It can be considered a bit of which comes first, the chicken or the egg, however any way you want to frame the issue it would seem that a healthy sex life may just have an impact on keeping your cognitive functions healthy. Anything that keeps the brain active and holds dementia at bay while also being fun can’t be bad, right?
An Italian study published in 2000 that looked at 352 adults between the ages of 65 and 105 in Padua, Italy found that scores related to cognitive function were significantly higher for the one third of subjects who were still sexually active and the 40% who still declared an interest in sex. Yes, go back and read that. The oldest participants were over 100 years of age!
Similarly, a more recent 2015 study of adults aged 50 to 89 found “significant associations” between sexual activity and cognitive function. The authors of this study advocate for sex counselling in healthcare settings as a means to support healthy cognitive function not to mention overall well-being as we age.
These studies didn’t define how sexuality was being expressed, whether with a partner or through masturbation but there has been some work done that indicates either will do. The theory of ‘use it or lose it’ works for our sexuality just as it does for our brain cells so in the absence of a partner masturbation can be a positive habit.
Don’t be shy about investing in a few good sex toys. Even with a partner the use of sex toys can be a fun, liberating experience. Men who find erections sporadic or even non-existent due to medications or health issues may find sex toys help their partners achieve orgasm. Women who are indulging in solo sex may find the use of sex toys helpful in achieving orgasm if they have arthritic hands and fingers.
The study of sexuality in aging seniors is somewhat lacking overall however as the demographic increases there will likely be more information forthcoming. At this point there is an increasing body of work regarding the contribution that socializing, exercise, keeping one’s brain active and paying attention to overall well-being plays in staving off dementia.
For those who prefer to be on the safe side find a store or website that specializes in a range of sex toys and shop a little. There are many reputable online stores that specialize in sex toys and they arrive in plain packaging so the neighbours won’t know. I know what you’re thinking: what will my children think when they find these things after I’m gone? Trust me, your children will get over it and realize there’s hope for their own senior years.
Have some fun and enjoy yourself or your partner for as long as you can. It seems very likely that the more you enjoy, the longer you’ll be able to function well in other parts of your life.