It is news that should excite geeks - new research suggests maths can boost people's sex lives, even into their 80s.

Researchers at the International Longevity Centre UK found a link between the ability to perform mathematical tasks in later life and the likelihood of having sex.

Pensioners who can give the correct answer to a handful of moderately easy sums are twice as likely to be sexually active than those who struggled with the task.

The finding comes in a paper on financial literacy in old age, presented to a conference on pensions and retirement income.


Dr Cesira Urzi Brancati, a research fellow at ILC-UK, used data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), which has been charting thousands of over-50s for 14 years to test links between cognitive ability and financial nous.

Brancati noticed that 41 per cent of those who got one or none of the questions right had had sexual activity in the previous year compared with 79 per cent of those who answered four correctly.

Almost half (49 per cent) of those in their 70s who got the questions right had been sexually active in the recent past compared with only 28 per cent of those who struggled.

Among those in their 80s, one in five of those who scored highly in the maths test was still sexually active compared with just under 10 per cent of those who struggled.