Sex and drugs go hand in hand, according to Hollywood, but a recent scientific study has suggested this partnership isn’t too far from the truth— although not for the reason you think. According to the research, your sensitivity to certain drugs may be determined by the amount of sex you have, and the more sex you have, the more tolerant to certain drugs you become.

According to the study, now published online in The Journal of Neuroscience, sexual activity may desensitize individuals to the effects of drugs. Increased tolerance could up their risk of addiction, seeing as they would need more of the substance to get the same buzz, IFLScience reported. However, the research also suggested that abstaining from sex, whether out of choice or for lack of willing partners, will once again cause your tolerance to drop down.

The study, which was conducted on rat, not human subjects, explored how both sex and drugs affected the pleasure-seeking part of our brains. According to IFLScience, the team allowed male mice to have a five-day sex marathon followed by a period of abstinence. During both periods, the rat’s brains were analyzed in response to amphetamines. Results showed that during the period of abstinence, the rats showed an increased drug sensitivity, and displayed craving and addiction-type behaviors.

These results suggest that sex is no different than any other pleasurable activity, and doing it activates dopamine in the brain. This would explain why an abstinence of sex made the rats particularly susceptible to the effects of the amphetamine. However, the same cannot be said for humans, at least not yet.

Having sex may increase your appetite for more drugs, but, on the other hand, doing drugs may make you less likely to have sex. For example, a study released this summer found that drugs, particularly marijuana, may have a detrimental affect on your sex drive and ability to perform . According to the research, smoking weed was associated with vaginal dryness in women and lowered testosterone in men, which could affect their ability to maintain an erection.

Source: Beloate LN, Omrani A, Adan RA, et al. Ventral Tegmental Area Dopamine Cell Activation during Male Rat Sexual Behavior Regulates Neuroplasticity and D-Amphetamine Cross-Sensitization following Sex Abstinence. The Journal of Neuroscience . 2016

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