9 Things That Happen To Your Body When You Stop Having Sex
Has it been a while? Break-ups. Work. Travel. Work travel. There are a lot of reasons your sex life may be stalled.
It’s well-known having an active sex life leads to several health benefits, but did you know abstaining from sex can actually be bad for you?
A nonexistent sex life can affect you both physically and mentally.
For those of you leading sexually active lives, keep up the good work! You’re healthier than the rest.
Here are 9 things that can happen when you lose that loving feeling:
Men, watch out for prostate cancer
Guys who stop having sex may miss out on the prostate-protecting perks of frequent trysts. One reason? Frequent ejaculations may remove potentially harmful substances from the prostate.
You’re more susceptible to colds and flu
Less sex may reduce your exposure to germs. Researchers at Wilkes-Barre University in Pennsylvania found people who had sex once or twice a week enjoyed a 30% boost in immunoglobulin A (IgA), compared with those who had sex seldom or never. IgA is one of the body’s first lines of defense against viruses, the study authors say.
Your cardiovascular health might suffer
A good sexual life is strongly linked to cardiovascular health, and entering a sex drought removes that hormonal and aerobic boost. But not a lot of work has been done on precisely what happens to the heart after a period of no sex. It may just be the case that if you take out your sexual frustration on the treadmill, then your heart will end up healthier than it was before you stopped.
Insecurities about your relationship could start creeping in
Not having sex takes a toll on your happiness, closeness, and relationship security, experts say.
“Going without sex in a marriage can deliver a hit to your self-esteem, engender guilt, and decrease levels of oxytocin and other bonding hormones,” says Les Parrott, PhD, a psychologist, and author ofSaving Your Marriage Before It Starts.
“It can also increase fears that one of you will look to others for your sexual needs, which can breed a little paranoia.”
Your risk for erectile dysfunction, um, rises.
Use it or lose it: Men who have sex infrequently are twice as likely to experience erectile dysfunction as men who do it once a week or more, according to a study published in the American Journal of Medicine. The study’s authors suggest that, since the penis is a muscle, frequent sex may help preserve potency in a similar way that physical exercise helps maintain strength.
You may feel down in the dumps—but not for the reason you think.
Women feel more depressed the longer they go without having sex. But it may not be the lack of sex that got them down. The study team found that women whose partners wore condoms felt just as blue. The researchers say some compounds found in semen—including melatonin, serotonin, and oxytocin—may have mood-boosting benefits for women who have unprotected intercourse. Of course, there are plenty of drawbacks to unprotected sex, too.
You’ll feel more anxious
Sex helps people blow off steam. During sex, the brain releases feel-good chemicals, such as endorphins and oxytocin, which help you feel more at ease, the researchers say.
Your libido might drop
Some experts are thorough advocates for regular sexual activity, in the belief that a period of abstinence will lessen sexual desire over time as your body dampens a hormonal response to arousal. Others disagree, though, so it may be a personal matter that depends on your own sexual experiences.
You won’t be as intelligent as you could be
There’s an old wife’s tale that abstinence makes you more intelligent. The truth is actually the opposite: Scientists have demonstrated that sexual activity boosts neuron growth in the brain’s hippocampus. Abstinence, it turns out, does not make the brain grow at all. Just because you’ve suddenly become immensely productive and completed a crossword for the first time in six weeks doesn’t mean your brain’s improving. Alas, it probably just means you’re bored.