If you’ve ever had sex and felt as bright as you did blissful in the aftermath, there may be a scientific reason for that.
A new study from the Universities of Oxford and Coventry found that regular sexual activity keeps your brain sharp – particularly if you’re an older person.
“Sexual relationships in later life are... not just important for sex per se, [they are] impacting on other factors, in this case cognitive function,” said lead researcher Dr. Hayley Wright from Coventry University.
Researchers asked 73 participants – 28 men and 45 women – between the ages of 50 and 83 about their sexual activity. It was revealed that 37 had sex weekly, 26 monthly and 10 never.
After assessing participants’ brain function and conducting a series of experiments, the researchers discovered that those who had the most sex scored an average of two percentage points higher in certain tasks than those who had sex once a month – and four points higher than those who never had sex.
The study, published in The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological and Social Sciences, concluded that a healthy sex life had the greatest effect on verbal fluency tests. The most sexually active participants also tended to do better on visual tests.
While the researchers aren’t sure what exactly the link between sexual activity and brainpower is, they suggest sex is associated with the secretion of neurohormones like dopamine or oxytocin that send signals in the brain.
“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,” said Wright.
“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.”
h/t The Independent