Original Illustration by Stephanie DeAngelis
The health benefits of sex are understandably well-documented—countless studies suggest it can help reduce stress, burns calories, and can even reduce the severity of pain. While we're used to reading about all the reasons we should spend more time between the sheets, a surprising new study offers a counterargument. Yes, according to British researchers, there's a reason you shouldn't have sex.
A team from the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom has news you probably won't want to hear: People who abstain from sex could actually live longer. Researchers studied beetles to find out how our sexual habits impact our overall health. According to Body+Soul, they found that those who mated every day died young, while those who abstained enjoyed a long and healthy life.
"In beetles, mating released hormones needed to produce sperm in a male or eggs in a female, and that had a negative effect on the immune system," explains lead researcher Michael Siva-Jothy, Ph.D. "The assumption then is that if the immune system is downgraded, that leads to a loss of longevity."
Before you discard their findings, Siva-Jothy says the study has implications for humans, too. "It is fair to assume that would be the same with other organisms including humans because mating has a dual effect—a positive one, but then a negative one on the immune system."
Not willing to become celibate in light of these findings? Boost your immune system naturally by eating citrus fruits, broccoli, garlic, and yogurt. Now that's health advice you can actually stick to.
Adopt this diet to extend your lifespan without compromising your sex life.