Can More Frequent Sex Translate to Better Memory?
Quantity and quality of sex are sometimes related, and there is definitely a threshold of frequency
for each individual that is necessary to maintain sexual happiness. But can the frequency of a
man’s sexual activity have other benefits beyond helping to maintain that all-important penis
health? Interestingly enough, recent evidence suggests there may be a link between sex and
memory – and the link seems to be positive.
Good Sex, Good Memory
People often talk about “mind-blowing sex,” but some scientists think sex has the opposite literal
result – it makes it easier to remember things. How so?
As with so many things involving science, it all starts with animal studies. A study published in
2013 looked at rats and the effect sex had on the hippocampus region of the brain. The
hippocampus is an area crucial for memory function and retention. The scientists studied what
happened when rats had sex and found that one result was an increase in neural activity in the
Now a human study has indicated the same may be true of humans. While this was a small trial
involving only 78 people – all of them women – it does support the information found in the animal
Published in the Annals of Sexual Behavior, the study was conducted by investigators at McGill
University. The scientists interviewed study participants and asked them how often they engaged
in penis-vaginal intercourse. The participants then took a test which assessed their ability to
memorize words and faces. In general, women who had sex more frequently did a better job of
memorizing words than did women whose rate of intercourse was less frequent.
There wasn’t much difference between the two groups, however, when it came to memorizing
faces. But that outcome actually supports the theory that the neural activity in the hippocampus is
increased from sex.
Why? Because word memorization is largely focused in the hippocampus. Facial recognition is
more dependent on areas outside the hippocampus.
Clearly, one small-scale study is not enough to definitively establish a sex-memory link, and there
are other factors that could impact the outcome. For example, since only women were involved in
the study, it’s difficult to know whether such a link might exist in men. Since the study looked only
at heterosexual penis-vagina penetrative sex, its application to homosexual sex or to oral sex or
masturbation cannot be assessed. And finally, there’s always the possibility that some of the
participants may not have been accurate in their self-assessment of how often they have sex.
(Male readers may want to think about how likely they might be to exaggerate their own level of
sexual activity when asked, even in a scientific setting.)
But if future studies back up these findings – and especially if they are proven relevant for both
sexes and for all forms of sexual activity – it may mean a revolution in the way people study and
learn. For example, students cramming for vocabulary exams may want to increase their coital
activity. A guy making a presentation that involves lots of unfamiliar words and phrases may want
to include a few masturbation breaks while he works on his PowerPoint slides.