There's a lot of reasons you might stop having sex. Sometimes stress from work, breakups, or travel are the cause or maybe it's totally voluntary for religious purposes or maybe you just need a break. Whatever the reason, many things change when you stop having sex regularly. Your body stops producing chemicals and hormones when you stop having orgasms.
#1. You might be a little sad.
Sex therapist Dr. Stephanie Buehler wrote in her book Sex, Love, and Mental Illness, “When a person has an orgasm alone or with a partner, it gives a boost to serotonin and raises endorphins and opioids, the brain’s so-called happy chemicals.”
Fortunately, there are other ways to boost your endorphins. Maybe go for a run, take a hike through a forest, or watch a funny movie with a friend.
#2. Your vagina won't get smaller but his penis will.
It’s a myth that if you abstain from sex your vagina will get tighter. It’s also a misconception that if you have lots of sex you will become loose.
For men, it’s a little different they can actually get smaller. Tobias Kohler, MD, assistant professor of urology at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, warns, “If they don’t do anything to maintain normal erections, they will get shortening of the penis. Without regular erections, penile tissue can become less elastic and shrink, making the penis 1-2 centimeters shorter.”
#3. Men may experience erectile dysfunction from not having sex.
Use it or lose it!
Dr. Nelson E. Bennett, erectile dysfunction expert at Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Massachusetts, says, “The penis is a muscle and like any other muscle it needs exercise, so more exercise is good for erectile dysfunction. But that may not mean you need to have frequent intercourse or masturbation to protect yourself from ED. It’s the erection that does the exercise, not the ejaculation, and most men have three to six erections naturally every night.”
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#4. Loss of libido.
If you abstain from sex for long periods of time you might not miss it. For some men, this can be a little threatening since so their masculinity is linked to their sexuality. Once you start having sex again your sex drive will increase.
#5. You might have feelings of self-doubt, anger and frustration.
A study, published in 2001 in the Journal of Sex Research, by doctors from Georgia State University found that people who were involuntarily celibate often experience feelings of self-doubt, frustration, anger, and depression. All were linked to not having sex.
#6. You might have trouble sleeping.
For women, this may not be as noticeable but for men who are used to having sex 3-4 times a week, they may notice that while abstaining their sleep might not be as sound.
This is because men release chemicals including oxytocin, serotonin, norepinephrine, vasopressin, nitric oxide, and the hormone prolactin. Prolactin is what causes the feeling of sexual satisfaction and it also is responsible for making men feel they need the recovery time and thus, a little sleepier.
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#7. You are more susceptible to catching a cold because your immune system gets weaker.
Dr. Cory B. Honickman says when we don’t have sex our immune system weakens. Sex gives a boost to the body’s production of infection-fighting antibodies.
A study by researchers at Wilkes-Barre University found that college students who had regular sex 1-2 times a week had higher levels of antibodies than those who had sex less often.
A good substitute for the deep relaxation we get from sex is practicing regular meditation, guided imagery, and visualization.
#8. Your blood pressure might be a little higher than usual.
There’s a link between lower blood pressure and sex according to Joseph J. Pinzone, MD. “There have been many studies. One landmark study found that sexual intercourse specifically lowered systolic blood pressure.”
#9. Your chances of getting prostate cancer may increase.
Researchers found that men who ejaculated 21 or more times per month have a 33% lower risk of prostate cancer compared to those who reported 4 to 7 ejaculations a month. The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
#10. If you're in a relationship you may not feel as close as you did before.
Sex with your partner increases levels of oxytocin which bonds you two together. Going without sex will decrease the hormone levels and you might notice the disconnect. It may also cause you to fear that your partner is looking for others to satisfy his or her needs.
Be sure to keep communication open and keep expressing your love to each other. Holding hands, hugging, and giving compliments will not replace sex but it can help you feel connected emotionally.
Next, 25 fascinating facts about sex.
Cover photo by maximusina