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More Sex Might Mean More Brain Power in Older Adults

Researchers worked with 73 people between the ages of 50 and 83, with an average age of 62 years. Twenty-eight participants were male; the rest were female. None had a history of dementia, memory impairment, or brain injury.

The participants answered questions about their health and lifestyle, including how often they had sex. (For this study, intercourse, masturbation, petting, and fondling were all considered sexual activities.)

The also completed the Addenbrooke’s Cognitive Examination III (ACE-III). This tool evaluates overall cognitive function by focusing on five specific areas: attention, memory, verbal fluency, language, and visuospatial abilities (perceiving objects and their spatial relationships). Other questionnaires were used to assess social wellbeing.

Ten of the participants – all women – said they never engaged in sexual activity. Among the rest, 26 had sex monthly, and 37 did so weekly. The groups were fairly similar in terms of age, education, heart health, and marital status. They also had similar scores on assessments of depression, loneliness, and quality of life.

On the ACE-III however, those who had sex more frequently had better overall scores, indicating better cognitive function. These participants also had better scores on two subsections of the test: verbal fluency and visuospatial abilities.

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