What Does Sex Do to the Brain?

You probably think of sex as a mostly physical experience, but there’s more to it than that. fMRI scans have shown that multiple parts of your brain become activated before, during, and after an orgasm.

Interestingly, sex can also help with cognitive function, as studies have found that regular sex promotes cell growth in the hippocampus, which is responsible for memory. But sex can also wipe your memory, leading to rare cases of transient global amnesia.

1. The limbic system is activated

The limbic system is the most primitive area of the brain that controls physical drives and elements of emotional processing. It lights up during sex as it works to create the perfect conditions for bonding and pleasure. This includes the genital sensory cortex, the thalamus, motor areas, and the nucleus accumbens, which produces oxytocin, the so-called “love and bonding” hormone.

In a study conducted in 2017, Rutgers University researchers had 10 female participants sexually stimulate themselves or have it done to them while strapped into an fMRI machine. At the point of orgasm, they found that many different parts of the limbic system lit up, including the cingulate gyrus, which helps to sense pain and process emotions. They also saw heightened activity in the insula, another brain region that is associated with empathy and emotional regulation.

This is the same part of the brain that is activated when you consume drugs, alcohol, eat a delicious meal, or see your favorite band in concert. It’s what makes these experiences so pleasurable and what prompts you to do the things that make you feel good – like getting jiggy with it.

Read also:  Signs That a Man Has Been Sexually Active

It’s also why you may feel less inhibited and bolder during sex. The logical part of your brain, the lateral orbitofrontal cortex, shuts down during climax, allowing you to let go and give in to the moment.

2. Multiple spatially remote parts of your brain are involved in having an orgasm

When sex starts getting hot and heavy, a whole host of different brain regions light up. Research has shown that genital sensory cortex, motor areas and the hypothalamus all become active during orgasm. And the hippocampus, which is known for triggering memories of past sexual experiences (yep, that’s why you remember your first orgasm) also becomes activated.

In addition, the ventral tegmental area releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that’s involved in reward and motivation. And as climax approaches, activity in the nucleus accumbens, which runs on dopamine, starts to ramp up.

As sex gets even more intense, the amygdala—the part of your brain that governs sexual drive —starts to get really involved, helping you assign emotional meaning to sex-related stimuli. And the cingulate gyrus, which is involved in regulating pain and emotions, turns on as well.

The brain churns out a lot of hormones, including oxytocin, which helps to create feelings of closeness and bonding. Oxytocin also helps to reduce pain, which explains why orgasms often feel like they’re a form of relief. After orgasm, your brain continues to release oxytocin, as well as serotonin, which can make you feel happy and sleepy. That’s probably why a lot of us feel a strong urge to cuddle after orgasm.

Read also:  Sex Drive Gummies For Woman

3. The lateral orbitofrontal cortex becomes less active

Researchers have found that the lateral orbitofrontal cortex becomes less active when you have an orgasm. This is the part of your brain responsible for decision-making and value judgments. Its shutdown may explain why you feel bolder and less inhibited during sex.

One of the reasons you feel so good after sex is because your brain is flooded with endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. These hormones are released when you perform a sexual activity, and they can even cure a headache for some people.

When you’re sexy, you’re likely also feeling the effects of your partner’s oxytocin, which is another feel-good hormone. This hormone promotes bonding and can help you deal with stress. Oxytocin is also known to reduce the feelings of pain and anxiety.

You can also expect the hippocampus and amygdala to become less active when you’re having an orgasm. This is because these parts of the brain are associated with emotional regulation, including fear and sadness.

Having regular sex can actually increase neurogenesis, or the growth of new neurons in the brain. This can help improve your memory, and research has shown that having sex is linked to better verbal fluency, visual recognition, and visuospatial ability.

4. You’re less sensitive to pain

During orgasm, your brain releases oxytocin and other hormones that decrease your sensitivity to pain. This is why some people describe the sensation of orgasm as a feeling of lightness, happiness, or bliss. But the same isn’t true for everyone, and some people may experience a lot of pain during orgasm. This usually happens if there’s a lack of lubrication. Using more foreplay or using a sexual lubricant can help with this. Oxytocin also reduces the pain sensitivity of certain body parts. The genitals, for example, are less sensitive during orgasm. This is due to the release of oxytocin and the release of other morphine-like substances.

Read also:  How to Increase Sex Drive While Breastfeeding

Another reason why sex feels so good is that dopamine is released during sex. This neurotransmitter, which is a natural feel-good drug, activates the reward center of your brain and makes you feel giddy, just like cocaine.

The good news is that sex doesn’t just feel great, it’s actually good for your health. Researchers found that sex increases the growth of new neurons in the hippocampus and improves cognitive functions, such as memory and verbal recall. One study found that women who have sex two or more times a week have better memory than those who don’t. And regular sex can help you live longer, too. It can lower your blood pressure and prevent or treat high cholesterol, a common cause of heart attacks and strokes.

See Also:

Edie

ad516503a11cd5ca435acc9bb6523536?s=150&d=mm&r=gforcedefault=1

Photo of author

Edie

Leave a Comment