Those who ignore sex as a useless pastime do so at their own risk. Throughout the ages making love has proved to be a tonic that lengthens life, keeps you alert and, as we are now told by scientists, could also help stave off dementia.
Apparently those aged over 50 who are still active in the bedroom have sharper cognition functions, a study has found. They were better able to recall lists and recognise patterns, both of which are signs of a healthy brain. The researchers suggest this could be because during sex we experience a release of hormones in the brain, such as dopamine, linked to feelings of reward and which also encourage memory and learning.
The findings are welcome news since they could provide hope for thousands of Britons at risk of developing dementia, a disease which destroys every vestige of dignity one may have and robs those inflicted of their capacity to lead a normal life and enjoy the pleasures our brains are known to endow. There are currently around 850,000 people in the UK with the disease and numbers are expected to soar to 1 million over the next decade.
The scientists from Coventry University quizzed more than 6,800 people aged 50-89 about their sex lives and then set them mental tests. The participants were played a list of ten words and then asked to recount them straight afterwards, and then again after a five minute delay. They were also given a sequence of numbers with one missing and told to complete the pattern.
Men who were sexually active scored 23% higher on the word tests and 3% higher on the number puzzles than those who were not. Sexually active women did better by 14% and 2% respectively.
Better performance is also discernible when factors such as age, wealth and levels of physical activity are taken into account, the journal Age and Ageing reports. Pauline Brown, a psychosexual counsellor, said: ‘Any part of the body needs to be exercised to keep in good shape and because sex triggers so many changes in the brain, it will inevitably help keep it agile and capable.’
‘There can be physical barriers caused by ageing but these results show just how important it is for couples to keep the spark of their relationship strong.’
Dr Claire Walton of the Alzheimer’s Society said: ‘We know that older adults who keep their minds and bodies active have a reduced risk of dementia. As more and more people are living longer, finding ways to maintain good cognitive function into our later years is an important area of ongoing research.’
I believe that in old age one must remain as agile as possible, be disciplined in the way we live and refrain from tormenting the body with irregularities that could harm its mechanism and tempo. Sex is rejuvenating by nature and the regularity of it keeps the body and brain in full working order. Who can now deny that sex is truly a gift from God?