Go Ahead and Skip This Month's Book Club--Sex Might Actually Make You Smarter

by Gena Kaufman

Studying, basically. (Getty Images)Studying, basically. (Getty Images)Is this ultimate catch-22? Having sex might make you smarter, but being smarter means you'll have less sex.

According to new research, sexual activity can improve mental performance and improve memory function. Via a study looking at middle-aged rats (exactly what you want to associate with your sex life, I'm sure), those engaged in sex showed signs of improved cognitive functions. If you're not that interested in the sex lives of rodents, previous research on actual human women has suggested that orgasm is a great mental exercise. So: Stop reading, have more sex?

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Well, not so fast. If, like me, you're feeling a little concerned that your brain might be going to mush because you've been single and with a rather inactive sex life for quite some time, there's a flip side that might make you feel marginally better. Sex may make people smarter, but being smarter doesn't mean you'll have more sex. Maybe you're just not having sex because you're a secret genius? Well, studies show that teens with higher working memories were less likely to have early adolescent sex. However, another study shows that school performance, not intelligence, may be the factor that affects sexual activity, and also, you're way past adolescence, so I guess this probably isn't making any of us feel any better. Forget what I said.

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Go have sex instead. As we already knew and were incredibly happy about, it's good for you. But while there are mental benefits, you probably shouldn't expect a MacArthur Genius Grant based solely on your bedroom activity just yet. Keep reading too.

Are you happy to hear of the potential mental benefits of sex? Or are you just going to rock your fake glasses and tell people you're way too intelligent for sex, see?

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