Can This Really Improve Your Memory?

There are so many benefits of having sex, but this wasn't one that I expected. New research shows that having more sex can actually improve your memory. Granted, it was a small study — but hey, I don't need much convincing to have more sex. Research from McGill University published in Archives of Sexual Behavior looked at 78 women, all of whom were under the age of 30. They were given two memory tests — one focusing on abstract words while others focused on recalling faces. And women who had sex more frequently scored higher on recalling abstract words, but interestingly didn't affect their scores on recalling faces.

So more sex isn't going to help you remember people's names at a party, but it looks like it could improve your memory in other ways. It might be because the neurotransmitters and hormones associated with sexual activity is also associated with memory.

But they may need to do more research. "We observed this association between sexual behaviour and memory but there is no way we can tell that it is the sexual behaviour that *caused* the better memory," Dr. Jens Pruessner, Director of the McGill Centre for Studies in Aging, who worked on the study, tells Bustle. "For example, better health might be both associated with being more sexually intimate and having better memory. Or more physical activity. Or a better diet. You see, there is a myriad of possibilities that could explain this association. In the absence of a true experiment (where one manipulates one variable and observes the effect on the other variable) it is impossible to tell."

A boost in memory is just one of the possible benefits of sex. Here are some of the other amazing side effects you should be aware of, because it's definitely the most fun of all the stress-busters:

1. Oxytocin Can Kill Your Stress

Ah, oxytocin. It's like happiness in a bottle... or at least in a hormone. When you have an orgasm, the oxytocin released helps you de-stress. In fact, one study found that almost a third of women masturbate to relax, which is a damn good reason. And orgasms in sex have the same effect.

2. It Makes You Better At Making Decisions

Dopamine is also released during sex, and it's what gives you that amazing, glowing, and well, dopey feeling after sex. But that's not all. Dr. Jim Pfaus of Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec found that releases of dopamine have a more interesting long-term effect. It helps you be more flexible and adept at making decisions. It also makes you feel more up for a challenge, so it does your brain a whole lot of good.

3. It Will Help With Your Headaches

Who knew? A 2013 study by the University of Munster found that orgasms help in getting rid of headaches. In fact, they can also help get rid of migraines, which anyone who suffers from migraines will tell you is basically a gift from god.

So not only will more sex and more orgasms improve your memory, it basically is like an all-around hug for your brain and your body. And more than that, it feels amazing, boosts confidence, and, if you're in a relationship, bonds you with your partner. Make sure you're taking the time to nurture your sex life — it does a body good.

Images: Andrew Zaeh for Bustle; Giphy (3)