If you can’t even remember what you had for lunch, time to get laid!
Good news, ladies! In addition to less stress, sounder sleep and periods that don’t make you want to curl up and die, there’s yet another reason to get it on between the sheets: You’ll have a better memory.
A study published in Archives of Sexual Behavior found more frequent penile-vaginal intercourse (PVI) had a positive effect on young women’s memories. Researchers from McGill University investigated whether having a lot of sex increased neurogenesis (the growth of nervous tissue) in the hippocampus, a part of the brain that plays an important role in memory.
Seventy-eight heterosexual women under the age of 30 each filled out a questionnaire about sexual behaviors, grade point average and use of birth control. The researchers then gave them memory tests that involved viewing faces and remembering abstract words.
After analyzing memory scores, researchers found PVI frequency positively correlated with memories for abstract words—however, PVI was not necessarily linked to facial recognition. Kind of awkward if you end up in bed with a stranger and can only remember the name of his cat.
The study pointed out that relationship status had little impact on the findings. Single ladies who reported having lots of sex had better memories than women in relationships who reported either not having sex or having a low amount of it. “This suggests that it is PVI, and not the presence of a relationship, that accounts for the beneficial effects found in this study,” the authors write. Yeaaahhh! Tell that to the aunt who gives you shit or still being single.
Several factors may explain the link between more sex and better abstract word recall. For one, sex = cardio. Countless studies have shown the positive correlation between exercise and improved cognition. Sex is proven to help people cope with stress and depression, thereby combating the memory-impairing effects of those conditions.
Or, as the study notes, the cause may be the brain’s reward system: “The chemicals involved with signaling reward to the brain — hormones and neurotransmitters — have also been shown to be associated with both memory and sexual activity. Thus, you can indeed speculate that both are associated with reward.” Researchers believe the ability to recognize faces is not associated directly with the hippocampus in the way words are.
Pretty cool that the more sex we have, the more we’re expanding our vocabulary. Admittedly, the research leaves a lot of questions answered — like if orgasming makes a difference, or how/if sex affects a man’s hippocampus. For now though, ladies, let’s just enjoy the benefits!