Here's a little anecdote that shows how hard it is to get accurate data on risk. Just to keep things spicy, the "risk" involved is the likelihood of dying from a fatal heart attack during sex. It's more complicated than it seems.
We've known for some time that people do die of heart attacks during sex. Some of the more famous people in history, including politicians and popes, have gone that way. But how likely is such a fate outside of salacious rumors and saucy historical dramas aired on cable? The answer is more complicated than we might think.
The obvious way to answer is to look through autopsy reports and single out the ones that mentioned heart attacks during sex. One team did that in 1999, and found that out of 21,000 reports there were only 39 cases of sudden death from a heart attack during sex. With odds like that, if your heart health is bad, you can hardly afford to stop having sex. Except there was a hitch. In the majority of those cases, the, ah, subject, was having sex with a prostitute. Either sex with a prostitute is especially taxing to the heart, or something else is going on.
What's probably happening, in the end, is the lack of any reason to do an autopsy on someone who died at home in bed with their partner. There are probably three times as many deaths from sex with a partner as there are from sex with a prostitute. Overall, The Coital Coronary posits that, every year in America, there are about 11,000 cases of sudden death during sex. Perhaps it is time to take up permanent chastity.
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