Frequent sex linked to higher cognitive function in seniors

According to a new study having sex frequently can boost brain power. The study from Oxford University was published today in The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological and Social Sciences.

Image Credit: Vectorfusionart / Shutterstock
Image Credit: Vectorfusionart / Shutterstock

The researchers found that regular sexual; activity translated into better performance at mental tests. Among other achievements of these individuals, there was improved verbal fluency, greater ability to visually perceive objects and better judgment regarding spaces between objects.

This is a study that was a continuation of research that came out last year saying that adults that are sexually active are better scorers at cognitive brain tests. That 2016 study was entitled “Sex on the brain! Associations between sexual activity and cognitive function in older age” and was published in the journal Age and Ageing.

However that study did not look at the connection of performance at these tests and frequency of intimacies. In a similar study from Oregon State University, employees who had more sex at home were found to have a higher morale at workplace and a greater sense of engagement and job satisfaction. The hormones released during sexual intercourse – dopamine and oxytocin were supposed to be the ones that could influence the performance and perceptions the study had speculated. These hormones tend to linger in blood for up to 24 hours after sex.

For this present study the Coventry and Oxford researchers tried to assess the connection between regular and frequent sex with aging and mental processes. The study included 73 persons aged between 50 and 83 years. There were 28 men and 45 women included in the study.

Lead researcher Dr Hayley Wright from Coventry University said that there is a social block to older people and sex. People do not like to think of it. This needs to be challenged and this study shows the impact of regular sex among those 50 and above. The effect of such frequent sex is not just on sexual and general health but also on the mental health he added. This study is a small step towards understanding the association between sex and well being and the underlying mechanisms are probably a bit better understood. This study explored if there was a ‘cause and effect’ relationship between regular sex and cognitive functions especially among older persons he said.

The researchers looked at how frequently the participants were having sex over the last one year. The categories ranged from not at all, monthly to more than once a week. The other parameters studied included lifestyle, age, gender, education, cardiovascular and general health.

Thereafter the men and women in the study were tested with a series of tests termed “Addenbrooke’s Cognitive Examination-III (ACE-III) cognitive assessment” to measure their brain function. Among the parameters measured were fluency, memory, attention, language and spatial assessment. Those who had sex more than once a week scored the best compared to those who did not. They scored notably higher in verbal fluency. Frequent sex however did not improve attention span, vocabulary or memory. Visual performance and spatial orientation also showed marked differences among those who had more sex. There may be underlying biological mechanisms that are still not clear Dr. Wright says.

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