- For people ages 75 to 90, sex didn’t have to be that great, just frequent.
Having great sex in old age may help keep the brain healthy, a study suggests.
The researchers found that men and women aged 62 to 74 who described their sex lives as “very pleasant and satisfying” had better cognitive health scores five years later than those who rated their behavior in bed less enthusiastically.
The results could be due to the stress-relieving benefits of good sex, the researchers said, as well as the release of the pleasure hormone dopamine.
“Stress prevents the new formation of neurons (neurogenesis) in the hippocampus, an area of the brain associated with memory,” they wrote in their research paper.
“Older adults who enjoy satisfying sexual activities may experience decreased stress which, in turn, may protect neurogenesis.”
The researchers found that men and women aged 62 to 74 who described their sex lives as “very pleasant and satisfying” had better cognitive health.
The researchers, from Hope College, Michigan, USA, added: “Sexual satisfaction is associated with orgasm, and an orgasm releases a burst of dopamine.”
“Thus, people with more sexually satisfying relationships may experience higher dopamine levels, which has been linked to better memory in older adults.”
The study involved 1,683 people aged 62 or older, and the cognitive scores were a combined assessment of six key areas, including working memory, attention, and visuospatial skills.
And there was even better news for people between the ages of 75 and 90, the study found. Their sex didn’t even have to be that good, it just had to be frequent.
The team found that those in this age group who had some sexual activity, not necessarily intercourse or orgasm, once a week scored higher on cognitive tests compared to those who had not had intercourse in the past year. .
The effect size was comparable to the advantage conveyed by a longer education, that is, having gone to college compared to not completing high school, “another factor known to have a positive impact on cognitive function in this age group,” they said.
“That sexual frequency is important at later ages may be because having sex in later years, regardless of sexual quality, is beneficial for health outcomes,” they wrote in their article, published in the Journal of Sex Research. .
The effect size of good sex later in life was comparable to the advantage conveyed by a longer education, ie, having gone to college compared to not finishing high school.
“Sexual activity can promote cognitive health because it is a form of physical activity.
“This may be especially true at older ages, as physical inactivity increases with age and older adults have high rates of sedentary behavior.
“Therefore, any circulatory benefits of having sex may be important at a very late age.”
The researchers used data taken from a long-term population study in the US called the National Project on Social Living, Health and Aging and the results were analyzed in a way that showed that it was not simply that people with better health cognitive had more/better sex in the first place.