Sex is a favored way to make babies.
There is some interplay between reproduction, repair, and longetivity. In fact, worms live much longer when food is scarce and they put a hold on reproducing. And typically, what applies to worms applies equally well to humans. The book "Lights Out: Sleep Sugar and Survival" briefly discusses the hormones involved in some of this.
Arguing against sex is frowned upon. If a teenager Asks Alice about ejaculation frequency, she will always reply "Good for you! No go and masturbate as much as you can!" But really, we have many more stimuli for sex now adays (more people around, the birth of internet porn, etc) and birth control enables us to have sex with our partners all the time, all year round.
So...any insight here? Humans want to procreate, and procreation is intricately tied with hormones that regulate lifespan. I'm not asking Alice, because she'll just want me to ejaculate as much as possible. I'm also not looking for sex advice--no theoretical musings will limit how much sex I want to have. I'm just wondering if anyone has seen evidence on sex and longetivity that doesn't list those foofoo advantages from stress reduction and stuff. Yeah, people who have enough sex live longer, but the confounders are too...confounding. Science please.
Note: I'm also considering the possibility that we don't have ENOUGH sex now adays, on average. Low libidos for varying reasons, inability to find a partner, or whatever.
It actually lengthens it......if a man has 100 orgasms a year he can add ten yrs to his life. If a women has 50 I beleive she adds 7 years to hers. I believe this is was published in one of Dr Roizen's books out of the Cleveland Clinic (Real Age Makeover I think) and it is based upon the release of oxytocin and its effect on melatonin/prolactin and its effects on PPAR gamma and energy metabolism. So I think having sex makes you live longer not shorter.
I think you are going to find actual sex has less of an effect than the levels of sex hormones because human culture is so weird. There is ample evidence that men with very high testosterone levels die earlier, though there are some confounding factors there since that hormone is linked to aggressiveness and recklessness. However, often high-testosterone men, unlike high-testosterone gorillas, don't have much sex because they are a marginalized population in modern society, since they are not very good at keeping jobs and many are imprisoned. Prison inmates have high testosterone levels. Even women can struggle with high testosterone, but there is evidence that high levels of any sex hormone like estrogen can be bad for you.
Also, the people having the most sex in our society are not often the ones reproducing at the highest rate. I'm quite certain that having babbies can be exhausting to the female body. I'm not sure about semen and men, there is some evidence that masturbation semen prevents prostate cancer. It's true that Taoists say that it exhausts the body and mind, but most religions say that. It DOES supposedly increase testosterone though, which might be good for some men and bad for others.
Interestingly, though we associate cavemen with masculinity, hunter-gatherer men generally have lower levels of testosterone than American men.
You probably know that certain schools of Taoist sexuality hold that retention of semen is important to male longevity and health. Now some of these schools opt for celibacy and other for practicing a form of coitus reservatus. Of course, as far as I know, we have no scientific findings to support such a notion.
I practice coitus reservatus just to prolong sexual, however, I also notice that at my age when I do ejaculate, it sort of depletes me of energy.
By the way Kamal, you look a lot like Audrey Tautou!
Humans are made to have sex all the time, no matter season or partner's ovulation. It's a pretty good exercise, HIIT in a way ;-). All the hormones that are released are beneficial to our health, looks and satisfaction. It helps in relaxation, creates intimacy (and we know that social relations are crucial for human survival),
I think for us today sex is a source of stress more than all the positive things. We have to fit it into schedule, we are stressed that we wouldn't get enough sleep, we have too much worries on our mind, too much self-esteem issues and ridiculous expectations. Cortisol should have no room in intimate relations, but modern life is cruel.
I remember reading about more traditional sleep styles, where people were sleeping often in 4-5h blocks with 1-2h break, when people either just lied in semi-sleepy, drifty, relaxing stage, or often engaged in sex, with no pressure, no stress.
I don't know about frequency of sex as it relates to lifespan, but evolutionary biologist Michael Rose found that he could extend the lifespan of fruit flies by postponing the age at which they reproduce.
When I first read about this, I instantly thought of the strange (strange to me, someone who matured quite early) Western push to extend childhood well into late adolescence, especially prohibitions on sexual behavior/marriage. At sixteen, both I and my girlfriends were quite biologically ready for sex, and I'm certain that almost any earlier or non-Western culture would have considered us perfectly marriageable, just based on physical maturity; perhaps even a little past the prime age.
It's a stretch, but I wonder if somehow we've instinctively grasped that postponing reproduction is better for longevity. I have no idea at all how we would intuitively grasp that, but, well...it's a thought, anyway. ;/
My answer is "WHO CARES!? YOU ARE HAVING SEX!" I mean, really. I'm not a Grok re-enactor or anything, but frequency of copulation, along with frequency of quality feed, resulting in increased number of offspring - would have been a very Paleo "sign of success".
Maybe another factor to be considered is how you define 'sex'. Is this being purely limited to the act of intercourse itself or the wider definition?
Having sex can be as wide-ranging as simply kissing, cuddling, or massaging your partner, a candle-lit room, pleasant scents, or performing other intimate acts. Those acts all have a positive influence on the body by de-stressing, reducing tension, relaxing muscles and so on. Those factors are often likely to be as beneficial in the long term.
I'm not suggesting that you need to be in a long-term, monogamous relationship for this but a bit of tenderness goes a long way sometimes rather than just focussing on the reproductive act.
You mentioned worms living longer when they ate less and did not reproduce as much. I would say the extended lifespan was not due to decreased reproduction but the decreased caloric intake. Decreased sex seems like an effect - if calorically restricted worms and humans would default to repair mode and quit wasting energy on gametes.
I'm open to a looking over a study done specifically on limiting reproduction in humans and its effects, but from a simple biological point of view, reining onesself in doesn't make much sense.
Even if too much sex/orgasms can be proven to shorten life I'm not gonna stress over that and stop having lots of em. As far as life goes I think quality is more important than quantity!
"No sorry honey, I am trying to live longer... 1 round of sex/orgasm is enough for me tonight."
Not gonna happen, lol.
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