Children may make us feel older, but by getting in the way of our fun sex lives, they might actually be making us age more quickly. Nothing kills the mood like a toddler in your bed having a dream about throwing a tantrum. But now it’s time to boot the kids out of the bed, or make a standing appointment for sex, because a new study indicates that regular sex can slow the aging process in women.
Raise your hand if you thought you’d never be the sort of person who had to schedule sex appointments with their partner. How unromantic, right? But then you have a kid, and next thing you know you’re putting things like “Go home for sex, 1:15 p.m.” as a standing date in your Google calendar, because otherwise you know you can hit six months or longer without blinking.
Having your phone remind you to have sex might be embarrassing, but now it looks like there’s another reason to do it, because according to a new study, sex might actually help slow down the aging process. (Also, doctors are prescribing vibrators and dildos to help with menopause symptoms in many of their older patients.)
Look at the telomeres on that sexy old lady
According to the research published in Psychoneuroendocrinology, women who say they have sex at least once a week had longer telomeres than women who reported being in a longer dry spell.
Telomeres are the caps on our chromosomes that prevent damage to our DNA. They shorten with age and other influences (stress and alcohol both reportedly shorten telomeres), and shorter telomeres are associated with the aging process and also many of the diseases we tend to associate with age.
The study looked at 129 women who have long-term sexual partners and children, so it’s a small cross-section. But the researchers say that even after controlling for other possible sources of telomere lengthening and shortening in their study, the women who have sex regularly had longer telomeres.
This was just a small, exploratory study, so it shouldn’t be taken as gospel just yet. There could be other things going on that affected the results of the study. (For example, maybe the shorter telomeres are contributing to the women having less sex, instead of more sex giving them longer telomeres.) Still, it indicates that there could be a connection between one’s sex life and aging, which will be a pretty interesting subject for further study.
In the meantime, though, parents with sexual partners might want to schedule that Google alert. Can’t hurt, right?
(Image: iStockPhoto / KatarzynaBialasiewicz)