Understanding how sex affects your brain can improve your roll in the hay, and it may also shed light on other parts of your health according to a distinguished professor of psychology at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey. Scientists are starting to unravel the mystery. Here’s what we know so far about your brain on sex.
Sex is like a drug
Sex makes us feel good. That’s why we want it, like it, and spend so much time hunting for mates. The pleasure we get from sex is largely due to the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that activates the reward center of the brain.
Sex can act like an antidepressant
A 2002 study out of the University at Albany looked at 300 women and found that those who had sex without a condom had fewer depressive symptoms than women who did use a condom.
Sex can (sometimes) be a downer
Those feel-good chemicals may be going full blast during the act, but after? According to researchers, there is such a thing as post-sex blues. About one-third of the women participating in one study reported having experienced sadness after sex at some point in time.
Sex relieves pain
Don’t skip sex when you have a headache. Research shows that doing the deed may relieve your symptoms. In a 2013 German study, 60% of participants who had migraines and 30% of cluster-headache sufferers who had sex during a headache episode reported partial or total relief.
Sex can wipe your memory clean
Each year, fewer than 7 people per 100,000 experience “global transient amnesia,” a sudden but temporary loss of memory that can’t be attributed to any other neurological condition.
Sex may boost your memory
A 2010 study found that, compared with rats who were allowed only one one-night stand, rodents who engaged in “chronic” sex grew more neurones in the hippocampus,
Sex calms you down
The same study that linked frequent sex to a brain boost in rats also found that the rats were less stressed. This works for humans, too.
Sex makes you sleepy
Sex is more likely to make men sleepy than women, and scientists think they know why: The part of the brain known as the prefrontal cortex winds down after ejaculation.