How Sex Affects Your Brain
Not only is sex good for your physical health; a growing body of research shows that having sex produces a number of positive changes in the brain as well. Read on to learn about some of the ways sex affects your brain.
Sex may actually improve some of the brain's cognitive functions, which can result in positive benefits such as:
The Growth Of New Brain Cells
Recently, North American and Asian researchers conducted scientific studies of aged rats and discovered those that engaged in sexual activity experienced neurogenesis, or the growth of new brain cells in the area of their minds responsible for storing long-term memories.
Improved Memory And Sharpness
Research has found that increasing your level of sexual activity can enhance your memory, as well as your level of alertness. This is particularly true in individuals age 50 and older.
Some researchers opine that engaging in sex prior to completing an important task or responsibility could prove beneficial. These scientists suggest this is because sex keeps a participant's mind from drifting and, therefore, might sharpen his or her focus enough to excel at carrying out other important activities.
Sex causes the brain to release a chemical known as dopamine, which is a hormone that impacts a person's mood and enables him or her to enjoy positive, joyful sensations. Ergo, people who regularly engage in sexual intercourse might experience a greater number of good moods and display a happier demeanor than those who do not.
Engaging in sex might stimulate chemical processes in the brain that improve mood and could potentially curtail or even prevent the onset of depression. Some scientists have found that semen contains chemicals that, once synthesized by the body, possess anti-depressive properties that affect brain chemistry and might help prevent or lessen the severity of depression. In 2002, a team of researchers representing the State University of New York at Albany discovered that women who partook in unprotected sex displayed fewer manifestations of depression than those who either abstained or utilized some form of contraception.
Sex's impact upon the brain may also elicit certain physical manifestations including:
Increased Blood Flow
Sex is known to have numerous cardiovascular benefits. A 2005 study by Dutch scientists found that men engaging in sexual activity experienced increased blood circulation within various regions of their brains. Men were not the only gender whose brains were impacted by sexual stimulation. A group of researchers from New Jersey's Rutgers University studied 10 female subjects and discovered that, in all cases, brain activity was significantly increased when they attained an orgasm.
Improved Sleep Patterns
Sexual intercourse is believed to precipitate improved sleep for several reasons. First, scientists have found that, after a sexual participant achieves climax, his or her body typically releases hormones that are known to induce a state of sleepiness. In addition, the findings of Australian researchers suggests that, during sex, the brain secretes chemicals possessing sedative properties designed to promote better, longer and more restful periods of sleep. Moreover, sex requires the body and mind to expel increased levels of energy which can also make a participant tired and in need of rest.
Sex is thought to alleviate pain and, in certain instances, increase a participant's discomfort threshold. In 2013, a team of German scientists studied subjects stricken with migraine headaches. All of the test's participants engaged in sexual intercourse while experiencing the extreme pain of a migraine. Researchers reported that engaging in sex brought 60 percent of the subjects either some degree of relief or completely eliminated their discomfort levels.