Besides being super fun and pleasurable, sex also offers a whole slew of health benefits like a healthier heart and a lower risk of mortality. It’s not just your body that can benefit from regular sex, your brain will also thank you for getting it on.
We’re all for health hacks and brain boosts that help support cognition and a balanced mind – so why not explore one that many of us already spend plenty of time doing – having sex. How does sex support your brain health? Time to find out!
Want to be able to focus better at work, think more clearly, and fight cognitive signs of aging? Sex might be the answer.
Studies examining the role of sex in older populations showed that people who were sexually active later in life had overall better cognitive functioning with tasks like verbal fluency and memory.
Can regular sex make your brain bigger? Not necessarily, but it might help increase neuron growth in the hippocampus – the part of the brain responsible for memory, emotions, and the autonomic nervous system. It also plays a big role in verbal memory, which can help with overall communication and word-related tasks.
One of the biggest risk factors for mental health and other health issues is stress. Luckily sex can help decrease stress by lowering stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline.
People who have penis in vagina sex may even experience fewer stress-related blood sugar spikes. Blood sugar regulation can largely contribute to our ability to manage physiological and external stress. Besides sex, you can also use diet and physical activity to help regulate blood sugar levels.
It’s not just sex that can reduce stress levels, increased touch and intimacy without sex can also help mellow you out and support your brain. It can be hard to want to have sex when you’re feeling stressed, and you may even have lower libido levels. Even a quick morning snuggle can make a difference in your stress levels and help with your brain’s overall health.
Sex and Mental Health
Mental health is a huge component of brain health, and can also be benefited from sex. This may be thanks in part to increased levels of the hormone dopamine and oxytocin, which are released during sex.
Do you experience anxiety? Studies have shown that vaginal-penile intercourse may reduce levels of anxiety. These decreased stress levels also help improve neurogenesis – the brain’s ability to form new neurons.
It’s not just anxiety that can be supported by having sex, regular sex is also associated with fewer symptoms of depression.
People who engage in regular sex have reported having higher overall satisfaction with their mental health. There are a lot of other factors that may come into play here, however. People who have regular sex may have stronger intimate relationships and higher self-esteem which also contribute to more positive mental health.
Relationships and Well-Being
Humans are communal creatures that thrive in loving, supportive relationships – no matter what they look like. Regular sex typically means higher levels and intimacy, and hopefully closer relationships.
Sex may also improve your overall quality of life. Researchers found a connection between sex, loving relationships, and an overall more positive outlook on life. Not to mention the power of orgasms. When you feel good in your body, and connected to your sexual or romantic partners, you tend to feel better overall.
Can Sex Hurt Your Brain Health?
While there aren’t studies supporting the idea of sex hurting brain health, negative sexual experiences may increase stress levels and contribute to mental health issues. This could affect people who have sexual health disorders like vulvodynia, pain during sex from endometriosis, or those who have experienced sexual abuse or other forms of trauma.
If sex is stressful or painful for you, we recommend turning to a provider who can help treat your specific needs. This could mean a gynecologist for treating physical disorders, or a mental health care practitioner who can help you navigate psychological factors that are impacting your sex life.
Make Your Sex Life Work For You
We want to be as inclusive as possible when talking about sex and its potential benefits. That means understanding how your sex life can work for you. Sex doesn’t just mean penis in the vagina, it also includes oral sex, manual stimulation, masturbation, anal sex, penetration with a toy, or anything else that you consider sex.
While sex can be beneficial for brain health, unsatisfying sex can be quite the downer. You can help get in the groove and have a more enjoyable sex life by learning how to ask for what you want, starting a sex journal, and increasing intimacy inside and outside the bedroom.
Sex might be the most fun way to improve your brain health, but there are plenty of other ways you can help nurture your brain. For a healthy brain, along with a healthy sex life, aim to have a balanced diet, get regular exercise, and manage stress levels through tools like meditation and spending time with loved ones. Coincidentally, these tools can also help you have better sex!