Having sex on a regular basis could reduce the risk of early menopause, a new study has claimed.
Research conducted by University College London (UCL) found that women who engaged in sexual activity on a weekly basis were 28% less likely to experience the menopause within a ten year follow up period, compared to those getting intimate less frequently.
Meanwhile, having sex monthly reduced the risk by 19%.
It was found that many different forms of sexual engagement, including full intercourse, oral sex, touching or self-stimulation, contributed to reducing the likelihood of early menopause when done weekly or monthly.
The study, published in Royal Society Open Science, looked at the sex lives of 2,936 women at an average age of 45, over the space of two years.
None of the women had entered the menopause at the start of the study, however 46% were starting to experience symptoms of menopausal transition.
The rest of the women were pre-menopausal, having regular cycles and showing no symptoms of transition.
So why can it reduce the chances of entering the menopause earlier? The findings of the study suggested that lack of sexual activity sends signals to the body, telling it that pregnancy isn’t imminent and to “invest resources elsewhere”.
Megan Arnot, first author on the study, explains, “The findings of our study suggest that if a woman is not having sex, and there is no chance of pregnancy, then the body ‘chooses’ not to invest in ovulation, as it would be pointless.
“There may be a biological energetic trade-off between investing energy into ovulation and investing elsewhere, such as keeping active by looking after grandchildren.”
Meanwhile, author Professor Ruth Mace added however that there is no way to stop the menopause completely, and that it biologically will happen to all women.
She said, “The menopause is, of course, an inevitability for women, and there is no behavioural intervention that will prevent reproductive cessation.
“Nonetheless, these results are an initial indication that menopause timing may be adaptive in response to the likelihood of becoming pregnant.”