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3 July 2008
Erectile Function: Use It Or Lose It
by George Atkinson

Use it or lose it. That's the message from a study published in the The American Journal of Medicine that suggests having sexual intercourse more often helps prevent the development of erectile dysfunction.

Based on a five-year study of nearly 1,000 men aged between 55 and 75, the researchers found that men who reported having sexual intercourse less than once per week had twice the incidence of erectile dysfunction compared with those men reporting intercourse once per week. Furthermore, it appears the risk of erectile dysfunction is inversely proportional to the frequency of sexual intercourse.

Specifically, the study reported that erectile dysfunction incidence was 79 cases per 1000 in men who had reported sexual intercourse less than once per week, dropping to 32 cases per 1000 in men reporting intercourse once per week and falling further to 16 per 1000 in those reporting intercourse 3 or more times per week.

The researchers noted that other possible factors that might influence erectile function - diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, depression, body mass index and smoking - were accounted for in the analysis of the data.

Interestingly, the researchers also found that the frequency of morning erections predicted the development of complete erectile dysfunction, with an approximate 2.5-fold risk among those with less than 1 morning erection per week compared with 2 to 3 morning erections per week

According to the research team, the study clearly indicates that regular intercourse protects men from the development of erectile dysfunction, which may, in turn, impact general health and quality of life. "Regular intercourse has an important role in preserving erectile function among elderly men. Continued sexual activity decreases the incidence of erectile dysfunction in direct proportion to coital frequency," concluded researcher Juha Koskimäki, from Tampere University Hospital in Finland.

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Source: The American Journal of Medicine

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