London: Staying active between the sheets can help older adults stay sharp mentally, finds a new study which suggests that men and women who stay sexually active in their 70s have higher cognitive functioning.
For the results, researchers from the Netherlands analysed 1,747 people (with an average age of 71).
They answered questions about their sexual relationships and whether they consider intimacy to be an important part of life.
The team assessed sexual activity, memory, mental processing speed, general cognitive function and ability to reason and think abstractly in the participants.
They also compared their answers to medical charts tracking chronic diseases, depression and medications.
The findings showed that older adults who did not see the importance of sexual behaviour or a need for intimacy had lower average cognitive scores.
Those who felt sexuality was important and said they were satisfied with their current sexual activity had better cognitive scores, Newsmax.com reported.
The association between lower general cognitive functioning and perceiving sexuality as unimportant was stronger in women.
"Lower processing speed, general cognitive functioning, and delayed memory recall were associated with disagreeing with a remaining need for intimacy when getting older," the team wrote.
Those who were satisfied with their sexual relationships performed consistently better on memory tests, they concluded.
The study appeared in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.