Few people in their 20s and 30s need explanation why sex is important. Yet as we progress into 50s and 60s, our interest in sexual activity typically declines or even vanishes; many consider it a normal part of ageing. This is regrettable. Regular sex cannot be underestimated as a factor for reducing stress, bolstering self-esteem and fostering feelings of intimacy and bonding between partners.

Recent study conducted in the Netherlands investigated association between the cognitive function (sharpness of mind) and the attitude towards sexuality in older adults. As reported by the Wall Street Journal in the article describing the study (03/03/15, p.D3), only about a quarter of participants rated their current sexuality as important or very important. The same 25% of participants scored better than others in the cognitive tests. The association was particularly strong in women.

Indeed, a healthy sex life can provide for a longer, healthier and, most would agree, more enjoyable life. Here are some of the many health benefits of sex:

Heart Health. Sex helps to boost your heart rate, burn calories and strengthen muscles, just like exercise. In fact, research recently revealed that sex burns about 4 calories a minute for men and 3 for women

Improved Sleep. After sex, the relaxation-inducing hormone prolactin is released, which may help you to nod off more quickly. The “love hormone” oxytocin, released during orgasm, also promotes sleep

Stress Relief. Sex triggers your body to release its natural feel-good chemicals, helping to ease stress and boost pleasure, calm and self-esteem. Research also shows that those who have sexual intercourse responded better when subjected to stressful situations like speaking in public

May Help Reduce Risk of Prostate Cancer in Men and Improve Bladder Control in Women. Research has shown that men who ejaculate frequently have a lower risk of prostate cancer. Intercourse helps women to strengthen their pelvic floor muscles, which can help women to improve their bladder control and avoid incontinence.

The more often you have sex, the more likely you are to want to keep doing it. There’s a mental connection there but also a physical one, particularly for women. More frequent sex helps to increase vaginal lubrication, blood flow and elasticity, which in turn make sexual activity more enjoyable. As the Dutch study has shown, being in the top 25% is definitely beneficial!

This is a touchy subject. Many women feel that their decreased sexual desire is due to being busy, tired, or even a result of their age. All could be true. Yet for some women, decreased sexual desire is a medical condition known as Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder, or HSDD. Boston Clinical Trials is conducting a clinical research study designed to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of a “take-as-needed” investigational medication for premenopausal women with decreased sexual desire, the first of its kind.

To learn more about the study and to see if you qualify, please click here.