Research has shown that sex can reveal important information about aspects of your health. Dr. Barry Komisaruk is a professor at Rutgers University. He says that sex isn’t always the easiest field to study. But experts like him are making significant progress. Here’s what you can learn right now about your brain on sex.
Sex can feel like a drug
Sex makes people feel good. That’s one reason why it’s such a popular activity. Dopamine is a powerful neurotransmitter released during sex. This brain chemical activates your brain’s pleasure center. The effect is similar to a drug. While cocaine and sex aren’t exactly the same, they both stimulate the brain in similar ways. Tobacco, caffeine, and chocolate also influence your brain’s reward center.
It can help women fight depression
A 2002 University at Albany study found that chemicals in semen, such as prostaglandin and estrogen, might help women fight depression. This is great news for couples in committed relationships. However, if you’re having sex with multiple partners, be sure to use condoms. There are many ways to fight depression, but condoms are the best way to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
But sometimes sex can make you feel sad
Your brain releases chemicals during sex that make you feel good. But afterwards, some people experience post-sex sadness. The technical term for this condition is postcoital dysphoria. The research isn’t yet conclusive. Experts believe that the post-sex blues could also be linked to regret or other outside circumstances.
Sex is a natural pain reliever
Next time you have a headache, sex could be the solution. A German study showed that sex gave some participants partial to full relief from headaches and migraines. Additional research revealed that G-spot stimulation could increase a woman’s pain threshold. Researchers attributed this effect to the release of oxytocin. This hormone helps mothers bond with their children and it has pain-relieving properties.
It can make you forget
Approximately 7 people per 100,000 experience sudden, temporary memory loss every year. This condition is called global transient amnesia. It can occur after sex, but it may also be caused by stress, head injuries, or medical treatments. People with global transient amnesia cannot remember recent events or make new memories. The memory loss may last for days or hours.
Or it may boost your memory
A 2010 study found that rats that had sex every day for two weeks gained neurons in the region of the brain that controls memory. The results have been repeated in a second study with mice. That’s good news for rodents. However, researchers still don’t know if frequent sex can improve human memory.
Sex can make you tired
Men tend to get sleepy after sex. Now researchers think that they might know why. An active part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex slows down after ejaculation. Sex also releases relaxing chemicals such as oxytocin and serotonin. Together, this may account for the sleepiness that occurs in some men after sex.