How often do you have sex? Do you cuddle up to your partner once a week for your scheduled sexy time, let things happen naturally after a glass of wine and binge-watching Netflix, or go at it like rabbits multiple times a day?
No matter how often you have sex, we all know it's a healthy part of a relationship, not to mention the endless health benefits. But what happens when sex can turn deadly?
According to a study in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, though older women can reap the benefits from having sex frequently, for men, having sex too often could put them at a high risk for a heart attack and other cardiovascular issues.
Researchers analyzed data on 2,204 adults between the ages of 57 and 85, measuring their risk for cardiovascular problems. The researchers then reviewed the participants' data five years later for their findings. They measured cardiovascular risk by hypertension, rapid heart rate, elevated C-reactive proteins, and heart attack, heart failure, and stroke. Their findings were pretty alarming for older men.
Over the course of five years, the older men who reported having sex at least once per week were more likely to have a cardiovascular issue than men who abstained from sex or were inactive. Fortunately for older women, they do not have the same risk.
There are a few explanations as to why this occurs. According to Hui (Cathy) Liu, lead author of the study and associate professor of sociology at Michigan State University, "When men get older, they may have more difficulties reaching an orgasm for medical or emotional reasons. Therefore, they may exert themselves to a greater degree of exhaustion and create relatively more stress on their cardiovascular system in order to achieve a climax, which may hurt health."
Well, we've never heard of orgasms that can kill you! Another potential cause of this? Men taking prescription or over-the-counter medication for sexual dysfunction. It could also have to do with the emotional factors of sex.
"Having quite a high frequency of sex may indicate problems of sexual addiction, sexual compulsivity, or sexual impulsivity — related to psychological states such as anxiety or depression — which may lead to negative cardiovascular health," says Liu.
While these findings may be worrisome, Liu says that men (and women) shouldn't be afraid of having sex. Instead, take the proper precautions to ensure your health comes first.
"Moderate frequency of sex is actually good for older men, but high frequency of sex is risky for older men. As for older women, good sexual quality is important for them. I think it is important for older people to understand the potential risks and benefits of sex."
Whew! That's a relief.