sex

Sex is good for our body in ways we can’t even imagine. From better sleep to a stronger immune system to burning calories and boosting our mood, getting some is good in many ways. Of course, that also means that not having sex can create some…interesting changes.

That’s not to say that it’s wrong to take a sex break now and then. Life gets in the way, or we may be between relationships and it’s just not part of our daily life equation. Or we’re maybe just not in the mood.

Whether we’re not feeling our best or are under a lot of of stress, sex sometimes just stops happening. And that’s more than OK—we just need to accept that our bodies are going to respond and react in a major way.

No, your vagina won’t close up

It’s an urban myth that your vagina will close off, seal up, or grow a new hymen if it doesn’t see action for a while. It comes down to hormones: Even when you’re not having sex, your body still produces estrogen and progesterone, and these hormones keep the vaginal walls open and flexible, says Dr. Greves. Just like lotion soothes dry hands in the winter, estrogen helps moisten and maintain the vaginal rugae, or the folds that allow the vaginal expand during sex.

It may take you longer to reach orgasm.

“When my clients take a break, they sometimes experience a little delay getting back into the groove. In most cases, this is related to their fear of ‘letting go.’ Since part of the brain (the lateral orbitofrontal cortex) shuts down during orgasmic response, the willingness to surrender to sexual sensations is necessary to orgasm in most cases,” says Dr. Jess.

This doesn’t mean that taking a break from sex is a bad idea, but simply that you may have to reacquaint your body with orgasmic sensations when/if you decide to resume sexual activity. This, of course, can be part of the fun!

It could get drier down there

Even when you’re not aroused, your vaginal walls are moist and supple. But Dr. Greves says that if you haven’t gotten it on lately, your vagina might be on the drier side as you go about your regular routine. Dryness on its own isn’t necessarily a problem, but it can feel uncomfortable.

Your vagina gets a little smaller.

That’s why women complain of painful sex once they start again, says Dr. Drai, an ob/gyn and women’s health expert and Astroglide’s sexual health expert. Anxiety can play a role in this, too. Make sure your partner employs foreplay before having sex, which will help loosen you up.

It might take longer to get aroused

After a sex break, “it may take more time for the vagina to get sufficiently lubricated or for the tissues to fully relax,” says Dr. Greves. When you have regular sex, your vagina goes into arousal mode automatically. Take a long pause, however, and it needs more of a warmup before getting back in the swing of things.

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