Lionel Richie has become the latest celeb to speak openly about sex, following the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and Rachel Bilson.
Christina Aguilera even spoke out about how she felt swallowing sperm was good for her health. Lovely.
Now, the 73-year-old Endless Love singer has caused more waves by suggesting that the secret to his youthful look is sex, not surgery.
Yes, you read that right, Lionel has let us know that he is still very much active in the bedroom.
‘[Plastic surgery] locks you in for that year [while you recover] – and after that you can’t go naturally, you’re staying right there… You try and go back to reset, and you can’t,’ he said, adding: ‘[And] that s*** goes wrong!’ he told DailyMail.com.
When asked how he looks after his health at the Hollywood Beauty Awards, he added: ‘Water, sleep, and sweat, not too much red meat. I know it’s real boring. [Sex] will work also and it’s good for your heart.’
But is the sex the key to prolonged youth and heart health? Doctor Danae Maragouthakis, from Yoxly, an Oxford-based sexual health start-up, tells Metro.co.uk that Lionel might be on to something.
‘Good on him! It’s great that he’s staying active – all night long and all life long,’ she says.
Dr Maragouthakis points out: ‘Sex can have a number of positive effects on physical and mental health, which may indirectly influence the ageing process, making people feel better (and younger)!’
Dr Maragouthakis does point out, however, that ‘sex or sex at a specific frequency has not been scientifically proven to affect the rate at which the body ages’.
But this doesn’t mean it doesn’t have some notable benefits.
‘Sex can involve physical exertion, which may provide some benefits similar to exercise,’ she says.
‘Regular physical activity helps improve blood circulation, enhance muscle tone, and promote a healthy complexion, potentially contributing to a more youthful appearance.
‘However, the effects of sex on ageing are likely to be subtle and can vary among individuals.
‘Ageing is a complex process influenced by a number of things, including genetics, lifestyle choices, overall health, and environmental factors.’
When it comes to sex being good for your heart health specifically, Dr Maragouthakis says that, generally speaking, yes sex is good for your heart.
‘It’s a physical activity (increasing your heart rate, breathing rate, and blood flow) that promotes feelings of well-being, reduces stress, and improves quality of life,’ she says.
‘However, it’s worth noting that a scientific paper from 2016 concluded that “having sex once a week or more puts older men at a risk for experiencing cardiovascular disease events that is almost two times greater than older men who are sexually inactive”.’
Basically, sex is positively related to later risk of cardiovascular events for men but not women.
‘Even for those with heart disease, sex can still be safe – provided that their disease is stable and that they’re not experiencing symptoms (e.g. chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea, or irregular heartbeat),’ she adds.
‘If they’re able to comfortably climb stairs or easily walk a mile, then it should be safe for them to have sex. However, if there is any doubt, or they are experiencing symptoms, they should speak with their healthcare provider.’
Dr Maragouthakis goes on to say that your heart and looks aren’t the only things that sex positively impacts. It can reduce stress, anxiety and pain and improve sleep, mood, fitness and relaxation as well as your overall quality of life.
She says: ‘Sex triggers the release of certain “feel-good” substances, like oxytocin (aka the “love hormone,” which is associated with feelings of bonding, trust, and wellbeing) and endorphins (neurotransmitters associated with feelings of calmness and contentment), which can counteract or lower the levels of stress hormones (like cortisol or adrenaline).’
It can also ‘induce a state of relaxation and arousal, leading to a decrease in muscle tension’. All this helps with improved sleep.
In addition to oxytocin, sex can also aid production of prolactin (a hormone that can induce REM sleep), which is associated with further feelings of relaxation and sleepiness.
Lastly ,where reducing pain and improving quality of life is concerned, she says: ‘Sex can trigger the release of endorphins. Endorphins are naturally occurring chemicals in the brain that help reduce the perception of pain and promote feelings of pleasure and wellbeing.
‘Sexual intercourse is one way that humans are able to connect and cultivate intimacy, both of which, along with sexual satisfaction, contribute to quality of life.’
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