Sex: why it's your best study partner

June 10, 2015
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Sex sells. Sex can sell anything. Sex is so effective that it can even sell boring course syllabuses to your brain.

Exams are right around the corner and most of us have a whole semester’s worth of work to learn in the next couple of weeks, so we need anything that might help.

You could study without sex as your secret weapon, but why not use every tool at your disposal? For those who think they have no time for sex with all this study, consider this: sharpening the axe before you begin chopping a tree makes tree-chopping much more efficient. Similarly, effective study combined with a healthy amount of sex beats a 24 hour cram session every time.  

Stress kill study and sex kills stress

Stress is terrible for learning. It can make you sick, inhibits the creation of new brain cells, and even kills and atrophies neurons. Fortunately, scientists have shown that sex counters the effects of chronic stress. Science also tells us that being physically close to someone reduces stress and anxiety. Oxytocin, also known as the 'love chemical', is released during sex – and it seriously reduces stress.

You can't study if you're sick

The added stress of exams means a lot of us are running with lowered immune systems, and therefore much more susceptible to common colds and other illnesses. Luckily it turns out that sex raises antibodies and strengthens the immune system. Less chance of getting sick will lower stress, and less stress will lower your chance of getting sick. It's a nice cycle of productiveness.

And that chemical oxytocin mentioned earlier? It also boosts the immune system and increases oxygen.

Harness your horniness

I had a physics teacher in Year 12 who was a brilliant teacher and swore sex was the answer to study problems. He believed that sexualising the syllabus was a powerful tool for studying well. Whilst this is anecdotal, the logic behind it makes sense: the brain is good at remembering things it thinks are good for survival. Procreation is both very interesting and essential for survival, so therefore it’ll be easier to remember things if you associate them with sex.

Some rats in an American study were permitted to have sex and some weren't. The ones that were having sex had better cognitive function and more neuron growth in their hippocampus, the place where long-term memories are stored. 

For example, trying to memorise all the bones in the human ear sounds pretty boring. So why not learn the ear bones whilst thinking about kissing that area on an attractive person? It’ll make memorising more interesting, and you'll recall the ear bones much more fondly. This can be applied to mundane engineering formulas as well – you just have to use your imagination.

Sleep – the 'zzzz' kind of sleep

Sex will also give you a better night’s sleep. Even if you’re getting less sleep overall due to late-night cram sessions, regular sex can give you higher quality sleep. Not only does it create all sorts of great chemicals in the brain for processing and retaining information, but most people will fall asleep much faster after having sex. 

Some scientists have found a correlation between testosterone and cognitive function. Sex raises testosterone levels, and therefore, cognitive function. Men can become smarter just from having more sex, and as for women, studies suggest that memory function may improve after reaching orgasm. Even if the science isn't 100 per cent conclusive, it can't hurt to try.

Confidence is sexy

Studies show that regular sex improves confidence by making people feel desirable and part of a society. And a little confidence can make all the difference when it comes to assertively getting the arguments from your head to the paper.

Never before has there been a better excuse to talk to the person you've been staring at in seminars all semester. If nothing else, a simple “hello” and a link to this article ought to work better than constantly swiping on Tinder.

Sam Talbot

Sam Talbot is a law and media student at the University of Adelaide. He highly values all-day breakfasts. Twitter with him at @SamTalbot5.

Image: Alfredo Gayou, Flickr Creative Commons license