Frequent Sex Is Good For Your Brain

Got a dirty mind? Got sex on the brain? Good for you, Einstein, because new research indicates that frequent sex, and the desire for it, can have a significant influence on our cognitive ability. Over the last decade, a growing body of research into human and animal behavior has been published indicating that the more we have sex, the better we are at certain cognitive tasks, and the evidence is continuing to grow, including most recently in the respected Archives of Sexual Behaviour.  It’s not exactly light reading, but luckily, I’ve done it so you don’t have to.

Frequent Sex Is Good For Your Brain

A 2010 study discovered a direct correlation between sexual activity and increased neuron growth in rats. It was simple: rats that had sex more daily over a two-week period showed an increase in neuron growth than rats that only had sex once in the same period. Horny rats are smarter rats. The journal Hippocampus a couple of years later expanded on the researching, showing that not only did regular sex trigger neuron growth, but also cognitive function and problem-solving. Hurrah, double whammy. But what about hoomans?

Research on humans has provided similar findings, as you might expect. A 2016 study published in Age and Ageing took the sexual activity of 7,000 over-50s and correlated their performance on a number sequencing task, which was designed to measure their executive functions like problem-solving, as well as a word recall task that measured their memory. No surprises here, it turned out that men and women who’d had sex frequently in the past year performed better on the word recall test, and men also performed better on the number sequencing task. Sex, it seems, helps to ward off the detriments of older age.

This research was in turn expanded on in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour, which published a study of a sample of 78 heterosexual women aged between 18-29. More factors were included this time, and correlations were drawn between the frequency of their sexual activity in common with their memory, while controlling for several other factors, including grade point average, menstrual cycle phase, use of oral contraception, and length of the relationship. Once again, the study showed that women who had more sex performed better on the abstract word recall test. This shows not only that there’s a link between sex and recall, but also, potentially, sex and increased vocabulary.

In 2018, the same publication, the Archives of Sexual Behaviour, published a larger study, this time of 6,000 adults aged over 50, and explored how the frequency of sexual activity related to performance on two episodic memory tasks administered two years apart. This test took into account any possible memory decline over that period, and showed that those with more active sex lives performed better on the memory tests. It also showed a correlation between memory and intimacy, as the participants who described having more ‘closeness’ during sex also performed better in the tests. (It’s worth noting, of course, that everyone in the test study experienced a decline in their performance on the second test versus their performance on the first, as you’d expect. This indicates that frequent sex won’t prevent cognitive decline entirely, but it does seem to slow its acceleration against people who have sex less frequently.

The outcome of all this research, and there are many, many more not quoted here, is that there is a clear link between sexual frequency and, for lack of a better word, brainpower. Whether one is causative of the other remains to be seen, and more research is needed, as usual, but for now, it’s safe to say that sex is good for your brain.

Written by: Stuart Nugent

With 16 years in the adult industry, including many years at LELO, it's fair to say Stu has been around the sex toy block a few times. As LELO's resident sex geek, he's been featured in the Independent, the Guardian, HuffPost, Vice, Cosmopolitan, and anywhere people talk about sex. Here on Volonte, he turns his spotlight onto the important events affecting sex right now in a regular op-ed. Views are his own.

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