Yes, people, you read correctly. Something you always believed or hoped, but couldn't prove - having frequent sex makes you smarter! At least according to a new study conducted on mice, which found that having sex increases the creation of neurons within the hippocampus, an area of the brain.
A previous study had already shown that sex decreases stress and burns calories. When the mice in the latest study were stopped from having sex, a marked fall-off in their intelligence was detected.
The psychologists from the University of Maryland who carried out the study were quoted as saying:
"We discovered that even though there had been the production of new neurons, the cognitive abilities acquired during the experiment decreased once the mice were subjected to long periods without sexual activity."The researchers noted that increased sexual activity floods the brain cells with oxygen and concluded that this leads to increased intelligence. Another study by the Konkuk University in South Korea backed up the findings, agreeing that sex increases intelligence.
Unfortunately, the fact is that we are having less of it - on average fewer than five times a month, compared to six-and-a-half times 20 years ago, according to the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles.
A recent Canadian study showed that half-an-hour of sexual activity could burn more calories than walking on a treadmill.
The study measured the sexual activity of 21 couples aged between 18 and 35.
Over a period of 25 minutes, the men burned an average of 100 calories, the women 69. The intensity of the activity was roughly the same as playing doubles tennis, or walking uphill, for 20 minutes, 33 minutes of golf on a driving range, 40 minutes of yoga or 19 minutes of light rowing.
The British Heart Foundation suggests that 30 minutes of daily sex is as good for you as walking the dog.
Research is now showing that sex provides a workout for the heart and lungs, the release of hormones that could lower stress and the production of new brain cells.
And - for women - the added plus is a toning effect on the muscles in the pelvic floor!
Interestingly, older couples who are more sexually active are apparently less likely to get dementia and suffer from Alzheimer's disease.