Loading...
Simply Chic Simply Chic Blog Home

Study: Sex Can Make You Smarter, Less Depressed

Scientists say getting it on is good for the brain.

By Kristin Wong Aug 21, 2012 3:22PM
Photo: Getty ImagesDespite that episode of Seinfeld in which George Costanza has a surge of cognitive function after abstaining from sex, scientists seem to think getting busy is actually what boosts brainpower.

Research shows that people who have lust on the brain perform better when presented with analytical problem solving assignments. What's more, scientists have also found that sex bolsters brain growth and can reduce depression.

Recently, Dr. Jens Forster of the University of Amsterdam led a study in which participants were presented with a series of critical thinking problems. Forster found that lustfully-minded subjects performed better than participants who didn't have sex on the brain.

In Jesse Bering's book, Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That? And Other Reflections on Being Human, he references this research and also discusses studies performed by Gordon Gallup, a psychologist at the University of Albany.

According to Bering, a "snapshot" of Gallup's recent research shows that "semen-exposed women perform better on concentration and cognitive tasks." Interestingly, Gallup's findings support a Princeton study that measured the cognitive function of sexually active rats.

In the Princeton experiment, scientists introduced adult male rats to sexually receptive female rats. Researchers then compared the brain function of the sexually active rats to that of virgin rats. The results? The sexually active rats experienced a growth in brain cells.

But Gallup's research is a bit different, as he's not just studying the health benefits of sex, but semen in particular. And his research, while valid, has not been without controversy.

In 2002, Gallup attracted media attention when he studied the mood-enhancing chemicals in semen. Bering lists these in his book:

"Perhaps the most striking of these compounds is the bundle of mood-enhancing chemicals in semen. Such anxiolytic chemicals include, but are by no means limited to, cortisol (known to increase affection), estrone (which elevates mood), prolactin (a natural antidepressant), oxytocin (also elevates mood), thyrotropin-releasing hormone (another antidepressant), melatonin (a sleep-inducing agent), and even serotonin (perhaps the best-known antidepressant neurotransmitter)."

With this knowledge, Gallup studied the antidepressant properties of semen and found that women who had regular unprotected sex indeed showed less depressive symptoms than those who used condoms. After the study was released, Gallup clarified:

"I want to make it clear that we are not advocating that people abstain from using condoms, clearly an unwanted pregnancy or a sexually transmitted disease would more than offset any advantageous psychological effects of semen."

In short, the consequences of unprotected sex are probably not worth it.

Getting back to sex and intelligence, this is an area that seems to intrigue scientists. In yet another experiment, German sex researcher Warner Habermehl also found that sexual activity stimulates the brain. He conducted a study among college students and discovered that participants who were having regular sex registered far more brain activity than those who weren't. The findings led Habermehl to assert:

“Sex makes you more intelligent in that experiences are collected that can be used later on in areas of your life not linked to sex."

Good news for the sexually active among us. Just remember: Smart sex is safe sex.

Photo: Getty Images

More Love & Sex from MSN Living:

What He's Really Thinking After 1, 5, and 10 Years of Marriage

What She's Really Thinking After 1, 5, and 10 Years of Marriage

Avoid These Sneaky Love Landslides

 

90Comments
avatar
Great, now you're gonna get a bunch of horny little teenager boys jizzing onto girls at an emo concert and saying it's for their own mental wellbeing.
avatar
This is a very confused article. It conflates many things. For example, it confuses sex in the mind or on the brain with the actual act of sex. Obviously, one can be thinking about sex and yet not having it. Obviously, one can also be having sex but not even thinking about it. It's not clear at all that simply thinking about sex is good for the brain and for depressive symptoms because all the evidence provided was for actual sex, not simply thinking about it.  

But if sex is really good for intelligence, the author must be an old virgin. 
Aug 22, 2012 12:13AM
avatar
I always thought that I did better in school when I was involved in a healthy sexual relationship
Aug 22, 2012 12:12AM
avatar
Who in the world is the clown that keeps coming up with stories like this?
Aug 21, 2012 11:13PM
avatar
So riddle me this, why are prostitutes not the smartest people on earth?
Aug 21, 2012 7:35PM
Aug 21, 2012 7:31PM
avatar

Stupid report. "The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life is of the world, not God." "many shall be deceived."

