Research has documented the psychological benefits of being in a high-quality relationship — but the benefits may be physical as well. Scientists in California have now found that sexual intimacy is associated with longer telomeres, the protective end caps on our DNA.
A preliminary study published online March 24, 2017, in the scientific journal Psychoneuroendocrinology found that women who reported having sex with their partner during the course of the week tended to have significantly longer telomeres.
“Past research has found that high quality, satisfactory relationships and sexual intimacy are good for physical and mental health,” explained lead researcher Tomás Cabeza de Baca of the University of California, San Francisco. “Based on this body of research, we wanted to explore whether there was a health-enhancing relationship between sexual intimacy, telomere length, a biological index of systemic aging and health, and telomerase, an enzyme produced by cells to lengthen telomeres. We also examined whether there was an association between relationship satisfaction, positive/negative partner interactions and our two measures of health (telomere length and telomerase activity).”
The study of 129 women found that recent sexual intimacy was positively associated with two measures of telomere length, even after controlling for other relevant factors.
“We measured telomere length and telomerase activity via blood draw. Of the three measures of telomere length, two were statistically significant – whole blood telomere length and Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cell (PBMC) telomere length. Women who reported being sexually active during the week had significantly longer telomere length across whole blood and PBMC than women who were not sexually active,” Baca explained.
Long telomere lengths are related to greater longevity and youthfulness. It slows down the aging process.
He who finds a wife, finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord (Proverbs 18:22).