Sex and Intimacy May Help Keep Your Mind Sharp

By Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T.

Through a 2015 Dutch study, researchers found that older men and women performed better on mental function tests if they were satisfied with their sexual relationships and continued sexuality and intimacy.

The study involved 1,747 seniors with an average age of 71. About three-quarters of them had partners.

According to the researchers, about one-quarter of the participants regarded sexuality as important; 41 % said it was unimportant. Thirty-two % said their current sexual activity was pleasant; 6 % unpleasant. Sixty-seven % said that intimacy and touching were still important, while 12 % disagreed.

Higher cognitive functioning was associated with the way in which older people perceive their current sexuality,” the researchers concluded. Those who regarded sexuality or a need for intimacy as unimportant had lower average cognitive testing scores. This association was significant in both genders, and somewhat stronger in women.

 My Viewpoint: There is nothing like sexuality to help keep a couple connected and, if you can do it with mutual enjoyment at an older age, that’s a great plus. It doesn’t have to necessarily be intercourse. Intimacy can be anything from intercourse to touching, kissing, and hugging.

 What This Means to You: It means contentment and joy and companionship, ingredients for healthy and graceful aging. Many years ago, I was deeply impressed by the research of a Russian gerontologist who had examined 20,000 people 80-years-old and above. One of the key factors they had in common was good relationships, rich in love, intimacy, and support. Physical connectedness to a partner meant anything from intercourse to cuddling and kissing, and it was the holding and the intimacy that mattered the most to them.

 My Recommendation: Hug, touch, cuddle, hold, kiss, and love your mate in however a way it makes you both happy.


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