Frequent sexual activity predicts specific cognitive abilities in older adults

Hayley Wright, Rebecca Jenks, Nele Demeyere

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This study replicates and extends the findings of previous research (Wright & Jenks, 2016)which found a significant association between sexual activity (SA) and cognitive function in older adults. Specifically, this study aimed to generalise these findings to a range of cognitive domains, and to assess whether increasing SA frequency is associated with increasing scores on a variety of cognitive tasks. Method: Seventy three participants aged 50 to 83 years took part in the study (38.4% male, 61.6%female). Participants completed the ACE-III cognitive assessment and a questionnaire on SA frequency (never, monthly or weekly), and general health and lifestyle. Results: Weekly SA was a significant predictor of total ACE-III, fluency and visuospatial scores in regression models including age, gender, education and cardiovascular health. Discussion: Greater frequency of SA was associated with better overall ACE-III scores and scores onsubtests of verbal fluency and visuospatial ability. Both of these tasks involve working memory and executive function, and links between sexual behaviour, memory and dopamine are discussed. The findings have implications for the maintenance of intimate relationships in later life
Publisher Statement: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
LanguageEnglish
Article numbergbx065
JournalThe Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
DOIs
StatePublished - 22 Jun 2017

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Aptitude
cognitive ability
Sexual Behavior
license
Licensure
open access
health
Executive Function
attribution
Short-Term Memory
Health Education
Cognition
Reproduction
Life Style
Dopamine
regression
Maintenance
questionnaire
gender
ability

Keywords

  • Addenbrooke’s Cognitive Examination III
  • Cognition
  • Intimate relationships
  • Dopamine

Cite this

@article{0a56cb8a579449b98302fc0037b11aaa,
title = "Frequent sexual activity predicts specific cognitive abilities in older adults",
abstract = "This study replicates and extends the findings of previous research (Wright & Jenks, 2016)which found a significant association between sexual activity (SA) and cognitive function in older adults. Specifically, this study aimed to generalise these findings to a range of cognitive domains, and to assess whether increasing SA frequency is associated with increasing scores on a variety of cognitive tasks. Method: Seventy three participants aged 50 to 83 years took part in the study (38.4{\%} male, 61.6{\%}female). Participants completed the ACE-III cognitive assessment and a questionnaire on SA frequency (never, monthly or weekly), and general health and lifestyle. Results: Weekly SA was a significant predictor of total ACE-III, fluency and visuospatial scores in regression models including age, gender, education and cardiovascular health. Discussion: Greater frequency of SA was associated with better overall ACE-III scores and scores onsubtests of verbal fluency and visuospatial ability. Both of these tasks involve working memory and executive function, and links between sexual behaviour, memory and dopamine are discussed. The findings have implications for the maintenance of intimate relationships in later lifePublisher Statement: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.",
keywords = "Addenbrooke’s Cognitive Examination III, Cognition, Intimate relationships, Dopamine",
author = "Hayley Wright and Rebecca Jenks and Nele Demeyere",
year = "2017",
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doi = "10.1093/geronb/gbx065",
language = "English",
journal = "Journals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences",
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N2 - This study replicates and extends the findings of previous research (Wright & Jenks, 2016)which found a significant association between sexual activity (SA) and cognitive function in older adults. Specifically, this study aimed to generalise these findings to a range of cognitive domains, and to assess whether increasing SA frequency is associated with increasing scores on a variety of cognitive tasks. Method: Seventy three participants aged 50 to 83 years took part in the study (38.4% male, 61.6%female). Participants completed the ACE-III cognitive assessment and a questionnaire on SA frequency (never, monthly or weekly), and general health and lifestyle. Results: Weekly SA was a significant predictor of total ACE-III, fluency and visuospatial scores in regression models including age, gender, education and cardiovascular health. Discussion: Greater frequency of SA was associated with better overall ACE-III scores and scores onsubtests of verbal fluency and visuospatial ability. Both of these tasks involve working memory and executive function, and links between sexual behaviour, memory and dopamine are discussed. The findings have implications for the maintenance of intimate relationships in later lifePublisher Statement: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

AB - This study replicates and extends the findings of previous research (Wright & Jenks, 2016)which found a significant association between sexual activity (SA) and cognitive function in older adults. Specifically, this study aimed to generalise these findings to a range of cognitive domains, and to assess whether increasing SA frequency is associated with increasing scores on a variety of cognitive tasks. Method: Seventy three participants aged 50 to 83 years took part in the study (38.4% male, 61.6%female). Participants completed the ACE-III cognitive assessment and a questionnaire on SA frequency (never, monthly or weekly), and general health and lifestyle. Results: Weekly SA was a significant predictor of total ACE-III, fluency and visuospatial scores in regression models including age, gender, education and cardiovascular health. Discussion: Greater frequency of SA was associated with better overall ACE-III scores and scores onsubtests of verbal fluency and visuospatial ability. Both of these tasks involve working memory and executive function, and links between sexual behaviour, memory and dopamine are discussed. The findings have implications for the maintenance of intimate relationships in later lifePublisher Statement: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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