significant exercise,” the authors of the study wrote.
Of course, how many calories are actually burned during sex depends on how long and how vigorous a session is. Even if a session lasts only six minutes (the typical length of a sex session), that is still better than doing nothing at all. The latest research on physical activity reveals that getting your heart rate up even for just a few minutes results in health benefits.
If you tend to doze off after sex, a scientific explanation exists. During sex, the body releases hormones that include oxytocin and prolactin. These hormones induce pleasant and relaxing feelings. Sex also reduces cortisol, a hormone that is associated with stress. These biological responses can cause someone to feel relaxed and drowsy. It can make it easier for a person to fall asleep, according to various researchers.
In one study, about 63 percent of participants reported that it was easier to fall asleep after sex and orgasm. In addition, 71 percent of participants reported better sleep quality after orgasm. Despite common perceptions that men are the ones who roll over and start snoring after sex, there was no gender difference in these results.
Researchers make it clear that people are never too old to have sex. Making sex a regular part of a person’s routine may actually be a tool to extend your life span.
Ikaria, Greece, is one of the regions of the world where people live significantly longer than average. In this area, more than 80 percent of people ages 65 to 100 are having sex, according to Blue Zones, an organization that researches the world’s longest-lived cultures and longest-living populations.
A variety of studies have found a correlation between active sex life and longer life. For example, one observational research study involved 15,269 adults in the United States. The study was published in 2020 in The Journal of Sexual Medicine. This study found that death rates were about 50 percent lower among those people who had sex at least once a week. This was compared with people who rarely had sex.
Experts believe the lower risk of death likely stems from all the other known health benefits of sex that includes:
- Better heart health
- Improved sleep
- Lower stress
- A closer relationship with a partner
In closing, benefits abound from an active sex life for women and men in their Golden Years. If you have any additional questions, including whether you are healthy enough to have sex regularly, your primary care physician can assist you.