Having more sex improves the brain power in older adults, a study has claimed.
The study, published in the “The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological and Social Sciences,” said people who have regular sex or indulged in regular sex activities scored higher in the mental tests designed for the study.
Their verbal fluency was better, their ability to visually perceive objects was improved and they could judge the space between objects better, the study suggested.
The study built on previous study that linked brain power to frequent sex by focusing fluency and visuospatial ability.
The study involved 73 people aged between 50 and 83.
They answered questionnaires on how often, on average, they had engaged in sexual activity over the past 12 months — whether that was never, monthly or weekly — as well as answering questions about their general health and lifestyle.
In addition, the participants took a series of tests to assess memory, attention, language apprehension, verbal fluency and visuospatial ability.
All of the tests were standard measures of cognitive ability and processing speed.
The visuospatial tests, for example, required participants to draw a clock face from memory (harder than it sounds), among other things.
The test results showed those who had highest level of sexual activity — more than once a week — scored the best.
But in the categories of verbal fluency and visuospatial ability, distinct differences appeared.
The test also suggested that frequency of sexual activity was not linked to attention, memory or language.
But it did produce noticeably higher visual performance.
“People don’t like to think that older people have sex — but we need to challenge this conception at a societal level and look at what impact sexual activity can have on those aged 50 and over, beyond the known effects on sexual health and general wellbeing,” says lead researcher Dr Hayley Wright from Coventry University.
“Every time we do another piece of research we are getting a little bit closer to understanding why this association exists at all, what the underlying mechanisms are, and whether there is a ‘cause and effect’ relationship between sexual activity and cognitive function in older people.”
“We can only speculate whether this is driven by social or physical elements — but an area we would like to research further is the biological mechanisms that may influence this,”Dr Wright says.