Having sex comes with a variety of health benefits, including boosting your immune system, reducing your risk of heart attack, easing stress, and even bolstering your brain health. Now, a new study published in the journal Royal Society Open Science has revealed another perk: having more sex can also delay menopause.
Researchers at University College London analyzed a decade's worth of data on almost 3,000 women in their 40s and 50s in the United States. They found that those who had sex on a weekly basis were 28 percent less likely to experience menopause than those who had sex less than once a month. And those who had sex monthly were still 19 percent less likely to experience menopause compared to those who had sex less often than that. (Within the study, sexual activity was defined as sexual intercourse, oral sex, sexual caressing, or masturbation.)
The researchers theorize that the reason for this link may be that if a woman isn't having sex, the body could stop investing energy into ovulation, leading to menopause.
"The findings of our study suggest that if a woman is not having sex, and there is no chance of pregnancy, then the body 'chooses' not to invest in ovulation, as it would be pointless," Megan Arnot, a PhD candidate in anthropology at University College London and lead author of the study, said in a statement.
"The menopause is, of course, an inevitability for women, and there is no behavioral intervention that will prevent reproductive cessation," Ruth Mace, professor of evolutionary anthropology at University College London, said in a statement. "Nonetheless, these results are an initial indication that menopause timing may be adaptive in response to the likelihood of becoming pregnant."
Of course, reproduction isn't the only reason to have sex, which, for the record, you can continue having well after you go through menopause. In fact, recent research has shown that people over 65 might be having the best sex of all! For more on this, check out: New Survey Says Seniors Are More Sexually Satisfied Than Younger Adults.