People who have suffered heart attacks may live longer if they engage in regular sexual activity, according to a new study published in The American Journal of Medicine.
According to the findings of the multi-decade study conducted by Israeli medical researchers at Tel Aviv University and Shaare Zedek Medical Center, an active sex life has been shown to be correlated with long-term survival following a myocardial infarction.
The study, which tracked 1,120 Israeli heart attack patients under 65 since the early 1990s, found an “inverse relationship” between sexual activity frequency and death, noting that not only did the frequency of intercourse prior to an incident correlate with lower mortality rates post-attack but that the frequency of post-attack sexual encounters also seemed linked to long-term health.
Survivors who had sex once a week had a 37 percent lower mortality rate than those who abstained following a heart attack. This fell to 33% among those having sex more frequently and 28% among those who engaged in intercourse less than once a week.
“Not surprisingly, the people who were sexually active were more likely to be in a relationship, were younger, and generally healthier,” Andrew Steptoe, who heads University College London’s department of Behavioral Science and Health told Reuters.
However, it is unclear if sexual activity only correlates with lower mortality or if there is a causal relationship. It is possible that those engaging in frequent sexual activity were healthier to begin with.
“Although regular sex is part of healthy aging, people should not feel that they ‘ought’ to have sex in order to try to live longer,” Steptoe cautioned.