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.

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.


Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Mandal, Ananya. (2019, June 19). Frequent sex linked to higher cognitive function in seniors. News-Medical. Retrieved on June 21, 2024 from

  • MLA

    Mandal, Ananya. "Frequent sex linked to higher cognitive function in seniors". News-Medical. 21 June 2024. <>.

  • Chicago

    Mandal, Ananya. "Frequent sex linked to higher cognitive function in seniors". News-Medical. (accessed June 21, 2024).

  • Harvard

    Mandal, Ananya. 2019. Frequent sex linked to higher cognitive function in seniors. News-Medical, viewed 21 June 2024,


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.

You might also like...
Stranded in the ER, seniors await hospital care and suffer avoidable harm