Having sex at least once a week slows ageing in women – even if they do not enjoy being intimate, new research reveals. Being active between the sheets increases the length of women’s telomeres, a study found.
Women’s telomeres lengthen with regular love making regardless of whether they are sexually satisfied in their relationship, the research adds.
That’s a good thing. As you age, your telomeres shorten, and the shorter they are, the more likely you are to develop a degenerative disease and die prematurely.
Longer telomeres could point to longer life, a slowing down of the ageing process, and a reduced risk of degenerative disease. Which all sounds splendid. But before you get too excited, it’s important to note that the study was pretty blimmin’ small, and that there could be a whole host of other factors coming into play.
Researchers from the University of California in San Francisco analysed physical intimacy, as well as partner support or conflict, overall relationship satisfaction and stress in 129 mothers in long-term relationships. Blood samples were taken from the study’s participants to determine their telomere length. Earlier research also indicated that a good sex life was an essential for good health.
Lead researcher Tomas Cabeza de Baca said that over time, shortened telomeres may contribute to chronic degenerative diseases and premature mortality. He added, “Sexual intimacy may dampen the effects of stress by down-regulating stress response systems and up-regulating immune response. Over time, these patterns of stress function should result in longer telomere length,” PsyPost reported. The findings were published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology.
The researchers note that the findings are ‘largely exploratory’, and state that they can only generalise them to partnered mothers in long-term relationships. Study also reveals that relationship satisfaction, stress and partner support or conflict had no impact on telomere length.