Research has taught us the importance of social interaction, physical activity, and brain-stimulating pastimes to help seniors stay sharp in older age and prevent cognitive decline. A new study has also found that frequent sex can have cognitive benefits.
According to Everyday Health – Sexual Health News, a study published in The Journal for Sex Research in July 2023 found that, depending on the age group among older adults, either quality or quantity matters more for cognitive function. Older-old adults between 75 and 90 who have very frequent sex, at least once a week or more, experience better cognitive function years later compared to those who have no sex. But for the younger-old adults between 62 and 74, having better quality sex with more physical pleasure and emotional satisfaction was found to influence improved cognitive function five years later. For the purposes of the study, sex was defined as “any mutually voluntary activity with another person that involves sexual contact, whether or not intercourse or orgasm occurs”. Only partnered sex was included in the study.
Men in the study who had sex once a week had a lower risk of developing cognitive impairment five years later than men who had no sex in the last year. Feelings of physical pleasure were also linked with better cognitive function among men, but not women.
Sexual activity with a partner releases hormones and endorphins from orgasm and also gets the blood flowing with movement and stretching. Sex with a partner also requires some brain engagement to work out the best positions for mutual satisfaction. Sexual activity, perhaps with a broader definition as partners age, also helps to improve relationships and maintain a close connection, a sense of well-being and good self-esteem. Sex can also help partners reduce or recover from stress.
Learn more about promoting an active and satisfying sex life in older age by following this link to the National Institute on Aging.