Bed boogie, knock boots, shagging, rumpy pumpy, horizontal tango, whoopee, hanky panky, boink, roll in the hay, boom boom, home run – you know what I’m referring to. Even though Valentine’s Day is over, I’m sure we all still have a burning desire in our hearts for a little love and lust – but for this post, I want you to separate the two. We’re going to look at the latter in a different light – sexual activity for health and exercise (aka “sexercise”). Do individuals with healthy sex lives really live longer? Can you really ditch your trip to the gym for a workout in bed? Can people actually die from intercourse? Some risque researchers have set out to find the answers and put these sexy debates under the sheets for good.
Good: Longevity and Hanky Panky
This connection might not just be wishful thinking – a review by Chen, Tan, and Zhang referenced multiple studies that have shown a positive association with sexual activity and lifespan. A part of the Duke Longitudinal Study of Aging included a 25-year trial with 270 subjects that found the frequency of bed boogie as a significant positive predictor of longevity in men (no significant evidence for ladies). A Swedish study followed 128, 70 year-old, married men for 5 years and found that early cessation of the horizontal tango was associated with an increased risk for death, as compared with continuing sexual relations later in life.
Although we can’t make the bold claim that more frequent love-making causes someone to live longer, it definitely gets us thinking about what confounders could be affecting this relationship: Are more sexually active individuals less stressed? healthier eaters? more frequent exercisers (not just sexercisers)? All things to consider…
Bad: Workout vs. Whoopee
Are the two interchangeable? Sorry folks, only in your wildest dreams. The activity level of whoopee is usually compared to other physical activity using the metabolic equivalent of energy expenditure (METs). METs range from 0.9 (sleeping) to 23 (running at 22.5 km/hr) and rumpy pumpy usually averages around 2-4. In terms of pure physical exertion, you might be better off making the bed (3-5), instead of messing it up.
Activities that are comparable in METs to shagging:
- Walking <2 mph (2)
- Cleaning House (3)
- Light Gardening (2)
- Billiards (2.5)
Activities that have higher METs than a roll in the hay:
- Mowing lawn with hand mower (5.5-6)
- Bicycling at 10-16 mph (6-10)
- Strenuous Hiking (6-7)
- Running at 8 mph (13.5)
Keep in mind that these are generalizations. Energy expended during ANY type of physical activity varies from person to person depending on characteristics like age, weight, height, muscle mass, and lifestyle.
Ugly: Coital DEATH
Death has occurred in instances right before, during, and immediately after sexual intercourse. These happenings are rare, but since we’re talking about home runs, it’s only appropriate to cover all of the bases. Engaging in sexual activity slightly increases heart rate and blood pressure from resting values and therefore, it could be a trigger for heart attack. A review of the literature identified coronary heart disease, engaging in an affair, leading a sedentary lifestyle, and being a male as factors that may increase your risk of death by boom-boom. What may help reduce these risk factors?
- Eat a balanced diet with limited saturated fat intake
- Stick to one sexual partner
- Engage in regular exercise
- Be a female…
Take This to the Mattresses:
Choosing to be sexually active is a serious decision. If you make that choice, then be safe, smart, and responsible – otherwise be abstinent.
Happy Day After Valentine’s Day and TGIF!