Does frequent sex make you smarter?
Sexologist Myriam Daguzan Bernier popularizes certain sexual questions with “La tête dans le cul”.
If we are to believe the titles of articles from several French media (Grazia, Ça m’intérieur, Gentside) that have recently appeared, the question arises. This question emerges following a study published in 2022 in the Journal of Neurosciencewhich demonstrates “a clear correlation between the frequency of sexual activity and the thickness of the somatosensory cortex which allows the perception of genital stimulation”. In summary, we find that the women* who participated in the study developed greater sensitivity in the area of the brain that is linked to the clitoris. Which is frankly interesting news in itself. However, the information was taken up, sometimes leaving the idea that “high sexual frequency” rhymes with “intelligence”. And I kinda want to say: butterfly minute!
First, the study in question, as important as it is for research, has a sample of… 20 people. This is very little and, above all, insufficient to make a generalization. Moreover, if the scope of this study can have significant impacts on the understanding of certain conditions such as, for example, the inability to reach orgasm, there remains that there is a danger in falling into injunctions.< /p>
Let me explain: even if the journalists who were interested in the study, for the most part, specified at the end of the article that intelligence was not questioned, the fact remains that there is here a danger of creating a divide between women who are very sexually active and those who are less so. While we are trying more and more to get out of the idea of a “competition” that would exist between women, the idea is not to go one better by making people feel that some women are more “developed” than others. Besides, vaginal versus clitoral; does that ring a bell? It is a division that still persists about people with vaginas, when it should not exist; we now know that the clitoris is the main actor behind so-called feminine pleasure (that being said, without falling into another injunction to only validate the clitoris!). Yet many women have long believed themselves to be flawed by not knowing where to fit into this classification. Let’s avoid encouraging the idea of classifying women again between those who are more “functional” and those who are less functional.
Also, I can't help but think about the fact that women have long been viewed as frigid people, uninterested in sex. From ancient times, there was talk of a bodily coldness that prevented women from having the sexual urges that men supposedly have (this is also a myth). This led to the development of a guilt-ridden discourse, but also rather violent towards them. Indeed, we are still struggling to get out of the idea that a woman must be forced to have sexuality. Do you doubt it? Think back to all the waves of the #MeToo movement.
In short, without being alarmist, let's say that these approaches to discussing female sexuality can leave some space available for shortcuts to take hold. An example? A woman could well be told to force herself to have sex, because it also makes you smarter/develops the brain!
In short, I encourage us to question ourselves about our ways to approach sexuality at large, a question of ensuring that we do not renew sexual dictates that can harm fulfillment and well-being. We are just beginning to approach the different aspects of sexuality differently and to deconstruct thousands of years of obligations and impositions of all kinds. So let's try not to create new ones.
*I use the word “women” in reference to the study, which was done exclusively on cisgender women, as well as to speak injunctions relating to cisgender women throughout history.