Sexual activity can help prevent common adult onset cardiovascular diseases like Coronary Heart Disease (CHD same as CAD Coronary Artery Disease) and endocrine diseases like Type 2 Diabetes.


Frequent vaginal intercourse, infrequent masturbation and to a lesser degree other non coital partnered sexual activity has been shown to be related to decreased hip and waist circumference in both men and women. In women, both a larger waist size and a higher waist-hip ratio are associated with Coronary Heart Disease (CHD or CAD) risk. In men, larger waist size is considered to be the most powerful anthropometric measure of CHD/CAD.

In both sexes, an increased waist circumference is the strongest predictor of Type 2 Diabetes (Brody, 2004; Mamtani & Kulkarni, 2005; Rexrode et al., 2005)

Further analysis of the Caerphilly study (see “Sex and longer life”) examined the relationship between engaging in sexual intercourse and experiencing heart disease and stroke. Researchers found that even when adjusting for age and other risk factors, frequent sexual intercourse – twice or more a week – was correlated with lower incidence of fatal coronary events. Upon a 10-year follow-up, those who reported an intermediate or low frequency of sexual intercourse – less than once a month – had rates of fatal coronary incidences twice that of those who had reported high frequency of sexual intercourse. Using similar methods, researchers found that frequent sexual intercourse did not result in an increased risk of stroke. This finding is particularly important, given a prevailing belief that frequent sexual intercourse may cause strokes (Ebrahim, et al., 2002).

Additional research with middle-aged men suggests a relationship between the levels of the hormone dehydroepiandrostone (DHEA), which is released with orgasm, and a reduction in the risk of heart disease (Feldman, etal., 1998). Testosterone, the hormone important to the sex drive in women and men, has also been shown to help reduce the risk of heart attack and to reduce harm to the coronary muscles when heart attack does occur (Booth, et al., 1999; Fogari, et al., 2002).

An earlier study, conducted from 1972 to 1975, examined the sex lives of 100 Israeli women hospitalized with myocardial infarction in comparison to a control group of 100 women whowere hospitalized for other reasons. The controlgroup was matched for age. Patients were given a 57-item interview about their sex lives, including the incidence of “frigidity” and the onset of menopause. “Frigidity” was indicated by a lack of enjoyment of sexual intercourse, an

3 inability to achieve orgasm during coitus that led to emotional distress, and/or a lack of orgasm, sexual enjoyment, and/or sexual intercourse due to a partner’s illness or impotence.

The study found a statistically significant positive correlation between sexual “frigidity”, sexual dissatisfaction, and a history of heart attack (Abramov, 1976).

White Paper

Published by the Katharine Dexter McCormick Library Planned Parenthood Federation of America 434 West 33rd Street New York, NY 10001


Current as of April 2003

The Health Benefits of Sexual Expression

Published in cooperation with the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality

Benefits of orgasm – masturbation – sexual intercourse in CAD DM


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