Weird Things That Happen To Your Body When You Stop Having Sex
For centuries, religious monastics and many a spinster aunt have chosen to abstain and forgo getting it on, all likely for very different reasons. Many people don't know, though, what happens to their bodies when they don't have sex. Because dry spells usually affect everyone at some point in life, whether by choice or by circumstance, it can be helpful to know the possible toll such periods will have on overall health and well-being.
So what, besides frustration and longing, is the impact of abstinence on the human body? While there may be no threat of contracting an STD, the impact on our physiological and mental health can be quite profound, ranging from merely inconvenient to potentially life-threatening. But don't worry; going without sex probably won't take you out as long as you're aware of what's happening to your body and brain.
Keep reading to learn some interesting biological facts about abstinence and how your body changes when you stop having sex.
Your Immune System Isn't As EffectivePhoto: AIDS.gov / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
Can going without actually make you sick? In a way, yes. Arriving when doing it increases levels of a specific immunoglobulin - an antibody in the cells of the immune system. Known as IgA, this illness-fighter helps us fend off things like colds. Studies have found that getting it on just once or twice a week can boost levels of IgA by as much as 30 percent.
With less IgA in the immune system, the body has a far less effective response to battling illness and can struggle to remain healthy.
You May Get DepressedPhoto: Sander van der Wel / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 2.0
The lingering effects of physical satisfaction can be as good as any drug. Fluids absorbed into the female body, for example, works as an antidepressant and the hormone prolactin is key in that post-coital relaxation. The act also releases other feel-good chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin.
These chemicals all of which flood our brains in the hours after doing it - that keep us feeling good and stave off depression. Without it, we are more prone to plummeting moods and unpredictable behavior.
Your Private Parts Do Not Retighten
Despite what you may have heard, there is no biological way to become a virgin again and the whole idea that getting it on more results in looser vaginal walls is a myth. Dr. Jennifer Wider states that though "many people... assume that women who have less sex have tighter [parts] and women who have more sex have looser [parts] is just a complete misconception."
If you're opting for abstinence as a way to give your parts a break so they will return to some perceived state of tautness, that won't happen.
Your Libido Could Decrease
The science behind this one is not 100 percent agreed upon, but some researchers think that the less you engage your libido, the less often the hormonal response that accompanies the act is engaged. Without that more frequent engagement, the hormonal aspects of libido start to wane.
Not only does increased activity make you more confident in the act (because, in this case, practice does make perfect), the body also produces a consistent level of hormones when it knows to expect intercourse on a regular basis.
Your Cardiovascular Health Can WanePhoto: Henry Vandyke Carter - Henry Gray / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
Doing it has an effect on the heart that may not seem immediately clear. Good blood flow, which always originates in the heart, helps men get excited and helps women stay lubricated. When you go for long periods without, you run the risk of jeopardizing your cardiovascular health because the heart isn't pumping blood to all the areas that it could and should.
A Harvard medical study reports that "[getting it on] once a month or less can be a worrisome sign of cardiovascular disease..." For women, "dissatisfaction… was linked to the development of peripheral artery disease."
Intelligence Levels Can DropPhoto: Betsy O'Connor / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 4.0
Regular activity encourages the growth of new brain cells and new neural pathways. These types of growth are crucial in improving intelligence and memory. When you go through periods of abstinence, you deprive your brain of new cells and neural conduit development, consequently hindering your ability to retain new information.
Studies have also found that just watching adult entertainment videos boosts the viewer's working memory.