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Do we really need any more reasons to have sex? Probably not, but researchers in America and South Korea have found that having sex might just make you smarter!

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Working with rats they identified that half an hour of sexual behaviour a day can encourage the growth of brain cells. In turn, this improved their cognitive function.

This is ground breaking stuff because scientists traditionally thought that brain cells couldn’t regenerate. You may have remembered hearing that you had to be careful not to destroy too many? Well, it’s only been a few short years since this was found to be untrue. They can, and do, regenerate through a process called neurogenesis (the development of neurons). Since then scientists have been busy collecting evidence to see what we need to do to enable this process to happen.

Firstly, psychologists at the University of Maryland identified that sexual behaviour can generate neurons in the hippocampus. This is where our long-term memories are made. This clever group of researchers also tested middle-aged rats and discovered that daily sexual experience can help restore age-related decline in brain function. Apparently the restoration of function was so pronounced it reverted the brain function of these middle-aged rats back to young adult levels.

There was a down side, however. If the rats ceased their daily sexual escapades, the improvement of cognitive function was lost. So, this isn’t only an excuse to have half an hour of sex a day but to continue the practice as we get older.

Secondly, in another study at Kontuk University in South Korea, they investigated the effects of stress on the brain. It is believed this is a primary inhibitor of neurogenesis. Remarkably, they found that having sex could successfully counteract the negative effects stress can have on brain development. Their overall consensus was that in cases of chronic stress, having sex could act like a buffer and prevent further brain deterioration and even promote growth.

So, it seems that yes, having sex can in fact make you smarter. However, being smarter doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll have more sex. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania identified that having a high working memory actually decreases the chances of becoming sexually active early.

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