By Marie Cameron
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Sex after menopause brings more than pleasure. It lowers blood pressure, boosts immunity and reduces pain, according to a mass of evidence that has been piling up in recent years.
(WOMENSENEWS)--Here's some really really good news. A recent up-tick in research on post-menopausal women's sex lives has revealed a treasure trove of benefits.
Much of what we are learning comes from female physicians and scientists, especially from the Mayo Clinic, who have done pioneering work on women's sexuality after menopause. These include Dr. Janice Swanson; Dr. Mary Gallenberg, who studies testosterone therapy for women; and Dr. Jacqueline Thielen, who studies the differences between women and men's sexuality.
But plenty of other researchers are also making contributions and here's a sampling of their collective findings.
Frequent intercourse can be associated with lower blood pressure in stressful situations such as speaking in public, according to research published in the 10th edition of the book "Biological Psychology," edited by James W. Kalat (Wadsworth Publishing, 2008).
Researchers at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., have also found that having sex once or twice a week is linked to higher levels of an antibody called immunoglobulin A, or IgA, which protects against all types of infection.
In another study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, it was found that having sex twice or more a week reduced the risk of a fatal heart attack by 50 percent, compared to those who had sex less than once a month. For that study, scientists followed 914 people for 20 years. This work was reported by Carl J. Charneski, Ph.D., and Francis Brennan in their book, "Feeling Good is Good For You" (Rodale Press, 2003).
Not only that, sex strengthens pelvic floor muscles. It produces the same benefits as doing Kegel exercises and it builds the capacity for more pleasurable orgasms. It also helps strengthen the bladder, which may help some avoid bladder surgery.