July 14, 2017 | Posted in Editorial Features by
Brief sexy science lesson: You have cells, and you likely already know this. In your cells, you have chromosomes, and on the teeny tips of your chromosomes, you have something called telomeres. Telomeres are incredibly important for such little things - the longer these guys are, the less likely you are to develop a wealth of chronic diseases and signs of aging (think: cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc. etc.) Telomeres get shorter as you age, and that's just the way the cookie crumbles.
OR IS IT?
This here is a telomere, and it likes sex just as much as you do.
It turns out you can lengthen your telomeres at any point in your life by turning up the telomerase (the enzyme that makes telomeres). Beyond preventing diseases and early mortality, lengthening your telomeres does, in effect, reverse aging.
A study from the University of San Francisco recently set out to understand why, exactly, health is always linked to having an active and fulfilling sex life. After following 129 partnered women, they found that women who were sexually active during the week had significantly longer telomeres. More studies must be done on the topic (like seeing if the same is true for men and determining correlation vs. causation) but a number of things were controlled for in the study, including relationship health, stress, etc.) This is good news, folks, this is very good news.
There are a few hypotheses about the specific connection between telomerase and sex; lead researcher Tomás Cabeza de Baca stated that sex's ability to reduce stress and improve immune function may be to thank. Only time will tell, but until then - I say we all have as much sex as possible.