Why Your Brain Loves Sex

“Sex is one of the three reasons your body (and brain) thinks it is alive, so it is a powerful motivating force.”

Bio-hacker, Dave Asprey

And he’s right. The strong connection between your brain’s health and sexual intercourse has been proven time and time again; whether it’s the positive benefits of a female orgasm, the happy hormones released during and after, or the potential negative side effects of watching porn. Sex is not only a tool for pleasure, but also a tool for cognitive progression.

Brain Health Tips

Here at Peak – Brain Training, we’re all for tapping into new techniques to increase mental agility. Be it a new brain training technique or an improvement on the current ways of doing things, so when we discovered that our brains love sex we HAD to get involved. For many, sex will not be a new thing, however this article will make you aware of and tweak your sex life to reap the cognitive benefits.

Having More Sex Makes Your Brain Happier

This image is in relation to sex and the brain and shows a woman floating against a yellow wall holding an umbrella up. She's very happy!
Happy Brain

Yes we know, it’s easier said than done, however here’s why you need to up your intake to reap some amazing rewards! Hans W. Hagemann’s book, The Leading Brain, describes sex as, “one of the three most important things you do… Sex affects your hormone levels, your neurotransmitters, your brain waves and your overall happiness levels.” Positive sexual activity also impacts on other areas of your life, such as being a better employee or friend.

Harvard psychologists Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert conducted a study whereby they contacted people with some personal happiness-related questions via a pop up on their phone. 250,000 people responded! They found that the people who were happiest were the ones who were sexually active. How did they relate sex to happiness? On a happiness scale of 0 to 100, sex scored 90 and ranked 15 points higher than the second activity, exercising. Interestingly they also discovered that during sexual activities, their minds wandered far less than during other activities, such as driving to work, highlighting how sex may improve focus.

Action: Check out your focus next time you’re getting intimate.

Your Hormone Levels Love Sex

A marble effect image with beautiful colours like reds and blues depicting happy hormones as a result of sexual intercourse and the brain.
Happy Hormones

“Women’s orgasms support healthy hormone levels, relieve stress and can unlock altered states of consciousness.”

Bio-hacker, Dave Asprey

Brain scientist Dr. Daniel G. Amen, MD describes the effects sexual activity can have on your skin and stress levels, “Sexual activity can boost hormones like estrogen (or oestrogen) and DHEA and that can promote smoother, tighter skin. Sex also increases levels of oxytocin, the bonding and trust hormone, and decreases levels of the stress hormone cortisol.”

For men, tests have shown that, “greater frequency of orgasm is associated with increased lifespan.” Could it get any better?

Well, yes, for women that is. Dr. Amen describes how women who have regular sex in fact have, “significantly higher levels of estrogen in their blood compared to women with infrequent or no sex.” What’s so special about estrogen? Estrogen among many things helps to reduce bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol. It also, unbelievably, increases your bone density! Not to mention the benefits it has to the brain via the spike in DHEA – the hormone believed to help boost brain function.  

Action: Up your game to reap these rewards.

Your Brain Isn’t A Fan Of Porn

A person is holding their crossed hands upto the camera, indicating to stop. This image is in relation to sex and the brain.
Turn It Off

Studies have shown that each time you watch pornography you get a hit of dopamine and your appetite for that same dopamine hit is more difficult to satisfy with each watch. Original brain-hacking expert, Bill Harris, known for creating excellent brain upgrade programs, discussed the power dopamine has over the human brain and body, describing dopamine as the, “Neurotransmitter of immediate gratification… When you are driven to find a hit of dopamine, you are more likely to seek things that feel good in the moment but are bad for you in the long run, such as sugar, processed foods and even drugs.”

When it comes to watching porn, the release of dopamine is much higher than during sex with a partner, which can mean your crave to get a ‘porn dopamine hit’ outweights the urge to have sex with another person. Although getting that satisfying dopamine ‘hit’ gets more and more tricky each time you watch porn.

A famous Cambridge University study found that, “Compulsive porn users react to porn cues in the same way that drug addicts react to drug cues… researchers found that younger subjects had enhanced reward circuit activity when exposed to porn cues. Higher dopamine spikes and greater reward sensitivity are major factors in adolescents being more vulnerable to addiction and sexual conditioning.

Action: Quit the porn.

Takeaway points?

  1. Positive sex is great for your brain’s happiness levels.
  2. Porn may be detrimental to your cognitive performance.
  3. Sex can get your body and brain hormones in check.

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Sources Cited:

  • https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/DHEA_makes_the_fat_go_away
  • McEwen B., Milner TA. Understanding the broad influence of sex hormones and sex differences in the brain. J Neurosci Res. 2017;95(1-2):24–39.doi:10.1002/jnr.23809.
  • https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/jnr.23809
  • https://www.sharecare.com/health/functions-of-the-brain/how-sex-hormones-brain-function
  • https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0102419
  • https://theleadingbrain.com
  • https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0102419#s3
  • https://www.sharecare.com/health/functions-of-the-brain/how-sex-hormones-brain-function
  • https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0102419#s3
  • http://www.danielgilbert.com/KILLINGSWORTH%20&%20GILBERT%20(2010).pdf

All information featured in Peak – Brain Training articles are provided for informational purposes only and are not substitutes for medical or physician advice.

Maisie Bygraves