How many times have you heard the idea of someone getting so sexually excited, or so vigorous during sex, that their ‘ol ticker just suddenly gives out and they are struck down in the heat of the moment.
Death, as Futurama might put it, by snoo-snoo.
But now we can all rejoice because, apparently, the chances of sex triggering a catastrophic heart attack (or any heart attack at all) are significantly lower than movies and soap operas might have you believe.
The notion that sex is linked with heart attacks isn’t an uncommon one, nor is it entirely without encouragement.
Just recently one of the local UK tabloids did a feature on how sex can raise heart attack risks (with an eye-catching title to match these claims). It’s only after reading the study that you find out that it was a survey of just 650 people based on interviews of what people were up to prior to the heart attack, and only addressed people who were already suffering from heart disease (half of which were aged between 45-60 and some of whom admitted to other factors such as little to no exercise).
What’s more, this feature does not link the study, or even name the doctors. It just suggests that the study was undertaken in the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, and that it was published in the journal Heart. Far from extensive.
Conversely, the latest study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, and undertaken at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, Los Angeles, by a research team of several individuals, is linked above, and has been reported on by multiple publications.
In this study researchers analysed data spanning from 2002 to 2015, taken from 4,560 cases of cardiac arrest, based on the recorded data taken from emergency personnel concerning the situation leading to the attack.
In this study less than 1% of men had a heart attack during sex (or 15 minutes afterwards) and 0.1% of women found themselves in this situation.
Of course, the researchers agree with the Stockholm team that, if you have pre-existing issues, especially if they’re severe, then you may need to discuss sex with your doctor prior to jumping in to it, but the average Joe (Janet or Jean) is probably going to be a-okay.
Equally, the Los Angeles team did acknowledge that sex for someone with a pre-existing condition may also cause a slight increase in risk during sex (peaking at about 120bpm at its height) but that
Although sexual activity, as well as other physical exertion, may transiently slightly increase one’s risk of cardiac arrest, the overall long-term health benefits of exercise far outweigh the possible risks – Dr. Aapo L. Aro
Which got me wondering…What are some of the long-term benefits of sex?
#1 An Increase In Exercise
As you saw in Dr. Aro’s above quote, sex is technically a form of cardiovascular exercise.
Some people even log it on their Fitbits.
It is, after all, a form of physical activity which involves an exertion of energy and the rapid increase of one’s heart rate. And, if you ask the NHS, heart health is the number one benefit from regular sexual activity.
Most men will burn about 4 calories per minute during sex and women will burn about 3 (with one study clocking in sex at an average of 101 calories burnt per session for men and 70 for women) which, although not optimal by any means, does represent one of those little lifestyle changes we can incorporate to get in that daily dose of ‘get moving’ motivation.
Besides, as we all know, calories aren’t the only aspect of good health and fitness, and different sexual positions can train or stress different muscles, helping them to grow and improve for the next sex session.
#2 Boosting The Immune System
A study in Pennsylvania found that students who had sex once or twice a week had higher levels of Immunoglobulin A (IgA) than those who did not, 30% more to be precise. IgA is a vital component in fighting off illness, suggesting that more frequent sex can lead to an improved immune system.
Yvonne K. Fulbright, PhD also reports that people who have sex more frequently typically seem to have less sick days, which might substantiate the above study.
More research needs to be done on this, but the current data is very hopeful (especially if you love sex).
#3 Lowering Blood Pressure
Believe it or not, just hugging has been shown to lower a person’s heart rate and decrease blood pressure, creating wonderful stress-busting sensations, but this is doubly the case for sex.
This is partially substantiated and covered in the first point (exercise generally is known for lowering blood pressure, helping manage weight, and decreasing your chances of chronic illnesses) but a 2008 study found that sex had a specific impact on systolic hypertension and systolic blood pressure, in a way that other forms of intimacy (including masturbation, tragically) just did not.
#4 Helps Improve Bladder Control
This is especially pertinent for those with a vagina.
Having sex, and the act of climax, does a lot to get your pelvic floor muscles clenching, releasing, tensing, and generally moving around.
In addition to being linked to the sensation of climax, these muscles also have a huge role to play in things such as bladder control, and, like any muscle, they need exercise.
Regularly exercising your pelvic floor muscles will help them get stronger which, in turn, gives increased bladder control, stronger sensations during sex, and (reportedly) more sensational orgasms.
So, in this way, sex is literally an exercise routine for your pelvic floor muscles and a very good one at that!
(And, rejoice, masturbation will have similar effects)
#5 Reduces The Risk Of Prostate Cancer
Who would I be if I didn’t balance the scales a little bit and address both sexual anatomies?
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that men who ejaculated frequently (about 21 times per month as the optimal) had less of a risk for prostate cancer compared to those who ejaculated infrequently.
This is another study where masturbation and wet dreams also counted towards the lower cancer risk. So whenever you jack off or get down to some fun times, rejoice knowing that you are participating in a valid form of cancer prevention.
And That’s All For Now!
Ultimately, you’re probably more likely to kick the bucket from driving and having sex than you are from having a heart attack during the act (or from cows. Cows kill more people than sharks and are classified as the UK’s deadliest large animal).
Plus, with a study of over 3,000 individuals aged between 57-85 reporting that sex made them feel healthier and happier, is there really any arguments to be made against the many benefits of sex?
Sex may get your heart racing but it does so in the best way possible, so don’t fear fucking. It really is nature’s body booster.