If you’ve ever been through a sexual dry spell or are currently in the midst of one now, you may be asking yourself a few questions. Will my vagina shrivel up and die? Is there a reason I’m sleeping less and dreaming more? And most importantly, will I ever get laid again? We’ve got answers! Except for that last one. That’s on you.
Here is what goes down when you stop having sex:
1. Your Immune System Weakens
Researchers at Pennsylvania’s Wilkes University found that people who have sex on the reg have a higher concentration of antibodies than those who do not. Turns out sex boosts your immune system, whereas lack of it weakens it. Physiologically, doctors believe sexual activity causes a woman’s body to promote immunity in order to help conceive successfully.
2. You Get Sick More Often
According to the aforementioned YourTango article, your immune system actually gets weaker when you’re not having sex. Want to get through the cold and flu season? Make sure you’re getting some regularly.
3. You Can Become More Stressed
You already know that sex blows off steam, but without it, your body doesn’t just remain neutral. One study found that those who participated in intercourse had a better stress response in situations like public speaking than those who reported no sexual activity or only participated in masturbation.
4. You May Feel More Depressed
According to Reader’s Digest, skin-to-skin contact between partners can actually regulate your mood thanks to the release of the feel-good hormone oxytocin. Sex can also boost your spirits through mood-elevating endorphins, which are natural pick-me-ups when you’re feeling a little down in the dumps.
5. Dudes Are More Likely To Experience Continued E.D.
Failing to get an erection will only fuel the inability to get an erection. In other words, the less sex a man has, the more likely he is to suffer from erectile dysfunction. Like anything else, the penis is a muscle and must be exercised in order to function at its full capacity.
It’s a mental thing, too. Relationship expert April Masini tells Medical Daily, “The more often you have sex, the more confident you become about having it—both your own ability, and the ability of the relationships in which you’re having the sex.”
6. Your Vaginal Walls Can Become Fragile
Sounds scary, right? Don’t worry, you can fix it with kegels. Gynecologist Lissa Rankin told Woman’s Day that your vagina is a muscle and it needs to be reminded of its purpose beyond reproduction. Without regular “exercise” like sex or kegels, the vaginal walls can become fragile and you risk having them scar and close off a bit when you enter menopause.
7. You May Have Trouble Sleeping
The power of sex can actually cure insomnia. Sex releases feel-good endorphins as well as boosting a woman’s estrogen levels, which can “enhance a woman’s REM cycle for a deeper sleep” all while inhibiting the release of stress-inducing hormone cortisol.
Men have their own sleepy anatomical responses after orgasm. Their bodies release a biochemical called prolactin, which is directly responsible for feelings of fatigue. Sex, it seems, has an overall tiring effect on the human body.
8. Your Dreams Change
One of the weirdest things to change if you’re not having sex is your dreams, according to the aforementioned YourTango article. The nice thing is that you’ll start having sex dreams and even possibly orgasming in your sleep.
9. You Will Experience More Period Pain
Sex really does help alleviate cramps during your period, according to the aforementioned Reader’s Digest article. When the uterus contracts as they do during orgasm, it causes the blood to expel more quickly, which will in turn decrease menstrual cramps. Plus, the endorphins released during sex will alleviate period paid.
10. You May Experience Changes In Bladder Control
Sex works out your pelvic floor muscles (Kegels!) which help control the bladder. Lack of sex may weaken these muscles, resulting in wet undies. So practice your Kegels, ladies.
11. You May Actually Get Dumber
This sounds fake but it’s true! A 2014 study found that intercourse counteracts memory loss and boosts neurogenesis, the creation of fresh neurons in the brain. It also improves cognitive function by suppressing chronic stress. A growing penis is a growing brain, I always say.