Strengthening memory could not be more pleasurable – at least for women – than what new research suggests. Researchers have found that more frequent sexual intercourse may strengthen women’s ability to remember words.
“These results suggest that PVI (penile-vaginal intercourse) may indeed have beneficial effects on memory function in healthy young women,” said the study by researchers at McGill University in Montreal.
Previous studies had reported the beneficial effects sexual intercourse on memory function in animal models.
So, Larah Maunder and colleagues wanted to test if frequency of sexual intercourse was related to memory function in healthy female college students.
To determine whether variation in penile-vaginal intercourse would be associated with memory performance, the researchers asked 78 heterosexual women aged 18-29 years to complete a computerised memory paradigm consisting of abstract words and neutral faces.
Results published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior showed that frequency of sex was positively associated with memory scores for abstract words, but not faces.
The researchers found that frequent sex resulted in the growth of new tissue in the hippocampus — thought to be the centre of emotion, memory, and the autonomic nervous system.
“Because memory for words depends to a large extent on the hippocampus, whereas memory for faces may rely to a greater extent on surrounding extra-hippocampal structures, our results appear to be specific for memory believed to rely on hippocampal function,” the researchers explained.
“This may suggest that neurogenesis in the hippocampus is higher in those women with a higher frequency of PVI, in line with previous animal research,” the study said.