Quite a lot of what we fancy, apparently, does good, scientists have claimed.
Couples who have sex at least four times a week look more than 10 years younger than the average adult who makes love twice a week, says consultant neuro-psychologist Dr David Weeks, who has made a 10-year study of the subject.
"Pleasure derived from sex is a crucial factor in preserving youth. It makes us happy and produces chemicals telling us so," he claims.Dr Weeks said loving couples make more of an effort to keep themselves in good shape for their partners and will also benefit from the physical and emotional effects of sexual intercourse.
"There are physiological factors too," said Dr Weeks. "Sex is the most intense kind of pleasure and that triggers certain chemicals. In women it produces a human growth hormone which helps the process." Regular, loving sex came second to physical and mental activity as the factors most important to retaining youth.
The research discovered that people can benefit from working and socialising with younger and older people and from having younger partners. The study also concluded that people who look younger are more altruistic, confident and have more intellectual activity.
Dr Weeks warns it is loving intercourse with a regular partner, and not promiscuous sexual activity, which gives the most benefit. "Casual sex would bring a lot of the detrimental things to staying youthful such as anxiety and the absence of security. Both those things are associated with a loss of youth."