I just got back from a 10-day-long vacation with my mother where it became painstakingly clear that she, a senior discount card holder and a member of the AARP, has a much better memory than me, a 24-year-old. In order to improve my memory, my mom suggested I partake in some "memory-boosting" activities like playing Sudoku or using an actual map instead of Google Maps. While both options sound riveting, a new study on sex and memory has provided me with a new "memory-boosting" activity that won't catapult me into an early, boredom-induced death.
According to a new study, getting it on (or doing the dirty, making sweet love, logging a good, old-fashioned boink sesh — whatever you call it) can actually help fight against memory loss.
So, how did the researchers figure this out? To conduct the study, published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, Mark Allen from the University of Wollongong in Australia researched data of more than 6,000 adults who were 50 and older. Business Insider reports that Allen was looking out for any details regarding their "diet, health, well-being, and socio-economic status." Additionally, participants were also asked to fill out a questionnaire that asked them to report how much sex they were having. The researchers also tested the memory of their participants by requiring them to complete a memory test.
Then, two years after completing the initial memory test, the participants were asked to complete another one to see how their memories fared over time.
And here's where things start to get real good.
Allen and his team found that people — especially older people — who were engaging in sexual activities more frequently also happened to have better memories. So what counts as a "sexual activity"? Well, it's not just boinking. In fact, even just kissing or experiencing a deeper emotional bond with your partner can constitute as the sort of "sexual activity" that will improve your memory based on this study.
This all being said, it's important to note that the study's findings aren't necessarily saying anything about long-term memory loss. In fact, they actually found that people's memories generally tended to get worse over the course of the two years. I know, sorry to be a buzzkill, guys.
What frequent sexual activity did seem to help with was boosting our short-term memory. For those of you not clear on the whole short-term memory/long-term memory thing, let me give you a quick little refresher. Basically, your short-term memory is responsible for remembering things that just happened, like what you had for breakfast this morning. On the other hand, your long-term memory remembers things further in your past like your childhood.
So, having more sex may help you remember things like what you just did five minutes ago, but it isn't necessarily going to be super effective in helping you remember that precious day you spent on the beach with your mom when you were 12.
Allen believes the reason for the improvement in short-term memory sparked by intimacy is that these ~sexual~ interactions may boost function in other areas of the brain, like the hippocampus.
Business Insider reports that his theory is pretty legit, as there have been many other studies throughout history that have linked sex to a boost in both long and short term memory function.
The bottom line? Sex is great, in so many more ways than one.
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