How your relationship can boost your brainpower
Turns out, being in a happy, healthy relationship doesn't just make you feel good, it can actually make you smarter too! Read on to find out the science behind it.
A strong chemical reaction
According to psychologist and author Michael J. Salamon, Ph.D., FICPP, touching, hugging, physical intimacy and sex all cause our brains to release a series of “feel good” chemicals known as neurotransmitters. Among these chemicals are vasopressin, oxytocin and serotonin, he says.
“Oxytocin, in particular, is known as the cuddle chemical, because once it's released, it causes a person to want to stay in close contact both physically and emotionally,” Salamon says. Most significantly, however, as he points out, when these neurotransmitters are circulating in our brains, the chemicals that make us feel down and distracted are less likely to be found: "This improves our focus, attentiveness and sensitivity, which are all keys to being intellectually and cognitively sharper and more aware.”
A solid support system
Scientific or not, there's no denying the fact that having a loving, supporting partner can help stimulate your own intellectual growth. Certified life coach and sex and relationships expert Natalie Vartanian, CPCC, ACC, can certainly speak to this.
“Something I have experienced in my own relationship is the focus, motivation and passion that shows up in my career because I have this amazing connection with someone who loves, trusts and supports me completely. From my partner's perspective, he states it as a feeling of being guided in a way, knowing I am in his life. Physically, I may be feeling stressed out, overwhelmed, frazzled, unable to make sense of things because of the million things to do or achieve in my life, yet a cuddle session with my partner literally grounds me. My energy calms down, the fog in my brain dissipates and I can actually think clearer.”
Sex is where it's at
Sex is not only about connecting — it's a great way to relieve stress and give your brain a big boost, notes author and sugar baby dating coach Taylor Jones. “Each sweaty bout of sex will release a growth factor in your brain, which helps to grow new cells and dendrites, as well as endorphins, which work to reduce pain, improve cognitive functioning and get rid of stress. Sex also increases serotonin, fostering creativity and logical thinking, and increases your levels of oxytocin, which enhances your creativity and ability to come up with more novel solutions for a problem.” As you can see, the positive benefits of pure, fun sex are staggering!