Older adults gain a brain boost from frequent sex

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It looks like getting more sexually active under the sheets is really good for improving brain function in older adults, according to researchers at the Universities of Coventry and Oxford who published their study in The Journal of Gerontology.  

Instead of falling right to sleep at bedtime, it appears that being frisky is what may give the elderly a better brain boost overall.  The aim of this study was to look specifically at the impact of the frequency of sexual activity as in does it make a difference how often one engages in sexual activity and to use a broader range of tests to investigate different areas of cognitive function.

Seventy-three people, 28 men and 45 women between the ages of 50 and 83, filled out a questionnaire on how often, on average, they had engaged in sexual activity over the past 12 months.  The participants answered as either weekly, monthly, or never along with answering questions about their general health and lifestyle.

In addition to the questionnaire, the participants were tested on their verbal fluency reflecting their cognitive abilities in which they had 60 seconds to name as many animals as possible and then to say as many words starting with the letter F as they could.  Another test taken was copying a complex design and drawing a clock face from memory which assessed their visuospatial ability.

What the researchers found were people who engaged in more regular sexual activity scored higher on tests measuring their verbal fluency and their ability to visually perceive objects and the spaces between them.  The greatest effect was on the verbal fluency tests as those who engaged in weekly sex had the highest scores on this assessment. 

The researchers stated that they could only speculate on whether this finding was driven by social or physical elements but that more research is needed to look into the biological mechanisms influencing this.  It also shows more of a need to better understand whether there is a cause and effect relationship between sexual activity and cognitive function in older adults.