They also took part in tests to determine their visuospatial ability which included copying a complex design and drawing a clock face from memory.
In the verbal and visuospatial tests participants who engaged in weekly sexual activity scored the most highly, with the verbal fluency tests showing the strongest effect.
The results suggested that frequency of sexual activity was not linked to attention, memory or language. In these tests, the participants performed just as well regardless of whether they reported weekly, monthly or no sexual activity.
This study expanded on previous research from 2016, which found that older adults who were sexually active scored higher on cognitive tests than those who were not sexually active.
But this time the research looked more specifically at the impact of the frequency of sexual activity and whether frequency of sexual activity made a difference. It also used a broader range of tests to investigate different areas of cognitive function.
What the scientists said
The academics say further research could look at how biological elements, such as dopamine and oxytocin, could influence the relationship between sexual activity and brain function to give a fuller explanation of their findings.
Lead researcher Dr Hayley Wright, from Coventry University’s Centre for Research in Psychology, Behaviour and Achievement, said: “We can only speculate whether this is driven by social or physical elements – but an area we would like to research further is the biological mechanisms that may influence this.