I don't think I need to convince you to have sex, but in case you're looking for some health benefits to getting freaky, a new study found that having sex can keep your brain strong. It's not exactly as simple as orgasms leading to a massive expanse of knowledge, but sex does seem to lead to less mental deterioration in old age, specifically with regards to dementia. The more you know, right?
For their study, researchers from Coventry University examined over 6,800 particpants between the ages of 50 and 89 to see how and if sex had any effect on the aging process. First, the participants were asked about their level of sexual activity, which could include everything from masturbation to intercourse. Then, the researchers conducted two experiments designed to test the level of cognitive functioning of the participants. The first test involved the participants being read a series of words that they were then asked to recall under two different circumstances: First, immediately after they were recited, and again five minutes after hearing them. The second test involved number sequencing, wherein the participants were given a specific sequence of numbers and then asked to recall which digit was missing.
The results? Those who were sexually active sexually had much more accurate recall in both the word and number tests than those who were sexually inactive. The results did vary a bit by gender, however, as sexually active men showed a much higher difference in score on both tests than sexually active women did. Interestingly, though, the women showed significant improvement when sexually active in word recall, but not in the number sequencing experiment.
The researchers note that their findings prompt the need for further research; however — and, arguably, more excitingly — they also open up a new avenue to explore with regards to the prevention of cognitive decline. "The findings have implications for the promotion of sexual counselling in healthcare settings, where maintaining a healthy sex life in older age could be instrumental in improving cognitive function and well-being.higher scores on the number sequencing and recall," they write in their report.
These results are certainly fascinating and prove that sex can have a lot of positive benefits to our health, both outside of reproductive function and long after our fertility peaks. In fact, this was actually not the first study to connect having sex with the prevention of aging. A British study, for example, found that men who reported ejaculating the most had a 50 percent decreased risk of overall mortality, compared to men who weren't "spreading their seed" (so to speak) as often. Furthermore, sex can also decrease the development of other diseases for men: New England Research Institutes found that men who have sex at least twice per week can significantly lower their risk of developing heart disease, while a 2002 report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that ejaculation frequency may be related to a decreased risk of developing prostate cancer.
If you've noticed, there seems an emerging trend of the relevant research focusing on men. If anything, though, all these results are an indication that there's still more work to be done — research on women's sexuality has been notoriously sparse, but it shouldn't be. Our sex lives and drives don't end when we're outside of our reproductive years anymore than men's do, so researchers? Please take note.