Doing crossword puzzles is good for your brain -- but not as good as having orgasms, apparently.
Rutgers researchers Barry Komisaruk and Nan Wise, who study human pleasure, recruited female subjects willing to bring themselves to orgasm while lying in an fMRI machine that measured blood flow to different parts of the brain. These experiments showed that orgasms increase blood flow to all parts of the brain -- bringing nutrients and oxygenation along, too.
"Mental exercises increase brain activity but only in relatively localized regions,” Komisaruk told Will Pavia for the Times Of London. “Orgasm activates the whole.”
As well as keeping your brain sharp, orgasms are thought to decrease stress, ease depression and increase longevity. Komisaruk is also spearheading research on how orgasms can block pain.
In November 2011, writer Kayt Sukel volunteered as a subject for Komisaruk's research. In an article about her experience for The Guardian, Sukel explained that the most difficult part of the experience was remaining still enough during the scan to keep the data viable -- and explaining to her friends what she was up to.
"If you ever want to make even the most cosmopolitan of your friends speechless, telling them you have volunteered to travel to Newark, New Jersey, so you can masturbate to orgasm in an fMRI is a great way to start," Sukel quipped in a blog post for the Huffington Post.
Komisaruk, who has been involved in this field of study since 1982, claims that his research is well-received by the academic community.
“We are desensitizing people,” he told the Times. “They used to be very squeamish about it and we’re very straightforward about it. They don’t make fun of it, we don’t make fun of it. A lot of people take it very seriously.”
Count his research as another good reason to keep having fun in bed.