Sex May Help You Look Younger
-- Troubled by wrinkles around your eyes? Worried that your skin
is sagging, or those gray hairs are making you look your age?
So have sex.
three times a week can make you look 10 years younger, claims
a Scottish researcher.
for you to have good sex," says David Weeks, a clinical neuropsychologist
at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital, whose study on the effects of
sex on aging appears in his book, Secrets of the Superyoung.
Over the last
10 years, Weeks and his colleagues interviewed 3,500 European
and American men and women on a variety of lifestyle topics. Participants
ranged in age from 20 to 104, but most were 45 to 55 years old.
they had in common: They looked young for their age. That's what
a six-judge panel decided after watching the interviewees through
a one-way mirror. The volunteer judges guessed the participants'
ages from seven to 12 years younger than their actual ages, Weeks
topics ranged from how they deal with stress within relationships,
how they get along with their parents and high and low points
of their lives, to prior sexual experiences, how often they had
sex and whether they enjoyed it.
sex life, Weeks says, was the second-most important determinant
of how young a person looked. Only physical activity proved more
important than sex in keeping aging at bay, he says.
influences on keeping a person young-looking included socializing
with people of all ages, being married to or in a relationship
with someone younger and, for women, taking hormone replacement
therapy during menopause, Weeks says.
So, how often
should you do it?
participants had sex an average of three times a week, Weeks says.
By comparison, a group of men and women in the same age bracket
and from similar neighborhoods reported having sex an average
of twice a week, he says.
sex -- more than three times a week -- didn't seem to produce
any added benefits, Weeks says.
sex doesn't count
sex with different partners, or cheating, did not slow the aging
process, the researchers say. In fact, Weeks says, it may cause
premature aging from worry and stress.
"The sex doesn't
work without a good relationship," Weeks says. "It works via a
relationship that is very supportive and emphatic, in which both
people are physically and emotionally compatible."
that sex can be good for your health.
important to your health," says Dr. Barbara Bartlik, a clinical
professor of psychiatry at Weill Medical College of Cornell University
in New York City. "It promotes marital harmony. The stresses and
strains become more manageable when a couple is having sex regularly."
Ellison, a California psychologist and author of Generations
of Women Share: Intimate Secrets of Sexual Self-Acceptance,
says previous research has shown other physiological benefits
to sex as well.
Sex can burn
fat and cause the brain to release endorphins, naturally occurring
chemicals that act as painkillers and reduce anxiety, she says.
In men, sex seems to stimulate the release of growth hormones
and testosterone, which strengthens bones and muscles. In both
men and women, research has shown, sex also seems to prompt the
release of substances that bolster the immune system.
who have lots of sex, Ellison says, tend to eat better and exercise
times a week may not be optimal for everyone, she says. People
who are healthier and feel younger, for instance, may want more
adds, sex means different things to different people.
sex and orgasms are one and the same. In his study, the researchers
assumed that people who said they had sex three times a week also
had orgasms three times a week.
"Sex is the
most pleasurable activity people take part in, and because the
orgasm is the most pleasurable of that, it's hard to separate
it out," Weeks says. "It's hard to say if it accounts for 50 percent
or 75 percent" of the beneficial effects.
believes good sex can take many forms.
up in this idea that sex equals orgasm," Ellison says. "You don't
have to put on a performance when you have sex. You don't even
have to have intercourse."
with orgasm, especially among women, can make them feel like a
failure in bed when it doesn't happen, she says.
"The key is
not, 'How am I doing? Am I getting turned on fast enough? Is this
going to happen?' " she says. "The key is, 'Am I enjoying what
is happening at this moment?' "
those moments occur seems to depend on where in the world you
had the most sex in 1999, according to a recent survey of 18,000
men and women between 16 and 25 years of age conducted by SSL
International, the British manufacturer of Durex condoms.
average was 96 times a year, but Americans claimed to have had
sex 132 times a year, followed by the Russians (122), French (121)
and Greeks (115). Young Japanese made love the least often (32
times a year), the survey says.
also seem to be getting a head start on people from other countries,
reporting the earliest average age at which they started having
sex. Americans lost their virginity at an average age of 16.4
years, followed by Brazilians at age 16.5 and the French at 16.8,
the survey says.
had the most sexual partners, claiming an average of 16.7 each.
Greeks were second with 15 partners each, followed by Brazilians
with 12.5 and Americans with 11.8. Residents of India were the
most faithful to their partners, with 82 percent saying they had
sex with just one person.
says it's best to take the survey with a grain of salt. Researching
sexual behavior is difficult, she says, because it's hard to get
truthful answers. Some people inflate their answers on purpose,
and for many questions it's difficult to give precise responses
unless you've kept a weekly chart of sexual activity, she says.
is everything," Bartlik says. "Just look at the Woody Allen movie
[Annie Hall]. He says, 'We never have sex.' She says, 'We're
having sex all the time.' "
on other recent studies on sexuality, check out the Web site of
Institute, or to read more about the global survey, visit
Durex Web site.
Reference Source 101