Key processes that help neurological function are activated at the point of orgasm, according to scientists at New Jersey’s Rutgers University, as the brain floods with nutrients, oxygen and blood.
Along with mood-enhancing properties, there’s evidence that people who don’t maintain active sex lives live shorter lives than those who do, with cardiovascular advantages for women who have sex regularly and decreased chances of prostate cancer for men.
A 10-year study at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital found that sexually active older couples appear five to seven years younger than their peers who don’t have sex as often, while a 2016 Canadian study indicated that women tend to have better memories when they have sex regularly.
David Weeks, who led the Edinburgh study, noted that casual sex can cause anxiety and thus doesn’t have the same effect.
Relationship therapist Barbara Bloomfield, author of Couples Therapy: Dramas of Love and Sex said, “Sex in later life is like a muscle – you have to use it or lose it," according to the Telegraph.
Adequate sleep and low impact exercise can also help boost one’s sex life, and nutritionist Marilyn Glenville said that consuming more fat in one’s diet could do the same.
"Healthy fats, like those found in oily fish and avocado, are important for overcoming a low libido," she said. "Also, berries are high in antioxidants, which help optimize blood flow to the sex organs."
Hayley Wright of Coventry University, the study’s lead author, pointed out that, "People don’t like to think that older people have sex, but we need to challenge this conception at a societal level. There are countless reasons to continue having sex in your fifties and older, from improved emotional health to the many physical benefits."
Wright added, "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."