Frequent Sexual Activity Helps Prevent Dementia
This good news is according to a study by the universities of Coventry and Oxford. It showed that people who participated in regular sexual activity scored higher on tests that checked their verbal fluency and their ability to visually perceive objects and spaces between them. These findings are markers of improved brain function and reduced risk of dementia.
The study was published in The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological and Social Sciences and involved 73 individuals between the ages of 50 and 83. Each participant completed a questionnaire about how often they had engaged in sexual activity in the past 12 months: never, monthly or weekly, as well as answering questions about their overall health and lifestyle.
28 men and 45 women took part in the survey and they were also given a test used to measure different patterns of brain function, focusing on attention, language, memory, fluency and visuospatial ability. Of all the tests they were given, people who engaged in more regular sexual activity scored best in verbal fluency tests. Earlier research from 2016 showed that older adults who were sexually active scored higher on cognitive tests than those who weren’t sexually active.
According to the researchers, “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. 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.”
This study showed a correlation between greater sexual activity and brain health; it is not possible to conclude whether the sex improved brain health, or people who are generally in a better state of health have a higher libido and want to have sex more often. Certainly people in better physical and mental health are often more social, and this has known benefits for reducing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
For more strategies for improving brain health see my book Alzheimer’s: What you must know to Protect your Brain.