Image credit: iStock/grinvalds Image credit: iStock/grinvalds

We all read about tips and tricks that could help us live a longer, healthy life. From the latest fad diet to the newest form of exercise, there's always something hitting the headlines that should apparently improve our wellbeing and set us up for the years to come.

While eating kale and walking more may be two ways to improve your health levels, it also seems that there is a trick in the bedroom that is linked to a longer lifespan. No, this isn't anything kinky, instead, it seems that giving up sex could be the key to a longer - although maybe not happier - life.

Research performed by the University of Sheffield has found a link between long lives and celibacy. According to the study, celibacy is why nuns, priests and "spinsters" can outlive those who have regular sex lives, with a lack of aerobics in the bedroom department actually being beneficial.

Dr Michael Siva-Jothey, the leader of the research team, explained that nuns tend to live much longer than women with children. However, we can't help but think that this might be down to the stress of raising kids as opposed to the whole sex thing!

The scientists looked at mealworms for the study, which mate every day and die quite young. They found that the mealworms that avoided mating tended to live much longer than those who did so every day.

“The beetles which mate die sooner than the beetles which don’t mate,” Dr Siva-Jothey said. “The mechanism is not the same in humans, but the principle is the same. In beetles, mating released hormones needed to produce sperm in a male or eggs in a female and that had a negative effect on the immune system.”

This means that the beetles mating actually had an impact on their immune system, so it wasn't as strong when it came to fighting off illnesses. Effectively, this cut their lifespan down compared to the mealworms who stayed clear of the whole mating mess.

According to the researchers, this principle could be applied to other animals, including humans. However, more work is needed in the area to see if it is actually the case when it comes to people.

Of course, we aren't saying you should stop having sex altogether in order to live forever. Instead, being safe when you do have sex can save you from getting STIs that can impact your health - as well as stave off the stress of children until you're ready for them. Make sure you use condoms to protect you and your partners from sexually transmitted diseases and maybe don't give up the fun things in life just yet.