Whether you're celibate out of choice or simply haven't found the partner you deserve yet, there are some things that happen when you stop having sex, and they aren't necessarily what you think. I know, you're expecting to catch up on all of your Netflix shows and have a rock-hard bod from all those hours you're logging in the gym. Although those things may be true, there are some other changes you can't necessarily control.
But hey, not having sex isn't a bad thing. Keep that in mind! You should be sex-positive which means not thinking of sex as some kind of measuring stick. It doesn't matter if you're having it all the time or not having it all, all that matters is you're happy and comfortable. And if you're not happy with your involuntary abstinence, have no fear. You know it's not going to last forever and that the day will come when you haven't actually watched anything on Netflix because you and your partner are skipping straight to the chill part.
While you're in your dry spell, however, here are 11 things that may be happening to you. Trust me, some of them may sound rough, but you're going to be totally fine. And don't listen to Drop Dead Fred ― there's no cobwebs growing down there.
1. You Can Weaken Your Immune System
If you're passing up on sex, you may need someone to pass you the tissues. Research has found that those who have frequent sex also have a higher level of salivary immunoglobulin a (IgA), an antibody that helps defend your body against viruses.
2. 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.
3. You Could Experience Negative Feelings
A 2001 study from Georgia State University researched involuntary celibacy and the effects it can have on a person. The study found that those who weren't having sex were reportedly depressed and experienced feelings of anger, frustration, and dissatisfaction over not having sexual relationships.
4. 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.
5. Your Vagina Doesn't Become Tighter
I know, you're thinking that if sex stretches your vagina out, then not having sex basically turns you back into a virgin. Not true. OB-GYN Tracy Hicks told Bustle that the elasticity of your vagina doesn't change when you're not having sex, at least not in pre-menopausal women.
6. Your Libido May Decrease
When you're not having sex, do you find yourself less interested in it? You're not alone. Sex therapist Sari Cooper told Brides that when you're having frequent sex, you're more erotically aware, making your libido increase. Without sex, you may find yourself not even thinking about sex or interested in it.
7. You Reduce Your Risk Of UTIs
Sex isn't the only way to contract a UTI, but it's a big one. According to Everyday Health, almost 80 percent of pre-menopausal women with a UTI have had sex in the last 24 hours. By passing on sex, you're making yourself less susceptible to the bacteria entering your urinary tract.
8. You Might Need Lube When You Do Have Sex
If you're not having sex, you may experience vaginal dryness the next time you get it on. Dr. Lauren F. Streicher, author of Love SexAgain, told Women's Health that regular sexual activity increases lubrication because of the blood flow to your genitals, so when you're abstinent, you may not get those same benefits. No big deal, but keep some lube handy for when you break your dry spell.
9. You Reduce Your Risk Of Contracting An STD
That sounds like a no-brainer, I know, but you can contract some STDs without sexual contact. The AIDS.gov website notes that not having sex is the best way to stop yourself from contracting or transmitting HIV
10. Your Mental Performance May Stop Increasing
Not that there's any concrete proof that says not having sex makes you less intelligent than having sex, but research has shown that sexual activity can increase the growth of new neurons in your hippocampus, which is responsible for long-term memories, and improves mental performance.
11. You May Spend A Lot Of Time Masturbating
Hey, masturbation isn't a bad thing. Masturbation can help you discover what you like in the bedroom and make your dry spell worthwhile when you're back between the sheets for a mind-blowing romp.