If you need a practical reason for rekindling your romantic urges, try this. New research shows that having sex each week seems to help aging brains to work better in some ways.
In a study published in the Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological and Social Sciences, researchers at Coventry and Oxford universities in Britain studied 73 people between the ages of 50 and 83. Subjects were asked to fill out a questionnaire about how often they had engaged in sexual activity over the past year, in addition to other queries about their general health and lifestyle.
In addition, participants took tests that measure levels of various brain functions in older adults. One test measured verbal fluency — that is, the ability to recall, organize and use words. Researchers also measured subjects' visuospatial ability, asking participants to perform tasks such as copying a complex design and drawing a clock face from memory. Those particular tests were important because subjects who engaged in weekly sexual activity scored high on them, particularly when it came to verbal fluency. They ranked higher in visuospatial ability, as well.
But the researchers also found that sexually active older people didn’t score any better on tests of memory or attention.
While previous research had shown that older adults who were sexually active scored higher on cognitive tests, the new study looked at sexual frequency and specific cognitive abilities. The scientists said more research is needed to explain why regular sexual activity has a beneficial effect on certain brain functions.