You've been there, right? The dreaded dry spell? Yeah, I know you have, because they happen to everyone. You know you can get stir crazy while in the midst of a dry spell, but what really happens to your brain when you haven't had sex in a while? Whether you're taking some time off from sex because you've just gone through a breakup or it's less of a choice and more of a plight, you're not alone. There's someone who's been where you are, and someone who will be where you are soon enough.
Occasionally, you'll find yourself salivating over the guy who's been your neighbor for years. Or maybe you find yourself wondering if your standards have lowered over the course of your sexless time. You've heard all the benefits of having sex, but what happens when you're not having it? Can you survive? (I'm being dramatic. Yes, you can survive without sex.) Once you get over the "hump" (or lack thereof), do you think about it less? Do you find yourself in need of expressing yourself through other outlets? Will your hand permanently get stuck in a cramped position? It's time to take a look at what happens to your precious mind while you're suffering through a dry spell.
1. You Start Finding Everyone Attractive
Yes, everyone. From the guy down the hall, to the barista who always spells your name wrong. Is she flirting with you? Is that guy looking at you? How have you never noticed how good looking your neighbor is? When you're in the midst of a dry spell, it's normal for you to start taking a second look at the people in your immediate vicinity. But remember, there's probably a good reason you've never looked at them this way before. Because you're not actually attracted to them.
2. You Live Vicariously Through Your Friends
When your friends start talking about their sex lives, you want more details. Think about it, it makes sense, right? When you're lacking in the romance department, how do soothe yourself? By diving into a romantic comedy. When you're feeling wanderlust in a big way, what do you do? Pick up a travel magazine. Living vicariously through your friends is a quick fix. Just don't ask for too many details, or your friends might start getting concerned.
3. You Get Frustrated Easily
Philip B. Luloff of Mt. Sinai Medical Center told WebMD that a dry spell has some major side effects. "Your feelings of frustration and isolation grow, self-esteem falls even lower, creating a vicious cycle of discontent that makes it even harder to find an intimate partner,"Luloff said. Sexual frustration. It's real.
4. You Get Lackadaisical About Birth Control
If you're not having sex, the pressing need to take your pill every day at the same exact time becomes a little less pressing. Forgetting your birth control, skipping a few days, even considering a change in your method, these are all common side effects of living in a dry spell. Just be careful you don't slip up, and break the dry spell when you haven't been taking your birth control regularly.
5. You Start Lowering Your Standards
Having an orgasm releases a happy little thing called oxytocin into your bloodstream. Oxytocin is known as "the love hormone," and without it, you may find yourself looking for love in all the wrong places. Including your ex, your former fling, or that friend you swore you'd never hook up with ever again.
6. You Feel Less Creative
Yes, sex and creativity are tied together. "Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that boosts drive, focus, motivation, energy, and assertiveness." Naomi Wolf, author of Vagina: A New Biography, told Cultural Weekly. "When a woman has an orgasm, it boosts opioids, which elevate a feeling of transcendence. The part of the brain in women that relates to self-consciousness and self-regulation goes quiet during orgasm." Translation? When you're self-conscious and not accessing peak dopamine, it hinders your ability to create.
7. You Start Wondering If There's Something Wrong With You
When you're going through a dry spell, Healthy Women notes that at some point or another, you may feel undesirable. Having sex releases oxytocin and dopamine into your bloodstream, which increase your feelings of love, warmth, reassurance, and motivation. When you start lacking in those, it's only natural that your self esteem goes down, according to WebMD. The most important thing to remember? You are not your sex life. OK, maybe the most important thing to remember is this: This too shall pass.