A University study has shown that there is a correlation between having more sex and a higher cognitive function in older people. It is important to note that although a link was found, this does not necessarily prove a causal relationship between sex and cognitive function in the elderly.
A study by scientists at Oxford and Coventry universities has shown a correlation between having more sex and higher cognitive function in older people.
The study linked sexual activity to higher levels of cognitive function, including language skills, visual and spatial awareness and memory. The researchers surveyed the sexual activity of 73 people between the ages of 50 and 83 and gave them a test that measures their brain function.
These tests gave them tasks such as “naming as many animals as possible” or “as many words beginning with a certain letter” or drawing the face of a clock from memory.
Researchers found a significant correlation between higher levels of sexual activity and higher scores on those tests. They also answered questions about their lifestyles and general health in order to ensure there were no confounding variables in the study. The group that had sex weekly scored higher by two percent, on average, than the group that had sex monthly, and four percent than the group that never had sex.
Researchers on the Study
The lead researcher in the study, Hayley Wright, 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.”
“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.”
Does Having Sex CAUSE Higher Cognitive Function? No
As always, it is important to note that finding a correlation between two variables does not necessarily prove that one caused the other. Therefore, the assumption that having more sex necessarily boosts cognitive function would be false. Further experimental studies would be needed in order to assume a causal relationship between sex and cognitive function.