 

If you really think sex makes you smarter, then why did it take the world so long in the "knowledge" that it's gained?

 

Maybe the world is not that smart after all, look at how they're destroying it, through sexuaul immorality, debauchery and lasciviousness.

 

Truth be told. You can't handle the truth because you live in deception/darkness.

Aug 21, 2012 7:27PM
avatar
So women who swallow are smarter, more loving and in a better mood than those who don't?! I'd like to do my own study on that one.
Report
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
Categories
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?

beauty tips and style advice

  • Bridesmaid Dresses You'll Wear Again and Again

    16 of the best bridesmaid dresses she'll wear again

    Click through the slideshow to shop some of our spring favorites.

  • Hairstyle, courtesy of Getty Images

    3 cool braided hairstyles

    French braid? Been there. Fishtail? Done that. The newest styles are all about unexpected texture, major volume, and one man's wild imagination.

  • Getty Images

    10 things only long-haired people will understand

    Long hair, don’t care? Think again…

  • Christina Hendricks, courtesy of Redbook

    Christina Hendricks's best beauty tips

    She dishes on the routine that keeps her looking polished, even when she's pulling up to the <i>Mad Men</i> set at 5 a.m. Plus, the fragrance that helps Christina get her Joan on.

  • Wedding Makeup Looks For Every Type Of Bride

    Wedding makeup looks for every type of bride

    For inspiration, we've rounded up gorgeous (and easy to replicate) wedding makeup looks from the red carpet.

  • wedding hairstyles for short hair

    Wedding hairstyles for short hair inspired by the red carpet

    With a few insider tricks, you can enjoy short hair 365 days of the year and have a gorgeous style on your wedding day. Wedding hairstyles for short hair do exist.

  • Lucky

    Six steps to shorts-ready legs

    I’m beyond excited to finally ditch my winter coat and heavy layers, but I’m not so eager to ditch my tights. Let’s just say my legs are not as smooth and bronzed as they were the last time I showed them off many, many months ago.

  • Kate Middleton, courtesy of Getty Images

    Prince William thought Kate Middleton looked like a banana in this dress (plus one more royal tour outfit)

    After a jam-packed week in New Zealand, Kate Middleton and Prince William finally enjoyed a day off, but as of last night (or this morning..? Ah, time change!) they're back on the road again.

  • Eye shadow palette

    9 essential travel beauty products

    These travel-sized beauty products will do double-duty while you're on the road.

  • 03-kate-middleton-duchess-of-cambridge-normcore_194158728945.jpg_gallery_max

    Kate is the Duchess of normal

    Neatly sidestepping high fashion, the smiling, cheerful Kate Middleton is fast becoming the Duchess of Normcore.

  • i.1.victoria-secret-fashion-show-2013-ss01-1

    Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show moves to London

    This December, New Yorkers might notice something missing in the Christmas air.

  • 1

    Our favorite platinum blondes of all time

    When Madonna posted an image of herself wearing a full on Game of Thrones Khaleesi costume on Instagram last week we weren’t exactly surprised—this is the woman who rolled into the Grammy Awards wearing a tuxedo and a grill earlier this winter, so why not celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim with a leather corset and a pair of tiny dragons? Still, we were hypnotized by her white-blonde, braided Daenerys Targaryen hair. Functioning as a bleached out cultural weather vane of sorts, it tapped into multiple obsessions at once—the return of "Game of Thrones" to HBO, spring’s new extreme hair lengths and, most notably, fashion’s current platinum mania. Our own love of ice-blonde hair—which transforms any look from everyday to extraordinary—has been well documented of late, but last night’s Game of Thrones premiere sent our platinum fever into overdrive. In celebration of fashion’s favorite hair color, a look at the best platinum moments in history.

follow us
follow us follow us on facebook follow us on pinterest follow us on twitter
buzzing now on msn living
Loading...
about our blog contributors
Loading...
style videos
editor's picks
Loading...