Having A Healthy Sex Life Could Lead To A Sharper Brain

When it comes to staying sharp as you get older, the old adage “use it or lose it” might have hit the nail on the head. A new study suggests that having an active sex life when you’re older might help you maintain healthy brain function as you age.

Researchers from Coventry University in the U.K. wanted to see if there was any relationship between sexual activity after 50 and staying mentally sharp.

Over 6,800 men and women were included in the survey, using data from the English Longitudinal Study of Aging, and a relationship between sexual activity and cognitive function was seen for both sexes.

Men’s performance on number sequencing and word recall tests seemed to be linked to their level of sexual activity. Women were a little different. For them, the link was only seen with word recall.

“It is possible that our results may be related to hormones which affect the brain – and hence cognitive functions – in men and women differently, at a subconscious level,” co-author Hayley Wright of Coventry University told Reuters Health.

Number sequencing tasks are related to executive function, researchers say, while word recall is related to memory. The participants, who were ages 50 to 89, reported their sexual activity in the last year, as well as taking the skills tests.

It’s a misconception that people over 50 don’t have sex. Several surveys have shown that older people are still having sex and enjoying it, too. One British study from 2015 found that even people over 70 are sexually active — around half of all men surveyed and just under a third of women. Some studies have even suggested that older women are more satisfied with their sex lives.

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