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Science

Sex Boosts Brain Growth 251

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the do-it-for-my-brain-baby dept.
climenole writes "Sex apparently can help the brain grow, according to new findings in rats. Sexually active rodents also seemed less anxious than virgins, Princeton scientists discovered. Past findings had shown that stressful, unpleasant events could stifle brain cell growth in adults. To see if pleasant albeit stressful experiences could have the opposite effect, researchers studied the effects of sex in rats."
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Sex Boosts Brain Growth

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  • Bullshit (Score:5, Funny)

    by elrous0 (869638) * on Monday August 02, 2010 @12:23PM (#33111626)

    If that were the case /. would be full of retards and the NBA would be full of geniuses.

    I'll believe it when Jon Bon Jovi announces that he's found the Higgs Boson.

    • by i_ate_god (899684)

      it's not bullshit.

      Look at how much arguing there is on slashdot, we are all quite stressed...

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      If that were the case /. would be full of retards

      Umm, have you been reading it lately? ;-P

    • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bsDaemon (87307) on Monday August 02, 2010 @12:29PM (#33111718)

      Just because they chose to focus on physical mastery over themselves, then managed to get a sweet gig making millions of dollars doing something fun doesn't make them "morons." Hell, if I could make a mint playing games all day, why would I bother looking for the Higgs Boson?

      Besides, consider the following: The major goal in any living being's life is to ensure the survival of his genes. Those who get the most action have the best chance of doing so, which means on a sub-conscious, primal level they're going to have less to worry about. That means they won't be distracted from focusing on what's important to them.

      If more nerds got some, maybe we'd have the Higgs Boson on lock already.

      • by Pharmboy (216950)

        I think you have to consider the whole picture here: How many people in high school go to college vs. how many make a good living 10 years later? A pretty good percentage. Now, how many people in high school decide they want to be a basketball playing millionaire, and what percentage make it? Inversely, what percentage of each of those groups are now living below the poverty level?

        I would venture a guess that there are more millionaires that went to business school than who played professional sports of

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by bsDaemon (87307)

          Yes, but let's look at business school types. Your typical MBA probably at least was on a crew team in high school or college. Lacrosse is a good substitute, too. Their undergrad major was probably in a subject where there were lots of girls, so they had more opportunity to get to know women and how to interact with them, thus more chances for breeding.

          They then went on to get an MBA, bought a new BMW 'cause the one their dad gave them for their 16th birthday was showing its age, and probably kept on pla

          • 2) your typical nerd male is going to be harder to talk into doing risky behavior such as hang gliding or whatever, because he'll be too busy worrying about the elevated risk of death

            I have to disagree with you on a couple of levels. First, I am a glider pilot (hang gliders), and a high majority of the 100+ members in my club are engineers or technologists of some sort. The skill and depth of knowledge required are very appealing to this type of person.

            Having participated in team sports and more "extreme" sports myself, you run into a lot more of the nerdy/dorky type in these areas.

            • by bsDaemon (87307)

              I just picked hang gliding as an example at random. Having been a small plane pilot myself, there is definitely a draw to various forms of powered and un-powered aviation to more technically inclined people. Perhaps I should have used bungee jumping or something instead. However, I still think there is a much higher degree of risk aversion among nerds (not necessarily technical people -- after all, most of the original astronauts had engineering degrees and were military test pilots -- but, you know... th

          • by mcgrew (92797) *

            your typical nerd male is going to be harder to talk into doing risky behavior such as hang gliding or whatever, because he'll be too busy worrying about the elevated risk of death, subconsciously due to the fact that he more than likely hasn't reproduced yet, and therefor would lose evolution.

            Your hypothesis fails the logic test. If it's true, then why do young males who haven't procreated engage more often engage in risky behavior (binge drinking, driving fast, hang gliding, rock climbing) than us geezers

            • by bsDaemon (87307)

              I'm assuming that its subconcious. Until fairly recently in our history, contraceptives were rare and fairly ineffective, so the fact that you were having sex on a semi-regular basis pretty much guaranteed having kids. I suspect that we would find a fairly strong corrolation between the binge drinking speeders with rock climbing habits and the kids who are getting some. Not so much with the chess club kids.

              • by mcgrew (92797) *

                Well, I rode a dirt bik when I was young, drove fast, did all sorts of dangerous things (like messing with explosives; I am a nerd, after all). That's before I ever had kids. These days I take the younger guy's girlfriend for drinks while he's out doing dangerous stuff (like golfing in a thunderstorm).

