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. Your Vagina Does NOT Tighten
Contrary to popular belief, lack of sex does not make a woman "tighter" nor is it possible for her to re-grow a hymen and become a virgin again. However, a drop in lubrication can occur after a long dry spell. Don't worry, though. Your body is smart and will remember how to do what it needs to do.
3. 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.” To make matters worse, your penis can actually shrink if you don't do anything to maintain a regular erection. Says Dr.Tobias Kohler, "Without regular erections, penile tissue can become less elastic and shrink, making the penis 1-2 centimeters shorter." Oh! The risk of prostate cancer also rises. Sorry :(
4. You May Experience Higher Levels Of Stress
There is a definite link between lower blood pressure and sex. A 2006 study in the Biological Psychology Journal found people who had sex frequently experienced lower stress and anxiety baseline levels, meaning things that usually infuriated them would infuriate them less if they recently got laid.
5. You May Have Trouble Sleeping
Laura Berman, the director of the Berman Center for Women's Sexual Health, says 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. Furthermore, the inverse seems to be true as well! Those of us who get more sleep also have the highest level of sexual desire. You're either in a good loop or a bad one.
6. Your Tolerance For Pain Will Go Down
Speaking of oxytocin, this love hormone is actually a super-powerful natural pain reliever. Lack of sex means lack of oxytocin means you'll just have to alleviate your chronic pain symptoms with weed or Advil.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. It May Actually Lower Your Libido
The "use it or lose it" rule applies here as well. When you stop having sex your body stops craving it and your libido starts to shrivel up and DIE. Not to be dramatic, but remember to practice frequent masturbation to keep your sexual parts nice and tuned.
10. Your self-esteem might take a hit
If you find yourself in the midst of a sexual drought and begin to feel sad and ugly, know that the two may be related. As mentioned, orgasms boost serotonin and levels of endorphins and opioids, which make your brain feel happy and confident. This is especially true if you find yourself in a sexless relationship. Worrying whether your partner has lost their sexual attraction for you and may be searching elsewhere leads to a vicious cycle of pressure and feelings of inadequacy.
11. Your dreams might get real ~kinky~
When you stop having sex—even if you're still masturbating—that sexual repression will manifest in your dreams. Not to get all Freudian on you, but it only makes sense that those inner thoughts need to get out there somehow, and unusually sexy dreams and even orgasming during sleep is one of those ways. This is especially true if you find yourself hooking up with strangers in your dreams. According to relationship therapist Bob Taibbi, "Dreams about strangers or acquaintances are usually a good indicator of the state of your libido: Your brain is trying to let you know that those physical needs are not getting met." His advice? "Find a good and safe way to help your brain out."