Women who have more sex have better memories, study finds

Canadian scientists have investigated whether sex can improve how well women remember words and people's faces 

Kashmira Gander
Thursday 01 December 2016 10:59 GMT

Women who often have sex have better memories, according to a new study.

Research into how penile-vaginal intercourse (PVI) affects a woman’s brain found that it can help women to remember abstract words.

A team at McGill University in Canada found a link between sex and the growth of nervous tissue in the hippocampus – the area of the brain that controls emotions, memory and the nervous system.

To make their findings, the team asked a small cohort of 78 heterosexual women under the age of 30 to take part in a memory test involving people’s faces, and another with abstract words. They also completed a questionnaire to record their Grade Point Average, and whether they used birth control.

The results showed that the women who had sex most frequently were better able to recall abstract words. Sex didn’t, however, affect their score for remembering faces.

The findings suggest that having sex often is linked to memory function and the hippocampus, the authors wrote in the paper published in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour.

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The connection could be due to the fact that sex is a form of exercise, or that it helps to ease mental conditions – such as depression and stress – that impact the memory.

Further research is now needed to pinpoint whether achieving orgasm affects the memory.

“The chemicals involved with signaling reward to the brain—hormones and neurotransmitters—have been shown to be associated with both memory and sexual activity” Jens Pruessner, a psychology professor at McGill University who was involved in the study, told Broadly.

The findings follow a separate study which suggested that middle-aged women can enjoy sex more as they get older due to a boost in self-confidence, and better communication skills.

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