We all know that sex is good for you. It is a natural human act that, when done carefully and consensually, can be pleasurable and improve your health. But do you know why? How does it affect your body? And most importantly: What happens when you don’t have sex for a while? Here are some of the most common side effects of not getting enough action.
Things That Happen To Your Body When You Don’t Have Sex For A While
Sex, though often still a very taboo subject, is an important part of health. It is a way to express yourself, deepen your connection with another person, and make you feel happy and energized. Sometimes, however, we go through periods of life where we are either focused on other things, or we have simply decided to take a break from the act. Have you ever wondered what happens to your body when you haven’t had sex for a while? These are some of the things you might experience.
Sex helps relieve stress and lowers cortisol levels. When you’re stressed, your body releases cortisol, which can increase your blood pressure and heart rate. For women, particularly, this seemed impactful. A 2016 study found that good sex had a protective effect on women’s hearts later in life. (1)
“Sex has complicated ties to mood, self-esteem, and releasing happy hormones like dopamine and oxytocin,” said sexologist Dr. Jordin Wiggins, ND, owner and creator of Health Over All Inc. “people might feel more agitated than they’re used to feeling (than they did when they were having sex).” (2)
When we are hungry or thirsty, the longer we go without eating or drinking, the hungrier and thirstier we get. Sex is not like that. The longer you go without, the more you tend to get used to life without it, and the less you feel that you need it. This goes for both men and women. Masturbation is a good way to help increase your libido if you feel as though it is dipping. (3)
A Dry Vaginal Wall and Weak Pelvic Floor
This has turned into a bit of a myth that the vagina becomes tighter if you don’t have intercourse for a long time. This is 100% false. What does happen, however, is that the vaginal wall becomes drier and also your pelvic floor can become weaker. This is called vaginal atrophy. Not only will this make intercourse more difficult, but a weak pelvic floor can make it harder to reach orgasm. To help prevent this, perform pelvic floor strengthening exercises and consider getting a pelvic floor trainer (you can find them online). (4)
Read: Sex Robots Will Be Here Soon. Is Anyone Ready?
Takes Longer To Become Wet The Next Time You Do Have Sex
While the vagina is a self-lubricating organ, if you haven’t had sex for a long time, it might take a touch longer to become fully wet when you finally have intercourse. Don’t let this worry or stress you out, though – just relax and ensure your partner gives you a proper warm-up. (5)
This refers to a lack of physical human connection. While it is often referred to in a sexual context, the reality is that it doesn’t have to be only sexual. This can happen to those who don’t receive hugs or other forms of non-sexual, physical touch from friends and/or family. Skin-on-skin contact releases oxytocin, particularly in a sexual context. When deprived of this, you crave that kind of connection, known as touch starvation. You are also more likely to get sick and feel emotionally upset. (6)
Research shows that those who have regular sex tend to have better immunity. This is likely for a variety of reasons. First of all, sex releases oxytocin, which decreases stress and makes you feel happy. We all know that less stressed, happy people get sick less often. Sex also tends to help people sleep better. People who get better sleep regularly tend to also have stronger immunity. (7)
Erectile Dysfunction More Likely
Men who have a regular sex life are less likely to develop erectile dysfunction. In addition, men who have more sex tend to be happier and healthier overall. This is due to the fact that sex releases dopamine and other chemicals in your brain, which make you feel good. In fact, one study found that men who reported having sex less than once per week had twice the incidence of erectile dysfunction than those who had sex once per week or more. (8)
Health Benefits of Sex
Sex is good for you. It’s fun and enjoyable and can improve your overall health and well-being. Here are some of the ways that sex can benefit your physical and emotional well-being:
- Sex helps you sleep better
- Reducing stress and anxiety
- Easing depression and feelings of isolation
- Strengthening your immune system
- Improving your cardiovascular health
- Protecting against prostate cancer in men
- Improving your self-confidence and body image
- Building a stronger relationship with your partner
Sex is an easy, free way to boost your health. Of course, these benefits only apply to safe, consensual sex. Sex can also increase your chance of getting sexually transmitted illnesses (STIs) and urinary tract infections (UTIs). If you are having sex with multiple partners, the only way to protect against STIs is to use condoms.
Clear communication is always necessary, whether you are in a relationship with that person or not. Regardless of the situation or circumstances, if it is not an excited, enthusiastic yes, then it is a no. If you have any questions about your sexual health, talk to your healthcare provider or a registered gynecologist.
Keep Reading: Why Marital Success Depends on Women’s Sexual Desire
- “The Relative Health Benefits of Different Sexual Activities.” Online Library. Stuart Brody PhD. April 7, 2010.
- “9 Things That Happen To Your Body When You Don’t Have Sex For A While.” Bustle. JR Thorpe and Kaitlyn Wylde. April 17, 2022.
- “The impact of daily sexual desire and daily sexual desire discrepancy on the quality of the sexual experience in couples.” Research Gate. Kristen P Mark. April 2014.
- “Vaginal Atrophy.” NCBI. Belal Bleibel and Hao Nguyen. July 4, 2022.
- “Haven’t Had Sex in a While? How Lack of Sex Can Affect Your Health.” Health. Anthea Levi. September 26, 2022.
- “Affection deprivation during the COVID-19 pandemic: A panel study.” Sage Journals. Colin Hesse, et al. September 26, 2021.
- “5 Benefits of a Healthy Sex Life.” Cleveland Clinic. June 10, 2022
- “Regular Intercourse Protects Against Erectile Dysfunction: Tampere Aging Male Urologic Study.” AMJ Med. Juha Koskimäki, MD, PhD, et al. July 2008.