If you're like me, you face the inevitability of getting older by putting your hands over your ears and singing "la la la" to drown out the sound of your ever-present mortality. But, hey, at least sex doesn't have to go with age. In fact, studies have shown that having sex, especially during old age, is associated with better cognition and could even help combat conditions like dementia.
An early study in 2000 took a look at 352 Italian subjects between the ages of 65 and 105, and found that they appeared to be more sexually active or interested in sex if they had higher cognitive functioning.
These findings were corroborated by researchers at Coventry University, who published a study in the Journal of Age and Aging just last year. After analyzing test of cognitive function and comparing it to sexual activity in almost 7,000 adults between the ages of 50 through 89, they found that those who were sexually active scored higher on cognitive tests, especially men.
Does this mean sex can cure dementia? Well, this is where researchers press the importance of further study, especially considering that this link could go both ways.
Dr. Stacy Tessler Lindau, director of the program in integrative sexual medicine at the University of Chicago, says we can't say for sure that sexual activity leads to better brain health when it's also possible that those with better brain health are more interested in sex.
However, this isn't to say that there's no benefits whatsoever. She stresses that "there is ample evidence to suggest that loving, kind, and supportive relationships are very important for both a satisfying sex life and for mental well-being throughout the life course."
Yes, consider this permission to go out and have more sex—you may even have a healthier old age because of it. Can I take my hands off of my ears now?
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.