Sex Is Good For The Brain

If you’ve ever needed an excuse to spend more time having fun under the covers, we’ve got you sorted.

sex can improve mental performance and cause growth of new brain cells
sex can improve mental performance and cause growth of new brain cells

New research has found that having sex can improve mental performance and increase neurogenesis (the production of new neurons) in the part of the brain where long term memories are formed, the hippocampus.

Scientists at the University of Maryland found that middle-aged rats who had sex showed signs of improved cognitive function and “hippocampal” function, reports The Atlantic.

Having sex also helps balance out the effects of chronic stress, according to research conducted by Konkuk University in Seoul.

They experimented with mice and found that sexual activity, “could be helpful for buffering adult hippocampal neurogenesis and recognition memory function against the suppressive actions of chronic stress”.

But can this theory work in reverse? Do smarter people have more sex?

Unfortunately, the answer is “no”. In fact, smarter teenagers tend to start having sex later in life.

Having a high working memory decreases the likelihood of an early adolescent sexual debut, according to a 2012 study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania.

While having sex can increase the rate at which new brain cells are born, only effortless, successful learning increases their survival, according to leading psychologist Tracey J. Shors from the Centre for Collaborative Neuroscience at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

“You can make new cells with exercise, Prozac and sex,” she said. “If you do mental training, you’ll keep alive more cells that you produced. And if you do both, now you have the best of both worlds – you’re making more cells and keeping more alive.”

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