The health benefits of an orgasm could be a lifesaver, especially during the menopause...

One of the great things about sex is that it doesn’t come with an upper age limit, so hitting your 50s doesn’t mean your sex life has to dwindle. In fact, 66%* of Brits say it’s still important to them now they’re older, which is good considering the health perks having an orgasm can 
give you.

Not only will it keep you emotionally connected with your partner (63% say it works for this*), but with feel-good chemicals oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin produced during foreplay and sex, it’s no wonder a new study by Lovehoney found it improves our mental health and happiness.

But there are other advantages making love can bring. Our experts, Dr Louise Newson, who has a private practice at Spire Parkway Hospital in Solihull, and Marilyn Glenville, author of The Natural Health Bible for Women (£19.99), have shared their thoughts…

Health benefits of an orgasm:

  • It can ward off heart disease

Those endorphins do more than just make you feel good – they also help to prevent heart problems by naturally neutralising your stress hormones. Research in Israel found that women 
who had two orgasms per week were 30% less likely to have heart disease, while scientists at Queen’s University, Belfast, discovered that sex three times 
a week could halve the chances of having a stroke or heart attack.

  • It’s better than 
the gym

And don’t underestimate the benefits being physical can have on your body. ‘Sex provides a good cardiovascular workout,’ says Dr Louise Newson, who has a private practice 
at Spire Parkway Hospital in Solihull. ‘Research has shown that 30 minutes of sexual activity could burn more calories than walking on a treadmill or doing 
40 minutes of yoga.’ Plus, all that movement can help keep bones strong. American researchers found menopausal women who have sex every week have oestrogen levels twice 
as high as those who don’t. Oestrogen, which is depleted during the menopause, helps protect bones, and a lack of it can lead to osteoporosis.

  • It can help strengthen your 
pelvic floor

While bladder problems during the menopause may put women off being intimate – it could be just the exercise 
you need, so it’s worth swapping those daily pelvic floor squeezes for something more exciting. ‘Regular sex is good 
for pelvic floor muscles, as it can strengthen them,’ says Dr Newson. 
‘This is because, 
during intercourse, the 
pelvic floor muscles naturally contract and squeeze so it leads to improved strength.’

  • It might help to boost your resilience to pain – and your immunity

Forget putting off sex because you 
have a headache – it can help with 
that, too. ‘The area of the brain involved 
in pain reduction is highly activated during arousal and endorphins are released, which can soothe nerve impulses that cause migraines or joint pain,’ says Dr Newson. While, at the 
same time, sex can also increase your immunity, so you won’t be prone to illness. A study in Pennsylvania found 
that people having sex more than 
once a week had 30% higher levels of immunoglobulin A, which can boost your immune system against cold and flu.

  • It can help you to look younger!

A report by Dr David Weeks found participants in the 40-50 year age group who had sex three times a week, looked five to seven years younger than 
their peers.

  • It keeps your vagina healthy

Regular intercourse also maintains the walls of the vagina. ‘When a woman is aroused, the lining of the vagina produces secretions, which helps to provide moisture,’ explains Dr Newson. ‘As women approach the menopause, the vaginal walls become thinner, dryer and less elastic, which can make sex painful. Regular sex helps avoid this and so makes a longer and pleasurable sex life more likely.’

The advantages for vaginal health can also be enjoyed if you go solo without a partner. ‘Masturbation can help prevent infections in the cervix and urinary tract through 
the process of opening the cervix, which occurs during arousal,’ 
says Dr Newson. ‘This stretches 
the cervix and allows unwanted cervical fluids to be flushed out. 
It can also help you sleep, as tension-releasing hormones are released during orgasm.’

Want to reignite your passion? Here’s what can help…

If you find your sex life lacking, you’re not alone – a survey by Woo Woo found 42% of women say life just keeps getting in the way of intimate time with your partner.

  • Balance your hormones. ‘Testosterone production can be reduced during the menopause, which for some women reduces to low enough levels to affect sex drive,’ says Marilyn. ‘Try taking zinc, essential for hormone balance.’ We love NHP Libido 
Support (£29.77, naturalhealthpractice.com).
  • Try and beat stress. ‘It’s one of 
the greatest psychological causes of low libido, so take time out every day to relax,’ 
says Marilyn.
  • Target dryness. ‘Omega-3 fats in oily fish and eggs keep the vagina lubricated and soft,’ says Marilyn. Plus, try a lubricant, such as YES VM (£9.99, yesyesyes.org), which comes with an applicator to target further up inside you.