Small and short can explain a lot of things when it comes to sex. In this instance, it refers to a study that was conducted to see how many times a week you’d need to have sex in order to slow aging.
The study lasted a week and involved just 129 women — mothers, more specifically— in relationships.
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Researchers from the University of California in San Francisco found that women who had sex at least once during that monitored week had significantly longer telomeres. While that sounds potentially kinky, telomeres are very unsexy nucleoprotein caps at the end of DNA strands that protect chromosomes from deteriorating (i.e. aging).
Interestingly enough, longer telomeres were expressly tied to sex, not relationship or sexual satisfaction, as the study notes:
Analyses revealed no statistically significant associations of telomere length with current relationship satisfaction, daily support or conflict, or perceived stress. In contrast, women who reported any sexual intimacy during the course of the week had significantly longer telomeres measured in whole blood and PBMCs, but not in granulocytes.
Telomeres naturally break down in body from aging and not taking care of one’s health (too many drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, fast food, etc). But this study suggests that if you give your body a little TLC, including weekly sex, you can perhaps live longer.
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The study concludes that this is just preliminary data that sexual intimacy is associated with longer telomere length and that future studies investigating these associations are warranted.