                Of course, one day that may prove dangerous, but I've gotten nothing more than threats so far.

      • Having money doesn't make you smart either. You can earn a billion form playing games no one is going to consider you a genius.
        • by bsDaemon (87307)

          Would you rather be a genius with poor working conditions and little chance of reproduction for the chance to get your name somewhere in a list of "et al"s on a scientific paper, or someone of normal intelligence who made a boat load of money doing something the majority of the population thinks is cool? Man, that's a really tough one, isn't it?

          • I'd rather not have the media up my ass at every hour of the day so yes I'd trade some of the cash for some more brain power.
        • But, it can make you appear smart - how many athletes get praised for their quick thinking on the field or their genius in going with that off-sides kick that suddenly got the game tied? Other people and event settings redefine genius - a physicist wouldn't last a second playing hockey but a hockey player wouldn't be able to do squat in a lab, yet each will be praised for their intellect and skills in their respective fields.

        • Having money doesn't make you smart either. You can earn a billion form playing games no one is going to consider you a genius.

          Just millions will consider you a hero.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ZorinLynx (31751)

        That's funny. I couldn't give a rat's ass if my genes get passed on. However, I do enjoy having a partner for the companionship and love it brings. There's more than one reason to pair up with someone you love; passing on your genes is only one of them.

        I get a lot more out of a few hours snuggling in the dark talking with someone I care about than a quick session of mindless sex with someone I just met. Does this make me strange, or does it prove that "passing your genes on" isn't the only factor here? I'd

      • Besides, consider the following: The major goal in any living being's life is to ensure the survival of his genes. Those who get the most action have the best chance of doing so, which means on a sub-conscious, primal level they're going to have less to worry about. That means they won't be distracted from focusing on what's important to them.

        If we want to get all pseudo-psychological (not saying you are, just disclaiming that I have no idea what I'm talking about), then I would wager that the animals who are getting tail in truckloads aren't striving for survival, they're trying to prove that their masculinity is intact and working well.

        As opposed to another animal who only mates a couple of times and hits a home run ("She's pregnant! GO HOME, RUN!"), they can go to bed knowing that their lineage's survival is safe.

        I'm not saying that the avera

        • by bsDaemon (87307)

          I look at it like this:

          The first priority is survival of the species, with a built-in drive to make sure my descendents are the members of the species doing the surviving. That means having offspring.

          You need to have more offspring at earlier stages of societal and technical advancement because there is a higher rate of mortality among younger offspring. The 19th century farmer needs to have more kids, because many will die, and the extra hands are needed to work the land.

          Once you reach a critical mass wh

      • by PPH (736903)

        The major goal in any living being's life is to ensure the survival of his genes. Those who get the most action have the best chance of doing so, which means on a sub-conscious, primal level they're going to have less to worry about. That means they won't be distracted from focusing on what's important to them.

        Sounds reasonable. The relationship between sex and stress depends on the social. With species like bonobos or homo sapiens, more sex leads to more gene prorogation and less stress. With other species (dominant male with a large harem) getting more sex is highly stressful. And although the alpha male gets a lot of sex, there is evidence that high rates of infidelity undermine his genetic monopolization of the heard. It may be that the optimal strategy for genes and stress might be to hang around the fringes

      • by mangu (126918)

        Just because they chose to focus on physical mastery over themselves, then managed to get a sweet gig making millions of dollars doing something fun doesn't make them "morons."

        What makes them morons is the fact that their definition of "fun" is throwing a ball at a hoop. They are just lucky that there are millions of other morons who consider it fun to watch them playing.

        Someone who considers it fun to hunt for the Higgs Boson certainly has a much more evolved brain, because so much more reasoning is needed

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          What makes them morons is the fact that their definition of "fun" is throwing a ball at a hoop.

          Throwing a ball at a hoop is easy. Out-smarting, -running, -playing other people is the fun part.

          Someone who considers it fun to hunt for the Higgs Boson certainly has a much more evolved brain, because so much more reasoning is needed for that.

          Different skills. A game of basketball requires making dozens of decisions every second, for 80 minutes. A course in physics requires maybe a dozen decisions an hour, fo

      • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Interesting)

        by shadowofwind (1209890) on Monday August 02, 2010 @02:17PM (#33113318)

        The major goal in any living being's life is to ensure the survival of his genes.

        Nothing personal, but no.

