Studies find sexual activity enhances brain health


Studies find sexual activity enhances brain health

As if you needed a good excuse to have sex – research over the years has been trying to tell us sexual activity on a regular basis, boost cognitive functioning. This is good news to our ears and specifically what’s between them – our brain.  We may believe our most important sexual organ is what’s “down there” but actually it’s what’s found in our head.  And to keep this organ healthy and vibrant, increased sexual activity is one way to keep it in check. 

Our brain is the command center defining our personalities, thoughts, feelings and actions.  This is one organ we don’t want to have malfunction.  But if your brain power seems to have fizzled, here’s a fun way to light the spark – more sex.  Not only can sex help your brain but, your brain can also help your sex life. 

How sex enhances brain power

Many studies over the years have done their research showing the deep connection between sex and our brain.   Here are some samplings from such research conducted linking regular sexual activity with boosting brain power:

·      A 2013 study found that frequent sexual activity increased neurogenesis helping create new neurons in the brain. Neurogenesis is vital to the brain’s plasticity or it’s ability to adapt and change.  In addition, cognitive function improved potentially helping people boost memory and the ability to retain more information.

·      A similar study in 2010 found that sexual experience causes cell growth in the hippocampus, a region of the brain instrumental to long-term memory meaning sex could be one way to delaying memory loss and dementia.

·      A study from the Journal of Age and Ageing shows there is an association between sexual activity and cognitive function in adults over 50.  What researchers uncovered was that sexually active men and women scored significantly higher than sexually inactive adults on memory skills and executive function tests.  But men appeared to have the bigger brain boost than women as sexually active men had higher scores on both the memory skills and executive functions tests whereas sexually active women only had a higher score on their memory skills.  In addition sexually active men and women were more likely to have a higher level of education, be younger, wealthier, more physically active, not depressed, less lonely and have a better quality of life.

·      A team at Rutgers University used functional magnetic resonance imaging to measure brain activity by tracking changes in blood flow.  When women have an orgasm, as many as 30 areas of the brain light up.  Each of those lights represents blood flow meaning there is a surge of nutrients and oxygen rushing to the brain cells improving its overall health. They also found that crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and memory games often suggested for brain enhancement, only stimulate on localized regions of the brain. 

·      A study done at the University of Wisconsin found that DHEA a hormone that may help fight effects of aging, is naturally increased during sexual activity.  And when this happens, our brain benefits.  Researchers found that DHEA not only significantly increased the division of cells and new cell growth but also increased the number of neurons produced by the stem cells thus directly improving brain functioning.

·      Other clinical studies have found sex to reduce anxiety levels.  This is due to the fact that during sex, your brain is pumped full of hormones and neurotransmitters, including oxytocin (the bonding hormone), dopamine (the feel-good hormone), and serotonin (the serenity hormone).  Not only is your brain swooning with pleasure but these powerful hormones benefit the rest of your body increasing a sense of well-being and relaxation.

Make time for sex

These studies all point to the very real possibility of the power of sex to create a much better brain than usual. If sex truly is one way of making our brain age more gracefully over the years, then all of us should be making time in our busy schedules using it more often as a protective tool in age-proofing our brain.  Besides, can any of us think of more enjoyable or pleasurable ways of making this happen?