Sex is not just about pleasure: it offers some surprising brain benefits too! Since the subject has become less taboo in modern society, medical researchers have been doing more studies into sex and what kinds of physical benefits it has, and they’ve been uncovering more and more as research methods improve. Check out the following three ways sex may just be the medicine you need!
1.Possible Memory Boost
The University of Maryland conducted a study in which middle-aged rats were allowed to engage in sex. The results reported by The Atlantic were surprising: the rats showed better cognitive function and signs of neurogenesis, the process by which the brain makes new neurons.
The neurogenesis was largely observed in the hippocampus, the part of your brain that houses memory formation. A second group of researchers from Seoul’s Konkuk University theorized that, in the mice they observed, sexual activity acts as a counter to the memory draining effects of chronic stress.
Researchers noted that the boosts appeared to be lost after sexual activity stopped, so we don’t yet know what the long-term gains are or whether the same is true for humans. Still, with the studies looking promising, it’s never too early to get started on a little extra sexual activity for fun and for a potential brain boost!
Try setting aside time for sex if you and your partner haven’t been able to get together as much as you both would like because of the demands of daily life. While planning for sex may not sound romantic, it may be necessary during busy periods in your life so it doesn’t fall by the wayside.
2.Naturally Relieves Stress
Stress can cause all sorts of adverse health effects, from headaches and memory loss to insomnia and weight gain or loss, according to the American Institute of Stress.
Keeping your stress levels down is naturally best for your overall health and well-being, but sometimes that’s easier said than done. Luckily, sex can be a great stress reducer!
As reported by the Huffington Post, when you have sex, your brain releases a blend of neurotransmitters and hormones. Among them is oxytocin, responsible for feelings of bonding, serotonin, linked to feelings of happiness, and dopamine, known as the “feel good” hormone.
This potent blend spreads throughout your body, relaxes you and improves your mood, thereby reducing stress and anxiety. And, as noted by Dr. Daniel Amen, M.D. of the Amen Clinics, orgasms have a positive effect on the part of the brain that antidepressants also target, which may be why people who have sex more often report less instances of depression.
Get a little more sex into your life at times of stress. Even if sex doesn’t immediately come to mind when you’re stressed out, it can provide some welcome relief! If your partner is the person feeling the heat when it comes to stress, suggest a little fun to help them take the stress edge off.
Consider adding a few relaxation techniques before sex, such as massages, to increase the stress-reducing effects of the entire experience. Massaging can also up the mood and provide some mild tension and pain relief.
3.Provides Organic Pain Relief
A study conducted by a team at Germany’s University of Munster found a possible link between sex and pain relief, as reported by CBS News. The report shows that 60 percent of the 800 study participants who had migraines and about one-third of the 200 participants who had cluster headaches reported part or total pain relief when they had sex during an episode or when one was coming on.
It appeared that sex could prevent or relieve an attack of migraine or cluster headaches in some people, although it’s worth noting a few reported that the pain got worse in the middle of or after sex. Endorphins released by the brain during sex are believed to be the source of the pain relief.
Try a little sex if you or your partner suffers from migraines or cluster headaches. Lay some ground rules, because if the pain becomes worse, you both need to immediately stop. Also make sure you’re on the same page.
If you or your partner really doesn’t feel up to sex because of the pain or the side effects from those types of headaches, it shouldn’t happen. Keep an open and honest dialogue with your partner about sex in general, but especially when it comes to your comfort level and theirs.