Active sex life tied to long-term survival after a heart attack
(Reuters Health) – Heart attack survivors who have an active sex life are less likely than celibate counterparts to die in the decades following a first heart attack, a study in Israel suggests.
Researchers followed the fates of 1,120 men and women, who were 65 years old or younger at the time of their first heart attack, for up to 22 years.
During the study period, 524 people died.
Compared to people who reported not having sex at all during the year before their heart attack, those who had intercourse more than once a week were 27% less likely to die during the study period, while those who had sex weekly were 12% less likely to die and people who had some sex – but not often – were 8% less likely to die.
The connection between sex and survival odds appeared even stronger for people with active sex lives after they had a heart attack, but with smaller differences between the people who were sexually active.
Compared to survivors who never had sex, those who had sex less than once a week during the follow-up period were 28% less likely to die, while people who had sex weekly were 37% less likely to die and those who had sex more than once a week were 33% less likely to die.
“Not surprisingly, the people who were sexually active were more likely to be in a relationship, were younger, and generally healthier,” said Andrew Steptoe, head of the Department of Behavioural Science and Health at University College London in the UK.
People who had sex more than weekly in the year before their heart attack were 49 years old on average at the start of the study, compared to an average age of 58 for people who had no sex at all the year before their heart attack.