Sex does the body good - Health - Forbes.com - NBCNews.com In one of the most credible studies correlating overall health with sexual frequency, Queens University in Belfast tracked the mortality of about 1,000 middle-aged men over the course of a decade. The study was designed to compare people of similar age and health. Its findings, published in 1997 in the British Medical Journal, were that men who reported the highest frequency of orgasm enjoyed a death rate half that of the laggards. Other studies (some rigorous, some less so) purport to show that having sex even a few times a week has an associative or causal relationship with the following: Improved sense of smell: After sex, production of the hormone prolactin surges. This, in turn, causes stem cells in the brain to develop new neurons in the brain's olfactory bulb, its smell center. Reduced risk of heart disease: In a 2001 follow-up to the Queens University study mentioned above, researchers focused on cardiovascular health. Their finding? That by having sex three or more times a week, men reduced their risk of heart attack or stroke by half. Weight loss, overall fitness: Sex, if nothing else, is exercise. A vigorous bout burns some 200 calories about the same as running 15 minutes on a treadmill or playing a spirited game of squash. The pulse rate, in a person aroused, rises from about 70 beats per minute to 150, the same as that of an athlete putting forth maximum effort. Should individuals who don't have sex have to pay a tax because they engage in an unhealthy lifestyle?