Sex–we all love it. It makes our brains feel a sudden, almost overwhelming sense of joy that quickly fades us back to our lame realities.
That’s not all sex does, though. Turns out sex can make our brains do weird things, some of which millions of dollars of research and top scientific minds can’t even figure out yet. Some of these effects are actually pretty terrifying, for example…
Sex Can Wipe Your Memory
“Mind-blowing” sex is something we all strive for. Normal sex will never do. We want sex that will destroy our brains and render us incapable of functioning like a normal human. We want our cognitive processes permanently disrupted by the force of an earth-shattering orgasm that causes an earthquake in Beijing, killing thousands.
Sounds exaggerated, but at least one part of that desire is kind of true. Sex, it turns out, can wipe your memory clean. Transient global amnesia is a strange phenomenon in which a person’s memory is almost completely erased for a few hours before it inevitably returns. It affects only 3 to 5 people per 100,000 every year, and scientists have no clue why it happens but know at least one activity that triggers it–porking, AKA sex, for those that aren’t into creepy, unappealing synonyms.
A 54-year-old woman from Washington, D.C. became the best example of sex-induced Transient global amnesia. The unnamed woman woke up one morning with no memory of her recent past. She knew who and where she was, but the previous 24-hours weren’t even tequila-bender blur, they didn’t even exist in her mind. In her mind, she went from Thursday to Saturday with no Friday. Even her newly formed memories, the ones she was forming after she woke up, became instantly hazy.
The next day she visited the emergency room of Georgetown University Hospital and, with a clearer head, was able to pinpoint the moment her brain wiring shorted out like a fork in a power outlet. She remembered that she stopped remembering immediately after she had sex with her husband. If she had been cheating on her husband she could have had an amazing excuse for not remembering her infidelity, and probably even a doctor’s note to back her up.
There are some theories that attempt to explain transient global amnesia–for instance, some scientists believe contracting our abdomens during sex creates an excess of de-oxygenated blood in our brains–but none are definitive explanations.
Porn Shuts Down Parts of the Brain
Porn is one of those dirty little things many people enjoy watching but rarely admit to, and probably for good reason, seeing as it was recently discovered that watching porn makes certain portions of your brain shut down. Who would admit to taking part in something that sounds like it gives you brain damage?
When you perform any kind of visual task your brain is being supplied with extra blood that fuels your ability to perform that task. This doesn’t happen when it comes to watching porn. When you watch a woman that’s clearly faking it make love to a man who can only be described by the words “greasy sex troll” your brain only focuses on the sex and nothing else. Your brain doesn’t see a reason to work any harder. You don’t need to process the fact that the drapes in the background are wine-colored or that the pool they’re having sex beside needs to be skimmed because HEY LOOK OVER HERE THESE PEOPLE ARE DOING IT ISN’T THAT AWESOME?!?!
When you’re watching porn, your brain is so focused on sexual arousal that it almost completely abandons paying attention to details. “You have to realize that the brain wants to spare as much energy as possible, so if some part of the brain is not necessary at a high level of functioning, it immediately goes down,” said Gert Holstege, one of the researchers that made this discovery.
We’re going to interpret all this as meaning that if you can watch porn while successfully completing a Sudoku puzzle you should work for NASA.
Sex Can Make Some Women Depressed
Sex is supposed to be the ultimate bringer of joy. A bad day can be erased after a nice eyelid-clenching orgasm. Sadly, for some women out there, the heighten joy of sex can be immediately followed up by sadness and tears–and scientists have no idea why.
A study of 200 young, sexually active Australian women found that some women experience post-sex sadness that has nothing to do with whether the sex was satisfying or their feelings toward their partner. It was just sudden, unforeseen melancholy that bubbled up to the surface as soon as the sex was done, and we’re certain most men think this could be remedied by a dose of vitamin D–the “D” being dong, of course, because most men are incapable of understanding human emotion.
Women tend to experience a sexual afterglow, a kind of residual happiness and elation that comes with a proper rogering. But, according to the study, one out of three women will or has already experienced post-sex sadness in their lives.
The study was small, so more research will have to be done before any conclusions can be reached, but so far the study suggests that for some women, sex may be fun when they’re in the middle of a heaving mass of contorted limbs that sprays bodily fluids like a defensive skunk, but as soon as that tangled mass of limb unfolds and sex is over, the affects could be on par with watching Shinderler’s List.
Sex Can Make Your Brain Grow
Apparently, when you put your penis in something and start pumping, you’re basically using your penis as a bicycle pump that inflates your brain. That might be the least scientific way of explaining a 2010 finding by Princeton scientists, in which they noticed brain growth in sexually active rats as compared to rats that rarely or never got some of that fine rat tail.
The researchers gave a group of adult males rats access to “sexually receptive” female mates (“sexually receptive” being the scientific way of saying “rat sluts”). Some had sex once a day for two weeks, others had sex only once in two weeks.
Both groups of sexually active rats showed an increase in the number of brain cells they created in their hippocampus, the area of the brain that manages memory, when compared to virgin male rats in that time span. But the brain cells of the rats that had sex daily grew larger and formed more connections between each other. On the other hand, the rats that only had sex one every two weeks had significantly higher stress levels, which impaired brain growth.
The lesson learned here is this: put down the textbook for a second and do some banging, nerds, because by the time you’re done, you’ll be smarter than everyone else, and you’ll be getting laid.
Sex Can Cause An Aneurysm
This might be as close to the definition of “mind-blowing sex” as you can get without the Roadrunner stepping on your foot to open your head like a trashcan and putting some dynamite sticks in your skull seconds before you ejaculate.
According to a study published in the medical journal Stroke, which is either a ’70s porn mag or a publication about the science behind having a stroke, there are a number of seemingly benign activities that can rupture your brain and, of course, sex is one of them.
The key factor that sparks a stroke is stress, which causes a sudden spike in blood pressure. If you add any number of stress-inducing or blood pressure-spiking factors, like, say, smoking, having sex, blowing your nose, or even straining to pop a deuce, you’re at a greater risk of popping something in your brain and having to live the rest of your life possibly looking like a Play-Doh man that was placed near an open flame.
So the next time you’re having sex while sitting on the toilet as your lover holds a tissue to your nose so you can get your snots out while you smoke a cigarette, take a step back for a second and ask yourself “Is being this efficient with my time healthy for me?”