SEOUL — Pop science has a lot to say on the subject of sex’s potential for a great (or not so great) work out, but maybe the corporeal focus is all wrong. New research points to headier benefits, suggesting that sex may actually make you smarter.
Separate studies conducted in Maryland and South Korea found evidence that mice that engaged in sexual activity experienced improved mental performance and neurogenesis (i.e., developed more neurons) in the hippocampus, the brain structure where long term memories are formed.
In April, a group from the University of Maryland reported that sexually active middle-aged rats exhibited better cognitive and hippocampal functioning. Meanwhile, researchers from Konkuk University in Seoul concluded in Novemeber that sex could offset the detrimental effects of stress, like impaired memory and overall cognitive functioning.
“Sexual interaction could be helpful for buffering adult hippocampal neurogenesis and recognition memory function against the suppressive actions of chronic stress,” the research team from South Korea wrote.
While sex may indeed help grow neurons, the jury is still out on analogous effects of porn. A group from the University of Texas reported the opposite phenomenon with regard to porn (watching porn worsens memory), but researchers from UCLA quickly issued a visceral rebuttal.