Caution! Sex Can Kill You

Sex in later years can be an albatross for older men. Researchers from Michigan State University (MSU), US, have recently stated that older men who enjoy sex frequently have twice the risk of developing and dying of cardiovascular diseases in next five years.

Compared to men who practiced abstinence, older adults in their late 50s and mid-80s who indulged in frequent sex — at least once in a week — have increased risk of heart attack, stroke and other problems, the study suggests.

Hui Liu, the lead author of the study and an associate professor of sociology at MSU, also cautions against “enjoying sex too much and urging an orgasm” since it can put strain on heart and prompt a heart attack in older males.

“Because older men have more difficulty in reaching orgasm for medical or emotional reasons than their younger counterparts, they may exert themselves to a greater degree of exhaustion and create more stress on their cardiovascular system in order to achieve climax,” said Liu.

As if this was not enough, the researchers drop another bomb on older men – stay away from testosterone and sex-enhancing drugs, if you want to live longer.

They can kick-start and hamper your already existing cardiovascular complications. Indeed, not every cloud has a silver lining.

The S word, on the other hand, bears no ill-effects on women. In fact, it brings not only unfathomable pleasure but health benefits for them as well, the first of its kind study suggests.

The study was conducted by Liu, Donna Wang, Linda Waite and Shannon Shen, all professors at MSU, and University of Chicago. More than 2,200 people enrolled in the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project.

Participants were aged 50-85 and were followed for 10 years, once in 2005-06 and then 2010-11. Various hallmarks of heart disease were noted before and after the follow-up.

These include rapid heart rate (or tachycardia), hypertension, elevated C-reactive protein (a biomarker of heart disease) and a triage of cardiovascular events, such as heart attack, heart failure and stroke.

When the researchers analyzed the large data collected over a decade, this is what they found:

“We found that having sex once a week or more puts older men at a risk for experiencing cardiovascular events that is almost two times greater than older men who are sexually inactive.”

The study was published today in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

Not everything is glum about the study though since it reveals that having and enjoying sex puts truckloads of pressure off women and soothes their heart. Researchers found that women who found sex extremely pleasurable and satisfying had reduced chances of developing hypertension than their sexually inactive counterparts.

The fact that the study was led and authored by women themselves and their findings favor their female friends should not spark a debate of bias. It’s a pure co-incidence; no woman was seen favoring her (wo)mankind during the study.

This large-scale study is the first of its kind that has studied the impact of intercourse on the health of older adults. Apart from shattering hopes (and nudge-nudge-wink-wink pleasure), the study seems to challenge the widely held assumption that sex in later years strengthens the emotional bond and stabilizes physical and mental health among adults.

An earlier study had suggested that men aged 40-70 years who had sex at least twice a week had almost half the risk of dying from heart attacks than those who indulged into carnal activities once a month or less.

Studies have confirmed it that cardiovascular disease can stir sexual impairments in both adults, particularly women. All adults with a history of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) should consult a doctor before resuming their sex life. However, this study seems to have dimmed hopes for older, healthy men. The findings come across as a killjoy.

Nonetheless, the researchers do not instruct to completely write off your sex life. Moderation is the key, as Liu puts it.

Sex, Risk Of Heart Disease And American Heart Association (AHA)

Sexual activity is an important component of life and a major contributor to intimacy that ensures physical as well as psychological wellbeing. Studies and findings like this are therefore likely to evoke great concern among readers, particularly those that are old but healthy. Why should they abstain from something as natural as sex?

Medically speaking, coitus increases blood pressure, heart rate and a group of excitatory neurotransmitters such as noradrenaline, adrenaline and dopamine which may contribute to cardiovascular risk. Nitric oxide, released by various cells, can either activate or inhibit cardiovascular system.

Earlier studies compared the effects of exercise and sex on heart in older men and women and found treadmill to be more strenuous and raising BP than sex.

The American Heart Association says it’s safe to have sex if your heart disease has stabilized. Heart attacks, experts say, rarely happen during sex because the latter lasts for a short time.

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