This is Your Brain on Sex
The scientific community loves to talk about how drug use affects people’s brains but not nearly enough of them talk about how sex affects it. So much of what many people think they know about sex actually turns out to be false. That is why it is so important that more reputable sources start openly talking about how thinking about sex and having sex impacts your brain.
After all, sex is not some taboo thing that no one does and should talk about. In fact, it is reported that by age 45, men have had an average of 19 sexual partners, with women coming in at 12. With so many people engaging in sexual intercourse at some point in their life, it is crucial that they understand what it is doing to their minds. The purpose of this article is to break down the positive and negative effects that sex has on a person’s brain.
We Crave It
We all know how hard it can be to convince yourself not to eat that chocolate bar that is in the cupboard. The sugary delight just calls out to you and forms a craving that is incredibly hard to kick. Well, the same goes for our sexual cravings. As primates, we are biologically designed to seek out sex. Not all the time or even most of the time, but every once in a while at the very least.
Part of why the desire to have sex can be so intense sometimes, particularly from the teens in their 20s, is because of the chemical known as dopamine. This powerful chemical, more commonly known as the pleasure chemical, produces a feeling that is comparable to what you experience when you eat your favorite food or win while gambling. When the mind starts to think about sex, this chemical begins to get released. With apps like Tinder, sex and gambling have combined to form the ultimate release of dopamine.
However, having too much of one thing is never good, especially when it is something as addictive as dopamine. Just like with serious drugs such as cocaine and heroin, dopamine can cause someone experiencing it to crash afterwards. As much as a third of women report experiencing some form of sadness, known as postcoital dysphoria, shortly after having sex.
It Affects Our Memory
One of the biggest areas where sex affects your brain is with your memory capabilities. Whether you realize it or not, sex may actually be causing you to have a better memory according to a 2018 study. It suggests that engaging in intercourse regularly can boost your ability to recall things. While it has only a minor impact in a person’s 20s and 30s, the benefit becomes much more evident for people in their 50s or later.
On the other side of that same coin, there are some cases where sex may actually reduce your ability to recall any recent memories. In some rare cases, about 0.007 percent of sexual encounters result in one of the individuals experiencing transient global amnesia. This condition can cause someone to temporarily lose their recent memories and be unable to form any new ones until the condition wears off, which usually takes about 30 minutes.
Only Good Vibes
In order to help receive only the good parts of sex’s effects on the brain, you must be sure that you are practicing safe sex. The biggest leaders of negative effects on the brain caused by sex are not from not having sex at all but rather from having unsafe sex. When someone practices unsafe sex, they open themselves up to contracting STDs and having unwanted pregnancies. These are things that can wreak havoc on someone of any age, let alone someone who is 20 and still trying to figure out their future.
That is why you should be doing everything you can to make sure that each and every time you have sex, it is completely safe. Afterward, make sure that you give yourself the peace of mind of knowing that you do not have any STDs by getting tested.