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What Happens to the Body without Sex?

What Happens to the Body without Sex?

Through the years, we have seen the growth of “sex positivity,” the belief that sex brings many good things to a person’s life. And while sex positivity is great, it doesn’t mean that you need to have sex when you don’t want to. Will abstaining from sexual activities affect your health? What happens to the body without sex?

Abstinence, defined

Before explaining the possible effects of not having sex, let’s first clarify that people define abstinence in several ways.

Some people view abstinence as not engaging in sex that may result in pregnancy. This means they still have sexual activities, just not vaginal intercourse. This is one kind of fertility-awareness birth control method.

Lastly, some people define abstinence as not engaging in any sexual play with their partner. This is the definition we’ll use in this article.

What are the benefits of abstinence?

Refraining from having sex has two main benefits: it prevents unwanted pregnancy and sexually-transmitted infections.

Additionally, people who choose to abstain can:

  • Have more time to get to know their partner
  • Focus on their current goal (career or school)
  • Have more time to heal from emotionally draining experiences, such as a breakup or death of a loved one
  • Wait until they feel that they’re ready for sexual involvement

what happens to the body without sex

What happens to the body without sex?

A healthy sex life offers numerous physical and mental benefits, like better heart health, a stronger immune system, lower stress, and pain relief. But, what if you choose not to have sex? Is abstinence bad for your health?

Whether you choose to delay your first sexual experience or decide to stop having sex for some time, experts say nothing is wrong with abstinence.

Are you worried that you’ll be missing out on the physical benefits that sex brings? If so, don’t forget that you can get them through non-sexual means:

Pain relief

If you want the pain-relieving benefits of sex, remember that you can work out. Like sex, exercises like aerobic workouts also release endorphins, the body’s natural pain-killers.

Better heart health

Do you want to improve your heart health? Remember that staying physically active and maintaining a balanced diet is also good for the heart.

Stronger immune system

Are you looking for immune-boosting activities? A healthy diet, regular exercise, and adequate sleep are just some of the practices that boost our immunity.

Furthermore, you can get the physical and mental benefits of orgasms without having a sexual partner through masturbation.

Does abstinence affect mental health?

Now that we’ve established that nothing negative happens to the body without sex, let’s talk about the implications of abstinence on mental health.

In most cases, the effects of not having sex depend on whether or not the abstinence is voluntary. People who willingly choose to abstain from bedroom activities may find that it’s great for their mental health.

A 2018 study involving more than 17,000 participants revealed that people who don’t engage in sex have similar levels of happiness to those who have a sex life.

However, not engaging in sex when you want to can be stressful. For instance, people in a relationship may experience anxiety and insecurity if they don’t maintain physical intimacy with their partner.

If you’re experiencing health problems (low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, painful intercourse, etc.) that stop you from engaging in sexual activities, don’t hesitate to consult your doctor.

Additionally, having negative feelings about sex and relationships can also discourage you from having intercourse. In this case, it would be great to set an appointment with a counselor or therapist.

Key Takeaways

What happens to the body without sex? According to experts, there are no side effects of not having sexual intercourse as long as you willingly choose to abstain from it. In case you’re not having sex due to some health or mental problems, the best course of action is to talk to your doctor.

Learn more about sexual wellness, here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Sociodemographic Correlates of Sexlessness Among American Adults and Associations with Self-Reported Happiness Levels: Evidence from the U.S. General Social Survey
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5889124/
Accessed December 1, 2020

Abstinence
https://shop.ucsc.edu/sexual-health/abstinence.html#disadvantages
Accessed December 1, 2020

The Benefits of a Healthy Sex Life
https://www.ohsu.edu/womens-health/benefits-healthy-sex-life
Accessed December 1, 2020

Sexual Frequency Predicts Greater Well-Being, But More is Not Always Better
https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1948550615616462
Accessed December 1, 2020

Advantages of Abstinence

Advantages of Abstinence


Accessed December 1, 2020

Picture of the author
Medically reviewed by Mary Rani Cadiz, M.D., OB-Gyn
Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N.
Updated Dec 07, 2020
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