I knew it! I just knew it!
For years we have known that sex makes you happier due to the release of endorphins in the body. We have also been aware that sex makes you healthier due to various reactions in the body (being happier adds to that as well).
But according to a recent issue of Scientific American Mind, sex makes you smarter too! (Kelly Lambert. “A Tale of Two Rodents.” Scientific American Mind September/October 2011: 36-43.)
In recent years sex has undergone a major shift in our society. Something that was once taboo is now mainstream in a way that makes many people uncomfortable. In my opinion this change has both pros and cons. (But that’s a topic for another time.)
Back to the science. This enticing article shed some light on the sexual behaviors of rats (what other animal would you expect) and some interesting characteristics such as the fact that male rats sing during the act. Even more interesting is that they change the song during different stages of the encounter.
(Guys take note. Girls LOVE a guy who will sing to them. Ever seen a guy in ANY band who was lonely for female companionship?)
More importantly, a recent study conducted at Princeton University found that when rats were exposed to sexual encounters they “showed a higher rate of neurogenesis in the hippocampus, a brain area involved in learning, memory, and emotional processing” and they had “enhanced growth of connecting structures, or dendrites”.
(Neurogenesis is the creation of brand new neurons in the brain.)
For many years scientists have been aware of the connection between high levels of stress and stress hormones, such as cortisol, and a lower level of neurogenesis. Now, they have discovered that sex can actually make you happier, thereby increasing neurogenesis. It sort of works in a cycle.
(This is true only in the absence of acute stress, and unhealthy sexual situations can actually result in lessening the growth of neurons.)
According to Lambert, “This study suggests that sex builds more complex brains.”
more sex = less stress/more happiness = more complex brain
There have never been more reasons to be stress free, positive, and happily snuggled up with the one you love.
Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone. ~G.B. Stern
The only people with whom you should try to get even are those who have helped you. ~John E. Southard