Exercise: is it better than sex?

Sounds like a ridiculous title doesn’t it? Because essentially, sex is exercise. This is true, but I would like to discuss the benefits of visualizing exercise and compare that to the benefits of visualizing sex.

Think for Fitness is based on the fact that you can achieve a significant physiological response through imagining yourself performing exercise. So can sex do the same?

Andrea Kuszewski, an Affiliate Scholar of the IEET  (institute for Emerging Ethics& Technologies), authored the article Sex makes you smarter – Can virtual sex do the same? In this article, Andrea discusses a study conducted by Leuner, Glasper, and Gould, published by PLoS ONE.

This study concluded that the most intimate form of exercise, sexual activity, can produce the same level of neurogenesis as exercise.

The study also concluded that having multiple, repeated sexual experiences results in a greater positive effect than a single experience alone. The added bonus is that it reduces anxiety as well.

 Other facts stated in the study as stated by Andrea include:

  • “Exercise, for example, running: while it increases stress levels, it is “good stress”. Exercise has been shown in the past to promote neurogenesis. In other words, this type of good stress actually promotes neural growth, rather than impairing it.


  • It’s suggested that if the stressful event has a hedonic value, or a pleasant outcome, it cancels out the negative effects of the raised glucocorticoid levels. Even though stress levels in this study were raised in the acute (one night stand) condition, the brain was buffered from aversive damage due to the positive nature of the stress, and still allowed for neural growth. This means that there is some sort of protective quality from good stress.


  • This would conclude that sexual activity, in this case, is similar in function to exercise, as it relates to neural growth and the protective features of good stress.


  • The one-night-standers (acute condition), had an increase in anxiety following the experience, which was evidenced by results of the training tasks, but this did not hinder the neural growth.


  • The one-night-stand condition yielded significant neural growth, but the chronic (female-a-day-for-fourteen-days) condition showed even more neural growth, plus nixed any of the anxiety effects after about day four or five of having consistent sex.

The conclusion of Andrea’s article states,”Virtual sex is just as effective as the real thing. Basically, you can get the neural benefits of engaging in a pleasurable activity without actually having to do anything other than trick your brain into thinking it is getting the reward.”

As we have just read, the study mentioned above concluded that sexual activity has a similar effect on neural growth as exercise. The effect is a positive one, even if it occurs within the stress of a one-night stand. With that said, I myself must conclude that the benefits of visualizing sexual activity and the visualization of exercise have a synonymous benefit to your health.

So it is here I say, please yourself. Exercise or sex….choose your flavour and grow your brain! What do you think?