Researchers at Penn State have conducted a new study that has found a potential link between low sexual satisfaction during middle age and future cognitive decline. The study, which focused on men between the ages of 56 and 68, found that decreases in sexual satisfaction displayed a connection with signs of memory loss as they aged. Martin Sliwinski, professor of human development and family studies at Penn State and co-author on the study, spoke about the new findings that he and his fellow researchers found saying, “What was unique about our approach is that we measured memory function and sexual function at each point in the longitudinal study, so we could look at how they changed together over time." He continued by saying, “What we found connects to what scientists are beginning to understand about the link between life satisfaction and cognitive performance.” The researchers analyzed data from 818 men surveyed while participating in the Vietnam Era Twin Study of Aging (VETSA), which is an ongoing longitudinal study funded by National Institute on Aging. Many tests were conducted, including neuropsychological tests to assess cognitive changes in participants between 56 and 68, with adjustments made for their cognitive abilities in young adulthood.
Although the study found a link between low sexual satisfaction and memory loss in the future, the exact cause of the relationship still remains speculative. Overall low sexual satisfaction has been correlated to health problems such as dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, and other stress-related issues, all of them contributing to cognitive decline. However, researchers have found that improvements in sexual satisfaction may potentially lead to better memory function in the future.