        It is true that natural selection requires you to compete successfully in order to continue to exist, and that includes reproduction. But, natural selection is not the only principle governing nature, it is merely a very important one. A lot of behavior is effectively orthogonal to survival: you can do something, or not it, and your survival chances are the same. Furthermore, life is not entirely a zero sum game. Certain things, like cultivation of intelligence increase your chances of survival to the point where you have freedom for a lot more besides that. You can say that its instinct for propagation of genes that compels us to learn. And there's truth in that. But satisfying the instinct is just one condition that has to be met. Its not everything.

        You're free to pick any 'major goal' in life that you find compelling. Of course, if your goal isn't conducive to the survival of your bloodline, then nature will kill you off. But that doesn't mean its impossible to make that choice.

        If more nerds got some, maybe we'd have the Higgs Boson on lock already.

        Historically, how common is it for scientists to get serious work done when they're in love or chasing hot women? The degree of concentration and dedication required for groundbreaking work would seem to me to usually preclude that. Sure, lots of famous scientists fooled around or had lots of kids. But I have a hard time believing very many of them were doing their best work in those periods, or that it occupied a very high part of their attention.

    • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MessedRocker (1273148) on Monday August 02, 2010 @12:37PM (#33111802)

      Why limit sex strictly to intercourse? Surely there are Slashdotters out there who masturbate frequently.

    • by CatsupBoy (825578)

      If that were the case /. would be full of retards and the NBA would be full of geniuses.

      I dont get what these two fictionally opposed statements have in common.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by macbeth66 (204889)

      hmmm...

      Make millions playing a kid's game and screw a different blonde, or redhead, every night or live in poverty while chasing the Higgs Boson.

      oh, which to choose? Which to choose?

      So, who is really smarter? The guy that lived with a basketball growing up, or the guy who lived with that physics text book?

      • by Belial6 (794905)
        That kind of logic leads to spending 100% of your paycheck on lottery tickets every week.
      • by elrous0 (869638) *
        Someone like us had to invent that ball, the vulcanized rubber it's made of, the sneakers the player wears, the lights he needs to play indoors, the condom he needs to stop all those paternity suits, etc. Not to denigrate the skills of a good ballplayer, but the way I see it, the NBA owes us way more respect than we owe them.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mcgrew (92797) *

        So, who is really smarter? The guy that lived with a basketball growing up, or the guy who lived with that physics text book?

        The guy with the textbook. He's at least going to get a job with a university and have a shot at making a big doscovery, while 99.99% of the sports wannabes are going to be asking of you want fries with that, or more likely, sitting in a prison cell.

    • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Funny)

      by Kenja (541830) on Monday August 02, 2010 @12:48PM (#33111942)
      He found it, he just didn't give a rats ass.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by shadowrat (1069614)

      If that were the case /. would be full of retards and the NBA would be full of geniuses.

      How do you know it's not that way? Just because the NBA players don't have incentive to study doesn't mean they couldn't be genius level scholars. They could all have powerful brains that would put us all to shame. However brain growth != knowledge. New brain cells typically are useless unless you fill them with something. TFA didn't claim that the rats also studied productive material and began working for the good of science.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        New brain cells typically are useless unless you fill them with something.

        Brains aren't like computers with separate memory and storage. It's still a poor analogy, but your brain is more like a network than a computer. Brain cells do a lot more than just compute and store data. Think of a brain cell as a separate computer tied into a big global network.

    • If that were the case /. would be full of retards...

      You should visit a cell phone thread.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      If that were the case /. would be full of retards

      You must be new here. It is.

      I'll believe it when Jon Bon Jovi announces that he's found the Higgs Boson.

      Physics takes a different kind of brain than music theory, composition, and performance. I'll believe that Bon Jovi is stupid when Dr. George Smoot is on MTV's Smoot Unplugged.

      Get laid, it'l do you a world of good (but it can get expensive and lead to worse habits). BTW, I'll bet Smoot gets laid as often as Bon Jovi, and a lot more often then both of us put

    • I'll believe it when Jon Bon Jovi announces that he's found the Higgs Boson.

      I don't much care for Jovi either, however, he's an extremely talented guy. Probably a musical genius. And he's a decent actor now too (if you didn't notice, morons can not act). No shit. Maybe not as sky high IQ as someone like David Burn or Thomas Dolby, but Jovi is no slouch with music (ignoring the releases of his band). Einstein would have loved to jam with him.

    • by Surt (22457)

      How smart do you have to be to be evolved against due to never venturing outside your mom's basement?

      Also, you're assuming that brain size is a proxy for genius, which may or may not be true. You can get brain growth due to some fevers, and the result is not that the victim gets smarter.

