I learn something new about our bodies each day! For instance, today I discovered that our human physiology is quite similar to that of a Hamster: this interesting fact surfaced when reading a stimulating article which raises the possibility that, for young male Hamsters at least, sex during adolescence can have a lasting negative effect on the body and mood well into adulthood.
It is now becoming more clear that the developing brain remains “plastic” well into the third decade of life, and so it can be vulnerable to permanent changes as a result of negative impacts during this time. That sex can be seen to be negative may seem odd to many people who think that sex sells everything, but there is no doubt that it can be a very complex emotional and physical event in the life of an individual when their nervous system is in a state of continuing evolution.
But is appears that adolescent sex in our furry friends can have the following effects:
- Increased signs of depressive like behaviors
- Lower body mass
- Smaller reproductive tissue
- Changes to cells in the brain
This would appear to suggest that for some sexually active “teenage” Hamsters, sex can be a serious stressor.
Whilst there is a real temptation to smile at the extrapolation of teenage Hamster sex to adolescent humans having sex, there is a serious side to the findings. The teenage years are a time when the nervous system is developing and changing very rapidly and “There is a possibility that environmental experiences and signals could have amplified effects if they occur before the nervous system has settled down into adulthood”, according to co-author Zachary Weil of Ohio State’s Department of Neuroscience in a paper delivered to the November meeting of the Society for Neuroscience.
Definitely food for thought.