One of my best memories of the recent sex therapy conference that I recently attended was when I met the 84 year old grandmother of one of the PhD students attending the conference. Actually, she was accompanied by both her mom and sister too and the whole family was being interviewed about the ‘hottest thing’ they saw in Phoenix at this AASEC T conference. The grandmother said in her slow and steady Midwestern accent, that ‘she must be the hottest thing there, as she has been loving sex for most of her 84 years.’ When I asked her if her if she thought her sex life kept her young, she responded, ‘Well, maybe when I am having it.’
I never was really drawn to the idea of anti-aging medicine until recently. It might be my newly sagging skin on my neck or the inability to read small numbers that has finally woken me up to the inevitable. Recently, I am experiencing my age all over my body in ways that are common to the point of cliché and yet surprising me regularly. Don’t get me wrong, aging isn’t some helpless downward spiral. I am continuously vigilant about everything from my work out routines, dinner ingredients, posture and my hair coloring appointments (no the purple isn’t natural…). The only time when my aging process completely recedes from view is when, like my 84 year old friend, I am making love. Great sex is like a time machine, suddenly I am twenty years younger (as long as I have my reliable product aids) and my passion for life and love is as wild and unencumbered as it ever was.
I am not alone in this discovery. In the quickly growing science of anti-aging the studies are mounting that support the notion that “An active sex life slows the aging process.” Dr. David Weeks, author of ‘Secrets of the Super Young’ cited a study of 3,500 people ages 30 to 101 and found that a regular sex life contributed to participants looking between four and seven years younger than their chronological age according to impartial ratings of subject photos. It is no wonder when you consider that people who engage in regular and satisfying sex; sleep better, feel less stressed and are generally more content with their lives. All are good reasons that great sex takes years off your face.
Not surprisingly, the study also found that it is not the same sexual experience that adds youth and longevity to life for men and women. For women, the enjoyment or quality of the sexual experience was more important to their longevity while the frequency of the act was the case for men. In a related study of 100 women with heart disease, sexual frigidity was present in 65% of the coronary patients compared with the control group. Clearly the notion of use it or lose it applies not only to genital functioning but to our heart functioning as well.
Michael Roizen MD, further explored this seminal work in the 1990’s with his book ‘Real Age- Are you as Young as You Can Be?’ He states that “Having sex at least twice a week can make your Real Age 1.6 years younger than if you had sex only once a week.’ He defines ‘real age’ as “an estimation of your age in biologic terms, not chronological years.” Although the relationship between sexual activity/frequency and health/longevity is still a chicken and egg discussion, and research has not determined which is the cause and which the effect- there is no question that sex and long life are clearly related.
Listening to the octogenarian students who attend summer classes at University of Wisconsin to learn how to maintain their skills and update their knowledge about their sex lives provides a realistic and inspiring view of the fact that our sexuality is part of us at every age in life, and is in fact the one part of us that keeps us forever young.