Dr. Weeks’ Comment: A moment of contemplation on the conclusion of this study, by anyone with a sense of irony, yields a chuckle.
“…good sexual quality seems to protect women but not men from cardiovascular risk in later life…”
Is Sex Good for Your Health? A National Study on Partnered Sexuality and Cardiovascular Risk among Older Men and Women
ABSTRACT Working from a social relationship and life course perspective, we provide generalizable population-based evidence on partnered sexuality linked to cardiovascular risk in later life using national longitudinal data from the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project (NSHAP) (N = 2,204). We consider characteristics of partnered sexuality of older men and women, particularly sexual activity and sexual quality, as they affect cardiovascular risk. Cardiovascular risk is defined as hypertension, rapid heart rate, elevated C-reactive protein (CRP), and general cardiovascular events. We find that older men are more likely to report being sexually active, having sex more often, and more enjoyably than are older women. Results from cross-lagged models suggest that high frequency of sex is positively related to later risk of cardiovascular events for men but not women, whereas good sexual quality seems to protect women but not men from cardiovascular risk in later life. We find no evidence that poor cardiovascular health interferes with later sexuality for either gender.