Sex Can Literally Blow Your Mind

Sex Can Literally Blow Your Mind

Could sex have adverse side effects on your memory? Livescience tells the story of a woman who, an hour after having sex, began experiencing an episode of temporary global amnesia.

Stephanie Pappas writes that people in their 50s and 60s can suffer bouts of amnesia after intense physical activity. In this case, first reported by The Journal of Emergency Medicine, the woman was 54 years old, and by the time she had left the emergency room, her symptoms had cleared. So what triggered the amnesia specifically? It could have to do with a lack of valves in the jugular vein, which allow deoxygenated blood to flow back up into the brain.

The best guess for what might be happening is that patients unwittingly trigger the transient global amnesia by raising the pressure inside their abdomens. This is called the “Valsalva manoeuvre”, familiar as the “bearing down” people might do when lifting weights, defecating or even having sex. The increased pressure increases the resistance to blood flowing down the jugular veins, and insufficient valves may allow deoxygenated blood to push back up the neck. Oxygen-poor blood then “piles up” in the veins draining the brain, especially in central brain regions that are key to memory formation. The result could be transient amnesia.

If there was ever a tasteful reason to be opposed to the idea of old people having sex, this would be it. [LiveScience]

Image: Shutterstock/Selena