There's more to sex than just having an orgasm, but there might be some differences in the way that your body's affected, if you're fulfilled from intimacy versus if you're not. From physical to mental and emotional changes and affects, there are some unexpected things that happen in your body if you don't orgasm during sex.
Some people, for a wide variety of reasons, can't reach climax during sex, Beth Liebling, the host of radio show Love and Laughter with Beth and the author of Love and Laughter: Sexy (Meaningful) Fun for Everyone, says. Though it's something that all-too-often is considered shameful or embarrassing, Liebling says that it shouldn't be that way.
CBS News reported that researchers at the Unviersity of Central Lancashire and the University of Leeds in the U.K. found that 80 percent of heterosexual women participating in their study had faked an orgasm. Granted, this study was quite small, but the American Psychological Association also noted that a study published in the Journal of Sex Research found that about two thirds of heterosexual women had admitted to faking an orgasm from time to time in the past. So either way, there are plenty of women who are, for whatever reason, not climaxing during sex.
If you've ever wondered how not having an orgasm might affect you, here's what you need to know.
1. Pelvic Pain & Discomfort
Just like the infamous phenomenon of "blue balls," women too can experience pain and discomfort if they don't orgasm during sex. "It’s due to all the blood flow to the pelvic region and the lack of release at climax," Katy Zvolerin, Adam & Eve's subject matter expert in the areas of sex and relationships, tells Romper by email. "It’s not dangerous, but it can be frustrating."
2. Feelings Of Depression
If you're not feeling fulfilled from intimacy or are having less frequent sex, you might start to experience feelings of depression, as well. "Sex and orgasm also release serotonin, the 'feel good' hormone," Zvolerin says. "Lack of intimacy can lead to depression, and, as humans, we are made to enjoy skin-on-skin contact."
3. You Might Crave Sex Less After Awhile
Liebling says that after awhile, if you're not having regular sex or feeling completely fulfilled when you do have sex, it can affect your level of desire. She says that after a couple weeks or so, you might notice that you're just not as interested.
4. You Might Look Older
Liebling says that orgasms can make you look a bit younger and make your skin a bit more vibrant, which might be surprising to hear. "That might be because the combination of intercourse and orgasm releases the human growth hormone and that improves skin, which is pretty funny," Liebling says. "So not only do you look younger, but your skin is better, and those two things kind of go hand in hand." There's a reason why people say you glow after sex.
5. Circulation Can Be Affected
You might not have ever really thought that much about it before, but orgasms and arousal can have an impact on blood flow. "With orgasm comes better circulation, better blood flow through our entire bodies," Liebling says. "When we aren't engaged in regular orgasm, things down there can get kind of shriveled up, if you will, and they can get tighter, they can get more painful, and, certainly, they also get drier."
6. You Might Have Sleep Issues
"Orgasms release the hormone oxytocin which reduces stress and stimulates relaxation," Rhonda Milrad, LCSW, the founder of Relationup, an ABS certified clinical sexologist, and relationship therapist, tells Romper by email. "Among other places, the oxytocin is carried to the brain and winds down the part of the brain known as the prefrontal cortex. Not having an orgasm leaves you emotionally and physically frustrated, your brain all wound up and deprived of a natural sleeping aid."
Though, of course, many people sleep quite well even without sex or an orgasm before bed, having sex and not having an orgasm and then trying to go to sleep can be difficult and could leave you tossing and turning all night long.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.