“Sex is natural, sex is good,” George Michael once sang. “Not everybody does it, but everybody should.” Especially because research shows it’s good for heart health. A 2010 study by the New England Research Institute observed 1,000 men over the course of 17 years, and found that those who had sex at least two times a week were 45 percent less likely to have heart disease than men who had sex once a month or less.
Thankfully, women aren’t left out of the equation, either. A 2016 study found that women who have frequent sex have a much lower risk of hypertension, a precursor to heart disease.
Fun-but-also-slightly-weird fact: In 2010, Brazil’s health minister recommended that the citizens of Brazil, many of whom had high blood pressure, should remedy the problem by having more sex (with protection, he was quick to add). He was actually on to something: In 2016, researchers at Michigan State University found that women in their later years were less likely to have high blood pressure if they had a satisfying sex life.
I don’t have a blood pressure monitor in my Brooklyn apartment, but after sex, we both felt a palpable sense of calm and well-being. (And we’d always joke, “We should do this more often,” as if we were college friends meeting for coffee.)
Interestingly, not-so-great sex did not produce the same findings. Researchers think it may be that strong relationships that include sex reduce stress and promote psychological well-being—which, in turn, bolsters cardiovascular health.