You probably remember the last time you went through a sexual dry spell. I certainly do. It lasted almost a year before I eventually met my current partner, and during that time I was constantly cranky and tense. Although masturbation can help during this time, people's moods change in unexpected ways when they suddenly stop having sex. In fact, there are many things that happen to your body when you suddenly stop having sex, and most of them aren't so pleasant.
People go through sexual ruts from time to time. Whether it happens because of a recent breakup or other aspects of your life have gotten in the way, a few sexless weeks can turn into months and, before you know it, you almost don't even miss sex anymore. The same, however, can't be said for your body. According to YourTango, your body can have very real (and sometimes really intense) reactions when you stop having sex.
From catching the flu more often than before, to stranger dreams, to really awful period cramps, not having sex for a while can seriously impact your wellbeing. Here are 11 unexpected ways that your body actually changes when you suddenly stop having sex.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. You Have More Stress
There are a lot of jokes about masturbation being a great stress relief, but that is true for sex too. According to a 2010 study published in the Journal of Family Psychology, less sex makes way for more stress. During the study, female college students reported their levels of daily stress and sexual activity several months before a major exam. Women who had the most stress also had less sex.
4. You Will Hurt Down There
According to Prevention, prolonged celibacy can cause painful intercourse because your muscles aren't used to having sex. Once you start having sex again, use a bottled lubricant to help with the pain you may feel down there.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. You Will Fight With Your Partner
According Psychology Today, physical intimacy is important to keep couples connected emotionally. When sex stops, you and your partner may see a drop in relationship satisfaction. Again you can blame oxytocin, also known as "the bonding hormone," which may be lacking if you aren't being physically intimate.
8. Your Sex Drive May Disappear
Your body might actually stop asking for orgasms if you don't have any for an extended period of time, according to the aforementioned Prevention article. The lack of lust is just your body protecting itself, but masturbation is a good idea if you want to keep your sex drive at its normal level.
9. Your Self-Esteem Might Suffer
According to the aforementioned YourTango article, not having sex might make you feel less attractive. This might be because semen has anti-depressant qualifies — and yes, that's not just a myth.
10. You May Become Less Intelligent
According to the previously mentioned Reader's Digest article (and if you've ever seen a certain Seinfeld episode), not having sex may have a negative impact on your intelligence. Two separate studies in rodents found that having sex improved their brain function and the growth of brain cells. Although more research is needed, but not having sex may be the reason why you're missing out on a mental boost.
11. You'll Have Less Heart-Health Benefits
A 201 study published in the American Journal of Cardiology in 2010 linked low sex frequency with an increased likelihood of cardiovascular disease. Having sex benefits heart health and, if you're missing out, you may want to go back to including it in your heart-healthy lifestyle.