More sex means living longer, says science. One doc claims it can add up to eight years to your life.
At a school reunion last summer, one former classmate looked 10 years younger than the rest of us. Someone finally asked his secret. “Three orgasms a week,” he said, to laughter. Later I asked him if he was serious, and he referred to a study showing that, when all the various scientific claims for improving longevity are fed into one database, you gain two extra years by flossing every night and three years by having more than three orgasms a week. It went against all the negative folk wisdom I’d heard about how having too much sex could drain me of my “chi,” bring on depression, or even lead to a stroke.
As it turns out, the benefits of sex are a factor in all three categories of male mortality — heart disease, cancer, and environmental causes (stress, accident, suicide) — and plenty of scientists are pushing the idea that the more sex you have the longer you’ll live. The Johnny Appleseed of the theory is Michael Roizen, a 62-year-old doctor who chairs the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic.
“For men, the more the better,” he says. “The typical man who has 350 orgasms a year, versus the national average of around a quarter of that, lives about four years longer.” And more than those extra four years, Roizen says, the men will feel eight years younger than their contemporaries. Is there an optimal number of orgasms for the average man? Roizen suggests, with a straight face, that 700 a year could add up to eight years to your life. This is an ambitious prescription: The average American adult male has sex just 81 times a year.
Roizen’s formula may be new, but the benefits of sex and orgasms have been tracked for years, and there’s some compelling hard evidence to back Roizen’s claims. A Swedish study done in the ’80s found that 70-year-olds who made it to 75 were the ones still having sex, and a Duke University study that followed 252 people over 25 years concluded that “frequency of intercourse was a significant predictor of longevity.”
Do it now:
Have sex for up to 13 minutes. A recent survey from Penn State University in Erie found that seven to 13 minutes of intercourse (from the time the penis enters the vagina until ejaculation) was most enjoyable. Respondents, who consisted of psychologists and doctors, among others, also found that one to two minutes was too short and 14 to 30 minutes too long.