Older people can boost their brain power by having more sex, research reveals.
Regularly getting intimate improves the over-50s’ vocabulary and visual awareness, a study found.
Yet, being active between the sheets does not influence their attention or memory, the research adds.
Researchers did not speculate on why regular sex boosts older people’s brain function, however, previous research suggests getting intimate stimulates areas of the brain associated with learning.
Study author Dr Hayley Wright from Coventry University said: ‘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.’
- How the study was carried out
Researchers from the Universities of Coventry and Oxford analyzed 28 men and 45 women between the ages of 50 and 83.
The participants completed a questionnaire about their sexual activity over the past year.
They then took part in a test that measures brain function in older adults.
This included a ‘verbal fluency test’, which required the participants to name as many animals as they could in one minute.
They then had to say as many words beginning with ‘F’ as they could.
Their visual awareness was also assessed as they were required to copy a complex design and draw a clock face from memory.
- Key findings
Results revealed that those who have more sex did better in the verbal fluency test.
They were also more able to perceive objects and the spaces between them. Yet, regular sex had no impact on attention or memory.
The researchers did not speculate on how regular sex boosts the brain function of older people.
Yet, previous research from scientists at McGill University in Canada revealed fornicating stimulates the development of neurones in the area of the brain associated with learning. Neurones send messages to other cells in the nervous system.
- What the researchers say
Dr Wright said: ‘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.
‘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.
‘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.’