There is a new theory doing the rounds: having sex can make you smarter.
Rats were found to make more new brain cells after mating, and frequent sexual activity was also credited with increased brain power. However, the benefits to the brain were lost if the creatures stopped mating, the US researchers discovered. A second study suggested that having sex counteracts the effect of stress on the brain – at least in mice.
While having sex may make you smarter, the converse is not always true. The Atlantic website reports: ‘Being smarter does not necessarily mean you always have more sex. Smarter teens, in fact, tend to delay the initiation of their coital activities.’
Unfortunately, simply making new brain cells may not be enough to stay smart, and the dream of getting smarter through sex could turn out to be an alluring fantasy, devoid of any real substance.
Psychologist Tracey Shors, from Rutgers University in New Jersey, said: ‘While many activities can increase the rate at which new brain cells are born, hard work is needed if these cells are to survive. You can make new cells with exercise, Prozac and sex,’ she told a Society for Neuroscience conference. ‘If you do mental training, you’ll keep alive more of the cells you produce. And if you do both, now you have the best of both worlds – you’re making more cells and keeping more alive.’
I don’t think we need to delve more deeply into whether sexual activities enhance brain power – at least in humans. Throughout history people of extraordinary talent were found to be sexually driven to an obsessive degree, as if it were the fuel that kept creativity brimming with new ideas and direction. I have yet to find prodigies bereft of addictive sexual impulses that propel them to take giant leaps to the annals of historical sublimity. Sex and greater creativity are inseparable. They energise each other and leave the rest of us in awe of their collateral achievements.
All this research hogwash will never be able to explain precisely the power of sex in all its varieties, and its effect on the way we lead our lives and develop our intellect. Suffice it to say, its power and magic will reign supreme until the day we die. And then hopefully we will encounter a less engrossing power that will bring us tranquillity and the kind of serenity that replaces the often traumatic side-effects of sexual gratification.