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More Sex Leads To Higher Brain Function in Seniors

First Posted: Jun 23, 2017 03:53 PM EDT
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A new study shows that older people who have sex more often scored better on tests for verbal fluency and visuospatial ability. So don't get grossed out by lustful senior citizens making out on a park bench. All that nooky is helping their brains. It may prevent one of them from denting your car when parking. 

The study in the Journals of Gerontology involved 73 people between 50 and 83. The subjects were asked how often over the last year they had had sex. They were then giving a series of tests. Those who answered that they had weekly sexual activity scored considerably higher on verbal fluency and and visuospatial ability. 

Participants were also given tests on memory, attention and language. The results showed that the scores on these tests were not linked to frequency of sexual activity. Further research can be done to look at how dopamine and oxytoxin can influence the relationship between sex and higher brain functions. The study shows that the increases sexual ability only helps certain functions of the brain.

Lead researcher Dr. Hayley Wright commented on the study.

"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."

The study is a follow up to research done in 2016 that showed that older adults who were sexually active scored higher on cognitive tests than those who were not. This study aimed to be more specific. The frequency of sexual activity was more of a focus and the range of tests that the subjects were given was broader in order to pinpoint exactly which brain functions were being helped by the frequent sexual activity. 

According to Wright: "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."  

"Increased engagement in mental, social, and physical activity is linked to a lower rate of cognitive decline in older adults" the study stated. Research also shows a significant association between sexual activity and cognitive function in later life. This makes sense since sexual activity can be classified both as a physical activity and as a social engagement.

Researchers want more study to be done on the increase in sexual activity in older adults and how it affects their brain function. They find that society often frowns on the idea of older people having sex. 

According to Wright: "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." 

So don't slut shame your grandparents. They need sex more than you think. It will help them communicate and make them better drivers. But maybe you like it when an old guy cuts you off and then gives you the finger. Personally, I'd rather see them making out and accurately using their turn signals. 

 

 

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