advertisement
08 October 2015

Regular sex may boost a woman's fertility

Regardless of the time of the month, regular intercourse can help improve a woman's chances of conceiving.

0

Sex at any time in a woman's monthly cycle may trigger immune system changes that boost the likelihood of getting pregnant, a new study suggests.

The findings could eventually prove useful for couples trying to conceive, researchers from Indiana University at Bloomington said.

Outside the fertile window

"It's a common recommendation that partners trying to have a baby should engage in regular intercourse to increase the woman's changes of getting pregnant even during so-called 'nonfertile' periods although it's unclear how this works," said lead investigator Tierney Lorenz, from the university's Kinsey Institute.

Read: Good sleep key to good sex

"This research is the first to show that the sexual activity may cause the body to promote types of immunity that support conception," she said in a university news release.

"It's a new answer to an old riddle: How does sex that doesn't happen during the fertile window still improve fertility?"

The findings are based on information from 30 women who participated in the Kinsey Institute's Women, Immunity and Sexual Health Study. Half of the women were sexually active, half were abstinent.

Previous studies found that immune system changes occur during pregnancy, after childbirth and across the menstrual cycle, but this is the first research to show that sexual activity affects immune function, the researchers said.

Read: Older women still have active sex lives

"The female body needs to navigate a tricky dilemma," Lorenz said. "In order to protect itself, the body needs to defend against foreign invaders.

Shifts in immunity

"But if it applies that logic to sperm or a foetus, then pregnancy can't occur. The shifts in immunity that women experience may be a response to this problem."

The researchers found clear differences in immune system regulation between women who are sexually active and those who are not.

"We're actually seeing the immune system responding to a social behaviour: sexual activity," Lorenz said. "The sexually active women's immune systems were preparing in advance to the mere possibility of pregnancy."

The researchers also said these findings could potentially have an impact on treatments for autoimmune disorders in the future.

Read more:

Less sleep leads to less sex in postmenopausal women

A dodgy heart shouldn't hinder your sex life

What happens to a woman's sex life after 50?

Image: Intimate couple from iStock

 
NEXT ON HEALTH24X

More:

SexNews
advertisement

Live healthier

FYI »

When the flu turns deadly Why the flu makes you feel so miserable

Could a deadly flu strain hit SA this winter?

Following an intense flu season in the US and UK, should we be worried about our own upcoming flu season?

Alcohol and acne »

Dagga vs alcohol: Which is worse? SEE: Why you are drinking more alcohol than you realise

Does alcohol cause acne?

Some foods can be a trigger for acne, but what about alcohol? Dermatologist Dr Nerissa Moodley weighs in.