Wilkes University professor Carl Charnetski knows that sex is good for you. His research on how sex can boost the immune system has made him a popular figure for the media.
Charnetski’s research has found that having sexual intercourse at least once or twice a week boosts the immune system. Other activities and behaviors found to boost the immune system in Charnetski’s research include: exposure to sunlight, pleasant music, an optimistic outlook on life, petting a cat or dog and hopefulness.
Charnetski’s research is detailed in a book her co-authored with Francis Brennan called Feeling Good is Good for You. This book talks about their research examining immunoglobulin A in salvia.
Immunoglobulin A is antibody produced in the body. In addition to being found in saliva it is also found in the bloodstream and mucous membranes including the mouth, eyes, nose and genial-urinary tract. It prevents infections from entering the body and destroys harmful cells already there. Therefore Immunoglobulin A plays a significant role not only in the prevention of disease but in the resolution of disease as well.
112 college students who reported being in relatively stable relationships were the subjects for this study. The students were surveyed about how frequently they engaged in sexual activity and the subjects who reported having sexual intercourse a minimum of one to two times per week had higher levels of Immunoglobulin A in their saliva. This group of students had 30% higher levels than those who reported having sex less than one to two times per week. Subjects who engaged in sex more frequently showed no significant difference in the amount of the antibody. So it would seem that even in moderation sex has important health benefits.
Charnetski started out wanting to study the effect of romantic love on the immune system. One natural variable of romantic love that can be measured in frequency of sexual activity. While persons who report being in love also experience the euphoria and wellbeing that also accompanies sex, love being a personal definition can be difficult to measure scientifically.