Having lots of sex is good for your brain (especially if you're older)
There are a whole host of reasons why having a tonne of sex is good for you. But did you realise that regularly getting your raunch-on could actually give your brain a boost?
Researchers from Coventry and Oxford University in the UK have found a link between frequent sexual activity and improved brain function in older adults.
The study, published in in The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological and Social Sciences, involved quizzing 73 people aged 50-83 on how often, on average, they’d had sex over the past 12 months. Participants also answered questions about their general health and lifestyle.
The 28 men and 45 women also took part in a standardised test, which is typically used to measure different patterns of brain function in older adults, focussing on attention, memory, fluency, language and visuospatial ability.
Scientists found that people who had sex at least weekly scored higher on tests of cognitive function – and, more specifically, on tests that measured verbal fluency and visuospatial ability – than those who had sex less frequently.
So, for example, they were able to name more animals and more words that started with the letter “F,” in 60 seconds, and were better able to copy a complex drawing from memory.
Interestingly, there was no real difference when it came to the participants’ performance in memory, language and attentiveness tests.
Although the study authors could not say for sure why the link between sexual activity and brainpower exists, there is speculation that it might have something to do with the release of hormones such as dopamine or oxytocin, which are responsible for transmitting signals in the brain.
Speaking about the findings lead researcher Dr Hayley Wright, from 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,” she continued.
“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.”
Because the study was conducted on older adults it’s not exactly clear how having sex affects your brain now. Nevertheless it certainly can’t hurt to stay between-the-sheets-active now in the hope that your brain may well thank you for it later. *winky face emoji*
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