A new study has found sex can improve people's performance in short-term memory tests.
It adds to the existing research that has suggested sex can improve cognitive function in a number of ways.
Some researchers conclude it is because sex boosts brain cell growth in areas of the brain associated with memory.
Others suggest it's because of the sexual "afterglow" that pumps us full of dopamine and oxytocin.
Either way, sex is probably good for the brain — not that you needed an excuse to have it.
Normally we get by without it being too much of an issue — unless we develop a brain disease like Alzheimer's. But losing your memory can be alarming, and people sometimes worry as it can be a sign of something more serious. That's why there's such an emphasis on memory improvement and brain training in scientific research — people are keen to keep their minds fresh for as long as possible.
According to new research, sex could be one of the ways you can reduce memory loss. The study, published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, was led by Mark Allen from the University of Wollongong in Australia.
Allen looked at data from more than 6,000 adults over the age of 50, and analysed information about their diet, health, well-being, and socio-economic status. They had all also completed a memory task and a questionnaire where they reported how much sex they had. After two years, they completed another memory test.
Results showed that more frequent sexual activity, including kissing and greater emotional closeness, were associated with better memory performance — and this link was stronger among older participants.
Overall, people's memory performance worsened over the two years, and sexual activity only seemed to help with short-term memory tasks. There was no evidence to suggest sex helped declining memory in the long run.
Allen concluded that intimacy may boost memory by stimulating areas of the brain that are associated with memory, like the hippocampus.