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Sex makes you younger - it's true!

Source: http://www.theherald.co.uk/news/archive/10-10-19100-22-42-31.html
October 10, 2000

zALL the knee trembling, racing heartbeats, kinky underwear, and sleepless nights were worth it.

Enjoying an active sex life can make you look up to seven years younger, it is being claimed by a team of Scots sex researchers. You do not even have to get out of bed to benefit. The secret of the "superyoung" is to keep the sex life going, despite the age-old excuse of a headache or the distraction of something good on late night television.

Authors of a new book say improving your sex life can lead to significant reductions in stress, greater contentment, better sleep, and an increase in male testosterone output. Dr David Weeks, head of Old Age Psychology at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital, and science writer Jamie James, say two things are important for maintaining a youthful appearance:

Yup - Exercise and Sex. No, they are not the same thing. Hillwalking can give you regular aerobic exercise, as well as a rewarding packed lunch and a pretty view. About 40 minutes a day can add as much as 12 years to a person's life. To look younger requires much less - three brisk one-mile walks a week will help you look between five and eight years younger in middle and later years.

But having great sex is more challenging. Sex is a chemical thing. It releases beta-endorphins in the brain, natural painkillers, and human growth hormone.

In their new book, Secrets of the Superyoung, Dr Weeks and Mr James say: "Sexual intercourse, most people would agree, is one of the most pleasurable of human experiences. When it culminates in orgasm, the body feels good, setting in motion further physical responses.

"Like a number of other stimulating sensations, sex releases a group of substances in the brain, among them the beta-endorphins, natural painkillers that can also alleviate anxiety. The major advantages arise from improved circulation, bone strength and immune-system functions as a more favourable muscle-to-fat ratio in the body, caused by a small rise in the growth hormone."

The authors claim that vigorous sexual intercourse exercise triggers a small release of human growth hormone. This can reduce fatty tissue and increase lean muscle in various parts of the body, giving a more youthful appearance. As any ageing Lothario knows, if you look younger you stand an even better chance of getting more sex.

What is more, the authors say we can do it in our sleep: "Of course, these secretions are not only triggered by sex - sleeping dreams and waking fantasies may also cause the process to take place."

To reach their erotic conclusions, Dr Weeks and Mr James interviewed 95 people in the south-east of Scotland who looked very young for their age and compared their lifestyle with a similar number whose appearance roughly matched their years. They found sex was a big part in the lives of people who looked "superyoung." Regular sex kept them young.

However, they admitted the significance of the sex factor and its link to health came as a surprise.

Fitting the superyoung profile should be as important to us as eating healthily, or keeping a scrupulous hygienic routine. Compared to people who looked their age, the superyoung have more satisfying romantic relationships over the course of a lifetime, enjoying lots of great sex in "mature, mutually shared erotic unions".

They frequently form friendships and have love affairs with people 10 years or more younger than themselves. The superyoung are very confident about their sexual orientation and gender role.

The study also found that people who look young are more likely to have no children. If they are parents, they have smaller families. They also tend to be athletic, travel often, sleep well, prefer red wine and dark chocolate, are more likely to tell the truth, and read more and watch less television.

The good living does not stop there. Non-smokers were outnumbered by about 20 to one. But atypically, the superyoung who enjoy a love affair with the naughty things of life throw caution over BSE to the wind and opt for red meat.

- Oct 10

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