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Can sex twice a week cut a man’s risk of heart attack by almost half?

Men who have sex at least twice a week can almost halve their risk of heart disease, according to a report in The Telegraph.

It's certainly goods news for Valentine's Day, but unfortunately life – and science – isn't so simple.

The British newspaper said scientists at the New England Research Institute in Massachusetts tracked the sexual activity of 1,000 men, aged 40 to 70, who were taking part in a long-term project called the Massachusetts Male Aging Study, which began in 1987. Over a 16-year period, each man was routinely quizzed about how often they had sex and then checked for signs of heart disease.

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The results, published in the American Journal of Cardiology, showed that men who made love at least twice a week are up to 45 per cent less likely to develop life-threatening heart conditions than men who have sex once a month or less.

"In a report on their findings, researchers said the benefits of sex could be due to both the physical and emotional effects on the body," according to the Telegraph.

But the article doesn't actually quote the authors of the study. And therein lies a problem with this report.

Researchers tend to be cautious and usually point out the limitations of their studies – because, if they don't, their colleagues will.

It's highly likely the researchers would have mentioned that this study has found only an association – it does not prove cause and effect.

It could be quite accurate that men who have lots of sex tend to have less cardiovascular disease. But it may not be the sex that is keeping a heart attack at bay. Other factors may be responsible for maintaining a healthy ticker. For instance, men who have frequent sex may also exercise more and be generally fitter than their less amorous peers.

So, men, the next time you feel in the mood, don't use the excuse that it's good for your heart. Your sweetie will know it's a con.

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