Research into how penile-vaginal intercourse (PVI) affects a woman’s brain found that it can help women to remember abstract words.
The study published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behaviour is titled “Frequency of Penile–Vaginal Intercourse is Associated with Verbal Recognition Performance in Adult Women.”
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.
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 study found that the results suggest that such sexual activity may indeed have beneficial effects on memory function in healthy young women.
Dr. Jens Pruessner, a psychology professor at McGill University and one of the authors on the study told “The chemicals involved with signaling reward to the brain—hormones and neurotransmitters—have also been shown to be associated with both memory and sexual activity. Thus, you can indeed speculate that both are associated with reward.”