    • by nospam007 (722110) *

      He found Miss Higgs Bosom.

    • ... Brian May arguably pretty much is one, likely better laid than the both of us, and at least as musical as Bon Jovi. I don't know of a single genius in the NBA, though, so ya got me there. Our not-so-fair city does have a former basketball star as a mayor now, but I don't think anyone is claiming he's a genius, not even himself.

  • by Toksyuryel (1641337) on Monday August 02, 2010 @12:24PM (#33111634)
    ...why most mainstream religions demonize sex. It all makes sense now.
    • by Tom (822) on Monday August 02, 2010 @01:21PM (#33112430) Homepage Journal

      Aside from the funny part, that is closer to the truth than you like.

      Most of our current mainstream religions, i.e. the monotheistic, abrahamic ones, basically need you to feel horrible because their story says the world is bad and the afterlife can be good if (and only if) you follow their teachings.

      It's hard to feel like shit after a good night with a lover. Your desire for spiritual salvation is quite a bit low after a hot threesome. Your belief that this world is all bad and evil and only the afterlife counts is kind of weak in the middle of getting your brains fucked out.

      Look at the pope and try to take him seriously.
      Now fuck for an hour and then look at the pope and try to take him seriously.
      You'll notice a considerable difference.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Wyatt Earp (1029)

        Judaism doesn't want you to feel horrible or tell you that the world is bad.

        Christianity went sideways with that aspect, Islam can do that, but generally isn't about guilt.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by infinite9 (319274)

        As a christian, I can assure you that you have no idea what you're talking about.

        Aside from the funny part, that is closer to the truth than you like.

        Most of our current mainstream religions, i.e. the monotheistic, abrahamic ones, basically need you to feel horrible because their story says the world is bad and the afterlife can be good if (and only if) you follow their teachings.

        There are a lot of happy/unhappy people who are/aren't christian. Maybe it's not about that?

        Is the world bad? Just ask the millions of non-upper-middle-class-white-western-civilization people for whom life most assuredly sucks on a daily basis. You don't need Christianity to prove the world is bad.

        It's hard to feel like shit after a good night with a lover. Your desire for spiritual salvation is quite a bit low after a hot threesome.

        And when was the last time that happened to you? Oh right, never. There are studies that show that christian couples have more

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          There are studies that show that christian couples have more and better sex than non-christian couples, even, gasp, those that waited until they were married.

          I'd like to see those studies that you're referring to, please.

  • Yea but (Score:5, Insightful)

    by liquidpele (663430) on Monday August 02, 2010 @12:26PM (#33111664) Journal
    Rats can't service themselves...
  • duh! I need to get funded for a study on finding out if alcohol will make you drunk or if smoking pot will get you high.

  • Holy %&^%! These findings suggest that while stress hormones can be detrimental to the brain, these effects can be overridden if whatever experiences triggered them were pleasant. Animals that haven't spread their genes are stressed and animals that have aren't as stressed. That's gods work for sure.
  • by GPLDAN (732269) on Monday August 02, 2010 @12:31PM (#33111734)
    Studies showed that male rats with Italian sports cars and gold chains, were 40% more likely to score with the most desirable female rats. This effect, deemed the "Mook Effect", was present in all test cases.

    Those rats that had contributed to the Linux kernel fared the worst.
  • by Tweezer (83980) on Monday August 02, 2010 @12:33PM (#33111754)

    To my wife immediately. She complains that her memory could be better.

  • Brains (Score:4, Funny)

    by weicco (645927) on Monday August 02, 2010 @12:42PM (#33111878)

    Poor small-brained me :(

  • First those scientists tell our kids that they are just monkeys, and now they are telling them that they should be having sex! Just look at how they are trying to destroy our society!
  • If I haven't had sex for a while I sometimes feel frusterated, while right after some amazing sex I feel relaxed and refreshed.
  • Are we sure this isn't a line some libidinous individual used on some naive prey, which inadvertently made it into scientific research or the press?
  • I know men who had good jobs, paid their share of child support, became unemployed and even when they managed to get reemployed, would up living almost under a bridge: child support is assessed on what you "can" earn, not on what you do, and, unlike the stock market, past performance IS indicative of future obligations.

