News that regular action in your fifties and beyond improves brain function will have had teenagers rolling their eyes in embarrassment the country over.
“People don’t like to think that older people have sex,” admits study author Dr Hayley Wright from Coventry University. “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,” agrees Barbara Bloomfield, a Relate therapist and author of Couples Therapy: Dramas of Love and Sex.
So with that in mind, here’s why plenty of what you fancy is up there with sleep and exercise in benefiting mind, body and soul…
- You’ll become smarter
As well as the Coventry and Oxford study, a 2016 study from Canada suggested that women who have regular sex have better memories. A team at McGill University found a link between regular sex and the growth of nervous tissue in the area of the brain that controls our emotions and memory.
- You’ll look younger
Put down that $200 pot of eye cream: scientists at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital have found older couples having regular sex look five to seven years younger than those who rarely have sex. Dr David Weeks, who led the 10-year study, found that if the sex was “loving” and pleasure was derived from it, hormones were released that made the skin more elastic and youthful. Weeks found that casual sex didn’t have the same effects, as it could cause anxiety and feelings of insecurity.
- You’ll get fewer colds
Having sex at least once a week has been found to raise your body’s levels of immunoglobulin A (known as IgA), which is a cold and flu-fighting antibody. “IgA is the first line of defence against colds and flu,” says Carl Chenetski from Wilkes University in Pennsylvania, whose study found that couples who have sex once or twice a week have 30 per cent higher levels of IgA.
- You’ll feel happier
A study of 8000 people over the age of 50 from Trinity College Dublin found that couples who maintain a healthy sex life in later life were less likely to feel depressed and were more positive about ageing.
- Your heart health will improve
Forget the rumours about sixtysomethings having heart attacks mid-coitus. Research seems to suggest the opposite is true and that regular sex can reduce your risk of a heart attack. Researchers at Queen’s University in Belfast found a weekly roll in the sheets can halve the risk of a heart attack or stroke and another study found women who orgasm at least twice a week were 30 per cent less likely to develop heart disease.
The Daily Telegraph, London