There is an article by Fiona Macrae featured today on the website of the Daily Mail which suggests that continuing to have sex into your eighth decade sharpens your brainpower and improves the memory – see here – OLDER SEX
Normally I dismiss media pieces like this as fillers deployed off a metaphorical shelf in what used to be Fleet Street whenever there is what journos call a ‘slow news day’ and/or whenever the July/August ‘silly season’ comes around when all decent thinking scribes have departed on their annual holidays and nothing worth reporting is happening anyway.
This seems like a classic example of the genre to me for two reasons.
Firstly, the report in question seems to be all over the place, stringing together a series of research findings, statements and speculations in a desperate attempt to come to a conclusion that could be meaningful.
It picks up the findings of a Manchester University study showing that roughly half of men and as third of women aged 70-plus are sexually active. It then reveals that it put 1,700 Dutch volunteers between the ages of 58 and 98 through a series of mental tests which appeared to demonstrate that those who were happy with their sex lives performed better than those who weren’t.
Secondly, the researchers then go on to admit they cannot say for sure whether continuing to be sexually active helped to retain a person’s brainpower or (alternatively) interest in sex fades when brainpower does.
It then goes on to suggest that doing a crossword is better for the brain than having an orgasm – because it gives the whole brain a workout, rather than one part of it – before petering out with a succession of vague statements about the benefits or otherwise of older people remaining sexually active.
Give me strength!
Writing as someone who doesn’t do crosswords, but who knows a couple of people who would not consider beginning their morning schedule without first completing a favourite broadsheet newspaper’s daily version, I think I can state without fear of contradiction that I’d rather have an orgasm than do a crossword, irrespective of whether it’s doing my brain more good or not.
And that would apply even if doing a crossword would be doing more of my brain more good or not, as the scientists seem to be suggesting.
I guess it depends upon your priorities in life and which part of your brain you’d most prefer to keep active.
When the time comes, you can place my tick in the column intended for those who would rather be ga-ga and sexually active, that is, if the stark alternative is being ‘fully compus-mentis but sexually defunct’ …
[I never liked crosswords anyway ...]