Can sex make us smarter? In news set to elicit shrieks of sheer elation, the latest research shows that it just might.
At the very least in mice.
Psychologists from the University of Maryland found that sex enhances the number of neurons in the part of the brain associated with memory and learning.
Whether the rodents used in the study had sex once or many times, their brain cells multiplied.
Additionally, when they had sex regularly over time, "cognitive function was improved", the paper's authors said in April.
The caveat here is that to preserve the perks, you have to persevere. The researchers found that, despite the generation of new neurons (cells that transmit information throughout the body), the cognitive benefits were lost when the rats stopped having sex for prolonged periods.
The findings, taken together, revealed that sex can stimulate and restore cognitive function, the authors concluded. But, the extent to which it can do this is still unknown.
Separate studies of rats have come to similar conclusions and shown that regular sex flushes the brain cells with fresh oxygen, theoretically leading to a boost in brain power.
"If you do mental training, you'll keep alive more cells that you produced. And if you do both, now you have the best of both worlds – you're making more cells and keeping more alive.”
Sexual health therapist and Fairfax blogger Matty Silver is sceptical of these claims, however, and also questions how the intelligence-through-intercourse studies translate to humans.
"Yes, sex helps with stress levels," she says. "But ... how can it show that it increases intelligence in rats or mice?
"One of my last blogs was about the health benefits of masturbation (which really is the same for having sex) and it showed lots of health benefits (I researched every paper I could find on the subject but NONE mentioned – becoming more intelligent).
"The same for people, it's a nice thought – makes a great article but I don't believe it."
Believe it or not, this may be one area where, provided we're enjoying ourselves, it doesn't hurt to be our own guinea pigs.