Men rarely require much encouragement to indulge in a night of passion but now they can argue it’s good for their health
Scientists have revealed that enjoying regular s-e-x could be the best remedy for avoiding killer heart disease – although somewhat unfairly, only for the male of the species.
Making love several times a week can slash levels of homocysteine – a chemical in the blood that can trigger cardiac problems, a study found.
But women do not get the same benefit because their s-e-xual arousal is less dependent on a healthy blood flow, experts said.
Men who enjoy regular s-e-x sessions often have better circulation and healthier blood vessels, which helps prevent a build-up of homocysteine.
Doctors have long suspected that frequent s-e-x can reduce the risk of heart attacks. A previous study found intercourse twice a week halved a man’s chances of clogged arteries compared to those indulging less than once a month.
But until now there has been little scientific evidence to explain why a healthy s-e-x life protects against illness. The latest findings, published in the Journal of S-e-xual Medicine, are to the first reveal the link with reducing homocysteine levels.
The chemical is a vital building block of proteins and occurs naturally in the body. But excess levels, which can be caused by poor diet, are thought to damage blood vessels supplying the heart – raising the risk of a deadly clot forming.
Previous studies have linked high readings with a 66 percent increased chance of dying from heart disease, as well as higher risks of stroke, Alzheimer’s and cancer.
Researchers from the National Defence Medical Centre in Taiwan tracked more than 2 000 men and women aged 20 to 59.
Analysing blood samples, they compared homocysteine readings to frequency with which volunteers had s-e-x.
The lowest traces were found in men claiming to have s-e-x at least twice every week, while the highest readings were found in those restricted to less than once a month. But in women there was no significant variation.
Researchers are now calling on doctors to advise male patients at risk of heart disease to have more s-e-x.
They wrote in a report: “A good quality s-e-x life, frequent s-e-x and libido are all related to health in the middle-aged and elderly.
“Increased sexual frequency could have a protective effect on general health and quality of life – especially in men – so doctors should support patients’ s-e-xual activity.”
Dr Mike Knapton, of the British Heart Foundation, said the study produced an “interesting result” but did not prove regular s-e-x reduced homocysteine levels.
He added: “A relationship does exist between s-e-x and heart disease risk.
“Checking your blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as keeping active and not smoking, remain the best ways to ensure a healthy future.