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What Happens To Your Vagina When You Stop Having Sex? 7 Things You Need To Know

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When you stop having sex, whether on purpose or not, there are several things that happen to your mind and body. From a mental perspective, you might go through some mood swings or feel less connected to your partner, if you have one. On the physical side, there are actually some weird things that happen to your vagina when you stop having sex. Not only will your oxytocin (the so-called "love hormone" that floods your body when you orgasm) go down and you will be left without a smile on your face, but your vagina will experience some side-effects of your celibacy as well.

You might already know that having a healthy, happy sex life means a boost to your immune system, cuts to your stress levels, lower blood pressure, and a lowered risk of heart attack. And sex can even count as exercise, depending on what you put into it. When you stop having sex, not only do you lose all of those benefits, but you might even gain some negative side-effects.

It's natural to go through an occasional dry spell once in a while, whether you're choosing to be celibate, have a lack of a good partner, or feel a decline in desire. But if you're not having sex, you should know how that is changing your vagina and what not having sex could mean for your body once you start having sex again.

1You Will Have Painful Intercourse

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According to Prevention, you're likely to experience some discomfort when returning to sex after being away for a while. Why? As OB-GYN Dr. Brett Worly told Prevention, your muscles are no longer used to having sex. If it starts to hurt, stop. Instead, try again another time and use more foreplay and some bottle lubrication.

2You Will Have Trouble Reaching Orgasm

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If you take a long break from sex, you might have a harder time reaching orgasm once you resume, according to Your Tango.

"When my clients take a break, they sometimes experience a little delay getting back into the groove," Dr. Jess, Astroglide's resident sexologist told Your Tango. "In most cases, this is related to their fear of 'letting go.' Since part of the brain (the lateral orbitofrontal cortex) shuts down during orgasmic response, the willingness to surrender to sexual sensations is necessary to orgasm in most cases."

3Your Vagina Walls May Weaken

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According to Reader's Digest, your vaginal walls may weaken if you stop having sex, especially as you get older. "Without regular frequency of intercourse as you get older the walls of your vagina thin out and can lead to painful sex when you finally get back into the sack," Sari Cooper, a certified sex therapist, told Reader's Digest.

4You Can Develop Vaginismus

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A condition called vaginismus can happen when the vaginal muscles get so contracted that penetration — even with a tampon or a finger — is impossible because of how painful it is, according to the aforementioned Prevention article. If you develop this condition after not having sex for a while, get help right away.

"I recommend seeing a gynecologist to get a diagnosis and a recommendation for a pelvic-floor physical therapist," sex therapist Holly Richmond, told Prevention. "The therapist will also prescribe a series of dilators to insert, gradually increasing in size."

5You May Have More PMS

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One unfortunate side effect of not having sex for a while, according to the aforementioned Your Tango article, is that you will actually begin to see changes in your premenstrual symptoms. This is especially true if you are abstaining from all types of sex, including masturbation. Orgasms have a positive effect on the body and can relieve pain and tension, so if you're not having any, it's likely that you will experience worsening PMS.

6You Might Have Less Lubrication

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According to the aforementioned Reader's Digest article, another problem that women can have if they haven't had sex for a while is that they can have a difficult time getting lubricated when they start having intercourse again. This is especially problematic as you get older because of the lack of hormones such as estrogen.

"The vaginal lubrication lessens with age, and if you're not being turned on through self-pleasure, erotic books, videos, or a partner, the juice can begin to lessen more quickly," Cooper said.

7You May Get Vagina Atrophy

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As you get older, you might face a "use it or lose it" type of situation due to an inactive sex life, according to the aforementioned Prevention article. This vaginal atrophy happens when the vaginal walls become thin and the vagina dries out, meaning that you are more likely to tear and experience pain once intercourse begins again.