As it turns out, sex may be just as important in your 70s and 80s as it is in your 20s and 30s, especially when it comes to a sharper brain and memory. And not just the act of sex, but your perception of sex—that is, how important you think it is to a healthy lifestyle.
Researchers from Manchester University in the UK recently examined the results of a study involving more than 1,700 seniors, and what they found was worth noting. After answering a series of questions about their sexual activity and whether or not they thought sex and intimacy were important at their age, participants completed a different kind of test: one that measured cognitive function and something called “fluid intelligence,” which refers to the ability to solve problems using logic and reasoning.
From the data collected, the research team was able to determine that the participants who scored highest on the tests were the ones who placed a higher value on sex and intimacy in their lives. Those men and women said sex was both pleasant and important, and they believed closeness and intimacy (such as touching and holding hands) were equally important. Overall, they demonstrated higher fluid intelligence and better memory recall.
The takeaway, experts say, is that it’s important for healthcare practitioners to keep an open dialogue with seniors on the topic of sexuality because it may have far-reaching benefits for both physical and mental health.