    Contraception is never perfect (even sterilization), having MORE kids can land one in jail (for neglecting the kids one has by taking on additional obligations, thus depriving them), and in t

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MaWeiTao (908546)

      I think academic performance comes down to upbringing, not race. Although races might place different levels of importance on some things. The asian kid got straight As and never saw action because his parents demanded he excel in school and didn't allow him to socialize. Once you socialize too much grades inevitably suffer. Asians are no smarter than anyone else. Live in Asia for a while and you'll be cured of that misconception. It's like foreign kids who excel in college. They do well because they specif

      • Oh, I'd agree with this. I simply report studies that correlate intelligence with sexual restraint which directly contradicts the article in question. These studies are dubious not because of the correlation they report, but because of what they ascribe it to: namely race.

  • Sex Boosts Brain Growth... in rats.

    Lets not forget the last part of the sentence.

  • elaine stops having sex with her boyfriend to motivate him to pass an exam (another commentary on sex and smarts) and george stops having sex because his girlfriend has mononucleosis. george gets progressively smarter (until he spontaneously learns portuguese and therefore seduces a portuguese woman, thus becoming a stupid again), and elaine gets progressively dumber. some humor from jerry's summary of what's going on in their heads:

    to george:

    George: What is Tungsten or Wolfram?

    Alex Trebek: We were looking for 'What is Tungsten, or Wolfram'.

    Jerry: Is this a repeat?

    George: No, no, no. Just lately, I've been thinking a lot clearer. Like this afternoon, (To television) what is chicken Kiev, (Back to Jerry) I really enjoyed watching a documentary with Louise.

    Jerry: Louise! That's what's doin' it. You're no longer pre-occupied with sex, so your mind is able to focus.

    George: You think?

    Jerry: Yeah. I mean, let's say this is your brain. (Holds lettuce head) Okay, from what I know about you, your brain consists of two parts: the intellect, represented here (Pulls off tiny piece of lettuce), and the part obsessed with sex. (Shows large piece) Now granted, you have extracted an astonishing amount from this little scrap. But with no-sex-Louise, this previously useless lump, is now functioning for the first time in its existence. (Eats tiny piece of lettuce)

    George: Oh my God. I just remembered where I left my retainer in second grade. I'll see ya. (He throws finished Rubik's cube to Jerry and he exits. Kramer enters)

    to elaine:

    Elaine: How come he's gettin' so smart? I stopped having sex with Ben three days ago and I don't know no Portuguese?

    Jerry: Are you all right?

    Elaine: I don't know. It's just the last coupla days my mind has been, not good.

    Jerry: Wait a second, I know what's happening. The no sex thing is having a reverse effect on you.

    Elaine: What? What are you talking about?

    Jerry: To a woman, sex is like the garbage man. You just take for granted the fact that any time you put some trash out on the street, a guy in a jumpsuit's gonna come along and pick it up. But now, it's like a garbage strike. The bags are piling up in your head. The sidewalk is blocked. Nothing's getting through. You're stupid.

    Elaine: I don't understand.

    Jerry: Exactly.

    http://www.operaforthemasses.com/2010/06/seinfeld-review-7-abstinence.html [operaforthemasses.com]

  • by Locke2005 (849178) on Monday August 02, 2010 @01:01PM (#33112104)
    "Here I am, brain the size of a planet, and they ask me to take you to the bridge. Call that job satisfaction, 'cause I don't."
  • It's not that sex helps the brain grow, it's that sex helps prevent stress, which has been found to cause the brain to shrink.

  • No longer will a guy have to resort to tactics like:
    "Hey, baby, I'm shipping off to Iraq tomorrow, and I'm not sure if I'll make it back. Can we spend this one night together?"

    Instead, it'll be:
    "Hey, baby, I'm taking the SAT tomorrow, and I'm not sure my score will be good enough to get into Stanford. Can we spend this one night together?"

  • I'm not clear on what is meant by pleasant but stressful experiences. Do they mean physically or emotionally stressful. According to the article the rats which have had sex are less stressful. So where does the stress come in? Were they stressful beforehand and sex simply alleviated that?

    But then if it's a stressful but pleasant activity that causes brain growth then that would imply any pleasing activity should produce the same result. Playing video games, sports, mountain climbing, etc should all be able

  • by fabioalcor (1663783) on Monday August 02, 2010 @01:23PM (#33112462)

    En-large your bra1n!

  • Now if we could only get a headline like "brains boost sex growth" then we'd be in business. Somehow if that were the case, I think high school would have been a very different experience for most of us.

  • Does this explain why getting married kills productivity in men? http://www.abc.net.au/science/news/stories/s900147.htm [abc.net.au]
  • Alcohol = kills brain cells.
    Sex makes you smarter.

    No loss, no gain!

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