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J Sex Marital Ther. 2003 Oct-Dec;29(5):371-80.

Vaginal intercourse frequency and heart rate variability.

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Institute for Medical Psychology and Behavioral Neurobiology, University of Tübingen, Germany.


We examined the relationship between recalled and diary recorded frequency of penile-vaginal intercourse (FSI) and both resting heart rate variability (HRV; an index of cardiac autonomic control and parasympathetic tone associated with cardiovascular health outcomes) and resting diastolic blood pressure (DBP) in 120 healthy adults aged 19-38 (subjects scoring above the 87th percentile on the Lie scale of the Eysenck Personality Inventory were excluded from analyses). As in a previous smaller study, greater HRV was associated with greater FSI (but not masturbation or non-coital sex with a partner) and rated importance of intercourse. There were no sex differences in the HRV-FSI relationship, and the relationship was not explained by including measures of Extraversion, Neuroticism, Depression, Trait Anxiety, or partnership satisfaction. However, the previously obtained negative association of FSI with DBP was not replicated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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