All those explorers looking for the fountain of youth should have just headed home, and then straight to the bedroom. According to new research, the secret to looking a whopping seven years younger is to have regular sex.

Dr David Weeks, former head of old age psychology at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital, has said that people in their later years should be aware of the health benefits of having an active sex life.

older couple sex

He went on to explain that sex releases endorphins or 'feel good' chemicals, which helps to reduce anxiety, and acts as a natural painkiller - which can help improve quality of sleep. He also said that the exercise promotes circulation to the heart and - crucially - causes the human growth hormone to be released which gives the skin better elasticity.

This isn't the first time however that sex has been recommended for older couples - the Times of India reported that anti-ageing expert Dr Eric Braverman believes an active sex life can help you look and feel younger by boosting the skin''s production of Vitamin D.

There are other theories that indicate sex is especially good for women because with age, oestrogen levels decline but having sex means your body produces more oestrogen. Apart from the calories you're also burning (on average it's about 5-10 per minute), it also enables the production of collagen which helps ward off age spots and sagging.

Dr Weeks added: “The stereotype of an elderly person is that when they get their pension and bus pass, they stop having sex and that’s not true.

“Sexual satisfaction is a major contributor to quality of life, ranking at least as high as spiritual or religious commitment and other morale factors, so more positive attitudes towards mature sex should be vigorously promoted."

Here are some sex tips from HuffPost US:

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  • It's Not Over

    Everything in our culture makes people, and women in particular, feel that after the age of 40, they're no longer sexually attractive, and this belief gets internalized. But researcher Gina Ogden, in conducting her famed Isis study (a national survey of sexuality and spirituality), found that women in their 60s and 70s were having the best sex of their lives -- people need to understand that the brain is the most important sex organ in the body!

  • Hardware vs. Software

    Men and women get into sexual patterns in their teens, 20s and 30s that never change. So in recognizing this, we need to say, "the hardware is going to stay the same, but we can update the software." And you can update the software by trying different things, but mostly by getting to know yourself.

  • Practice, Practice, Practice

    If your body is an instrument, then you're only going to get better by practicing. And quite frankly, from a health standpoint, there isn't a better use of your time. Men take erection-enhancing drugs to increase nitric oxide in the penile blood vessels, but they can increase nitric oxide themselves by improving their sex lives either on their own or with a partner. Orgasms trigger a huge burst of nitric oxide, which balances the neurotransmitters in your body -- the same neurotransmitters that people take drugs to balance. It's a shame because antidepressants lower one's ability for full sexual expression, so the one thing that could really decrease depression is the one thing that the drugs quiet down. People don't realize that you can turn on chemicals in your own body without importing unnatural drugs to do it for you.

  • Get Fit

    If you're fit, you're much more likely to have a satisfying sex life. Being and feeling healthy and being and feeling sexy are synonymous. I just spoke to a 70-year-old friend of mine -- a total fox -- who's trying his luck on eHarmony. So we talked about what people in his demographic are looking for, and we both agreed -- health! When you're healthy and your hardware is working the best it can, you can focus on downloading new software.

  • Take Your Time

    Women need to understand that they are far more complicated sexually than men are. For men, the focus is in the genitals. But with women, sex is like a martial art, and women need to master that art and have the ability to move sexual energy around, manipulate sounds and focus on certain areas. The beauty of being over 50 is that you have more time to practice this. Women need 45 minutes to get fully turned-on. Do you know how long the average couple spends making love? 15 minutes. Slow down! Take time!

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