The best thing to come out of Caerphilly

Caerphilly is a small commuter town in South Wales, notable mainly for Caerphilly cheese and a castle.

Well, you can add one more thing to that list; its inhabitants also provided some key data in a major health study, from which emerged one great finding — it turns out that if you’re male, sex twice a week reduces the risk of death from heart disease by about half:

Men who said they had sex twice a week had a risk of dying half that of the less passionate participants who said they had sex once a month, Dr. Davey-Smith’s team said.

No other risk factor showed a statistically significant link to the frequency of orgasm.

The authors said that they had tried to adjust the study’s design to account for a factor that might explain the findings — that healthier, fitter men with more healthy life styles engaged in more sex. Even so, they could not explain the differences in risk. Hormonal effects on the body resulting from frequent sex could be among other possible explanations for the findings, Dr. Davey-Smith said.

Here’s the science bit, via the BMJ — a paper entitled ‘Sex and death: are they related? Findings from the Caerphilly cohort study’:

Result: Mortality risk was 50% lower in the group with high orgasmic frequency than in the group with low orgasmic frequency, with evidence of a dose-response relation across the groups. Age adjusted odds ratio for all cause mortality was 2.0 for the group with low frequency of orgasm (95% confidence interval 1.1 to 3.5, test for trend P=0.02). With adjustment for risk factors this became 1.9 (1.0 to 3.4, test for trend P=0.04). Death from coronary heart disease and from other causes showed similar associations with frequency of orgasm, although the gradient was most marked for deaths from coronary heart disease. Analysed in terms of actual frequency of orgasm, the odds ratio for total mortality associated with an increase in 100 orgasms per year was 0.64 (0.44 to 0.95).

Conclusion: Sexual activity seems to have a protective effect on men’s health.

The perfect excuse ;) Thanks, Caerphilly!

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3 Comments

  1. Bart
    Posted April 30, 2008 at 15:52 | Permalink

    There’s also this, which was recently re-reported in the media as if it were new:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3072021.stm http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/291/13/1578

  2. Posted April 30, 2008 at 17:36 | Permalink

    Cheesus, that’s grater!

    (sorry)

  3. Posted April 30, 2008 at 21:04 | Permalink

    Bart — I don’t get that. The paper concludes: ‘our results suggest that ejaculation frequency is not related to increased risk of prostate cancer.’ There was no statistically significant correlation.

    I think that paper is not the Australian one the Beeb refers to — and in fact has an opposite conclusion. More research is clearly necessary ;)