You’ve probably already heard that doing crossword puzzles and eating certain foods can help boost your brain power and stave off the effects of aging, but one activity you might not have thought would benefit your brain is to have more sex with your partner.

There are several different ways that regular sex may boost your brain power. One study from 2010 found that sexually active adult male rats experienced an increase in the number of neurons in their hippocampus (the part of the brain associated with memory) when having sex (either on a daily basis or once every two weeks), something that non-sexually active rats in the control group did not experience. Researchers also found that rats in the group that had sex daily had a rise in the number of connections between brain cells. In short, sex actually helped the experimental subjects’ brains to grow.

Another study, conducted just this past year, found that the creation of new neurons due to regular sex also improves cognitive function. The study looked at middle-aged rats and revealed that long-term exposure to rewarding sexual experiences led to cognitive improvement, which may also indicate that regular sex can help stave off some of the cognitive decline associated with aging in humans. However, the study also found that the cognitive benefits of sex are lost with a prolonged withdrawal period.

Making Sex a Regular Part of Your Relationship

There’s no “sex quota” that you need to reach in your relationship, but having sex on a regular basis is healthy for you and your partner (as long as both people are enjoying the sex). If you don’t feel like you’re having sex as often as you’d like to, the best thing to do is to be honest and talk to your partner about what you’re looking for. Encourage your partner to tell you what they’d like as well so that you can both work towards having a sexually satisfying relationship.

If you and your partner are having trouble finding time for sex, consider scheduling a “sex date” once or twice a week. While it might seem strange at first to schedule sex, getting into this routine can help you and your partner find the time you need and ensure that you have sex on a regular basis.

Want to learn more about how to develop and maintain a relationship that’s healthy for both you and your partner? Schedule an appointment with a Houston relationship counselor or consider attending an upcoming Imago couples workshop to learn how to get the love you want.