Forgetting where you left the keys, struggling to find the right words or getting your grandchildren’s names mixed up are all part and parcel of the cognitive decline that happens as we gracefully grow older.
Knitting, music, digital word puzzles and a plethora of other things are said to combat those brain-buffering moments. And happily, now you can add a good dose of quality hanky panky to the top of that list.
A recent US study published by The Journal of Sex Research utilised data from The University of Chicago’s National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (NSLHA).
The study determined whether older adults sex lives could be linked to cognitive decline and has been described as the “first nationally representative study of the intersection between social and intimate relationships and healthy aging.”
Study author and assistant professor of Sociology at Hope College in Michigan, Shannon Shen told PsyPost that sexuality is an “often overlooked” part of older American adults’ lives.
She said, “Despite there being a great deal of research on cognitive decline there’s “little work that considers how intimate social relationships may be beneficial for cognitive functioning.”
The study looked at 1683 people aged 62 and older who provided complete information on their cognitive health and that they were sexually active with a long term partner.
Shen said that all participants were “either married, cohabiting, or had a romantic, intimate, or sexual partner”.
The study results were extraordinary and showed that:
Shen told PsyPost, “Having better sexual quality — both more physical pleasure and emotional satisfaction — was related to better cognitive function five years later.”
About the study Shen said she, “only examined community-dwelling older adults, so the results do not speak to older adults living in nursing homes.”
“Second,” she added, “there were no questions in the dataset that addressed sexual consent, which someone with more severe forms of cognitive decline may have a limited capacity to give.”
Despite ageist attitudes that your sex life goes downhill at a certain age, various studies have refuted such claims, finding that people over 60 are having better sex than any other demographic because of their acquired “sexual wisdom”.
With that in mind and the idea that regular, good quality and emotionally satisfying sex will boost your brainpower is an excellent reason to light the candles and throw your partner that knowing, come hither wink!