Want to stay healthy? Have more sex!

Ok, probably not the best idea I’ve had putting this story next to my birthday announcement, but what the hey:

“Data from the University of Chicago’s National Social Life, Health and Aging Project (NSHAP), presented in the August 23, 2007, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that many men and women remain sexually active–participating in vaginal intercourse, oral sex and masturbation–well into their 70s and 80s.

The survey also found that sexual activity was closely tied to overall health, which was even more important than age….”Social relationships are known to contribute to health and well-being in older men and women,” says Richard Suzman, PhD, director of the Social and Behavioral Research Program at the National Institute on Aging, which primarily funded the study. “This pioneering research gives us valuable insight into intimate social relationships, providing data clinicians may now draw upon to open better informed conversations with patients about sexuality and health.””

The survey also defined what was “normal” sexual activity for people over 57, which is a really obnoxious way to say “these things are more common.”
Normal implies ought, rather than is.

I have issues with ‘normality’ :D

I am, of course, extrapolating wildly from the published research in the title of this post, but I’m sure there are many Skepchick readers willing to volunteer to have lots of sex in their 30s, 40s, and 50s, in order to see if it does actually lead to increased health later in life.

There is some evidence that stimulating your brain by working on puzzles and increasing your vocabulary helps keep people alert as they age.  Therefore, in the interests of promoting your mental health, I present “Hot for Words.”


Bug_girl has a PhD in Entomology, and is a pointy-headed former academic living in Ohio. She is obsessed with insects, but otherwise perfectly normal. Really! If you want a daily stream of cool info about bugs, follow her Facebook page or find her on Twitter.

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  1. "There is some evidence that stimulating your brain by working on puzzles "

    Look, I care deeply about my brain, but I only have time for sex OR puzzles, not both.

    And don't even try to suggest combining them, youse crazy uber-geeks!

  2. Bad said: "And don’t even try to suggest combining them, youse crazy uber-geeks!"

    For some of us crazy uber-geeks, getting women to have sex with us is enough of a puzzle as it is…we don't need to turn the "physical act of love" into a puzzle as well.

    Perhaps it'd be better to turn it into a game? Battleship comes to mind.


    "Aw baby, you sunk my Destroyer!"

  3. I think "you sunk my battleship", particularly in the context of a heterosexual affair, would probably not be a helpful metaphor. :)

    Perhaps "Yahtzee!"?

  4. I'm frequently puzzled during sex. Is this a positive thing for my health and brain functioning, and is the sensation of puzzlement likely to persist past my early twenties?

    These are important questions that science must answer.

  5. Hey, sex IS a little puzzling. I mean it's not as simple as "tab (a) into slot (a)." What about slots (b) and (c)? Perhaps I'm being a little pusillanimous. (Am I the only one who gets a little turned on whenever a woman says "pussy?")

  6. I hope they took into consideration the fact that healthy, old people will have, or are at least more able to have more sex than unhealthy, old people.

    Personally I'll just ignore this information and keep comforting myself with the research on prostate cancer and masturbation.

  7. NORMAL amount.. harrumph.. I keep trying that logic with my wife and all she does is stary discussing statistics:

    "dear, for their to be a proper sample of the populous to obtain an average, there must be people on both ends of the bell curve. We represent those at the lower end and we are doing our part to not squew the numbers"…

    As I said, harrumph..

    Double harrumph..

  8. This reminds me of the old man in his 90's who went to see his doctor.

    Old Man: "Doctor I appear to be having some personal problems"

    Doctor: "Please speak freely, after all I am a doctor"

    OM: "Well, I have been having a problem…with…my sexual performance"

    Dr: "Ah! before I answer, could I ask how old you are?"

    OM: "Certainly I am 95"

    Dr: "and when did you first notice these problems?"

    OM: "Let me see…4 times last night and twice again this morning."

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