Sexual Intimacy and Mental Acuity

A Dutch study finds sex may keep our minds sharp as we age.

intimacy illustration

That’s the conclusion of a Dutch study published in the March 2015 issue of the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

To investigate the connection between sexuality and cognitive function, researchers queried 1,747 women and men with an average age of 71, more than two-thirds of whom had partners; none of the participants had severe cognitive impairments. Questions included the status of their current sex life, and whether or not they thought sexuality and intimacy were important for aging individuals.

Forty-two percent of participants agreed that sexuality at their age was important; 28 percent said it was not important.

The subjects who reported being satisfied with their sex life and considered sexuality important fared better on tests of their memory, processing speed, and other cognitive-function measures.

Researchers also found an association between lower cognitive functioning and the belief that sexuality was unimportant in both sexes, with a stronger link in women.

While sex may not be the fountain of youth, maintaining positive ideas about sexuality may help you score points in more places than the bedroom.

Heidi Wachter is the staff writer for Experience Life.

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