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Only last month, researchers at Nottingham University concluded that men who kept up a regular sex life in their 50s were also at lower risk of developing prostate cancer.
(Conversely, they found 'too much' sexual activity - more than 20 times a month - in the 20s and 30s could increase the risk.) In fact, the research seems to suggest that men - particularly older men - benefit the most from healthy effects of sex.
Another key neurotransmitter is serotonin, says Professor Farid.
'Serotonin is the body's key antidepressant chemical and one of the major reasons people smile and feel happy and relaxed after sex.' Sexually active women in longterm relationships were less likely to be depressed than women who went without sex, according to a study of nearly 300 women by American psychologist Gordon Gallup and published in the Archives Of Sexual Behaviour.
This backs up the findings of a major study five years ago by the National Cancer Institute, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Previous studies have suggested the reduced risk is due to the release of toxins from the prostate gland.
Some scientists have linked low levels of sexual activity to structural changes in the penis or testicles which appear to reduce them in size.
But one thing clear, and this applies to both men and women: you need to be having sex regularly if you don't want to lose the ability.'Regular sex increases the production of oestrogen,' says Dr Bowen-Simkins.As long as other symptoms, such as dryness, are not a problem or have been treated, having more sex can decrease the risk of vaginal atrophy which can occur with age, he says.'Use it or lose it' was the advice given to older men by Finnish scientists recently.They had followed 1,000 men aged between 55 and 75 for five years and found that those who had sex less than once a week at the start of the study were twice as likely to develop erectile dysfunction (see below) as those who had it at least once a week.
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That's likely playing a bigger part in their prostate cancer risk reduction.' 'Testosterone levels have been found to increase during and after sex,' says GP Dr Sarah Brewer.