Not having sex? Surprising ways your health is affected

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Not having sex? Surprising ways your health is affected

Going through a dry spell with no sex can happen.  All kinds of life experiences pop up - a breakup, work travel, low libido, or just not meeting the right person.  One never knows what roadblocks may appear putting the brakes on your sex life.  

If lack of sex is only for a few weeks, you may not notice much difference.  But if the absence of a love life goes on too much longer, your health may actually be affected.  Not that celibacy has long lasting effects on your overall health, but you still could see some unexpected changes.

Here is a look at what might happen when your sex life is left high and dry:

·      Your level of stress may change

Sex is nature’s natural stress reliever and for those who depend on it to reduce feeling frayed, guess what, your stress level may increase.  This is especially true for men who often use sex to feel more relaxed.  During sex, the brain releases feel-good chemicals such as endorphins and oxytocin, which help you feel more at ease.  However for some women, not having sex may actually reduce their stress and anxiety as sex may have been painful or was just one more thing on their to-do list.

·      You may feel depressed

Besides reducing stress, having skin-to-skin contact with another person during sex, is a primal way we get comforted.  Sexual connection of lots of caressing and touching can help regulate mood from the release of oxytocin.  If you’re lacking in human touch, this can lead to feeling mentally low.  This doesn’t mean that if you’re a healthy person who has stopped having sex that you are going to become depressed.  But it may mean to get out, be around people to have a sense of belonging and acceptance.

·      For women, vaginal walls may become dry

The “use it or lose it” slogan could be used here, especially for women entering menopause.  Regular intercourse after menopause is important for vaginal health.  The vaginal walls of older women who are not having regular intercourse, can thin out becoming dry leading to painful sex.  The solution is to have more sex to increase blood flow to this area of the body preventing drying and thinning of vaginal walls.

Another issue of lack of sex in older women is lubrication. Menopause causes a reduction in the hormone estrogen.  Estrogen is needed to keep vaginal tissues healthy, elastic, and lubricated.  When a woman is young, she has plenty of estrogen to make this happen.  But once estrogen levels dwindle, vaginal lubrication lessens with age.  To keep the juices flowing, a woman without a partner can do self-pleasure to keep her vaginal walls healthy.

·      Your risk of UTIs is reduced

No sex actually has some benefits – reduction in sexually transmitted infections and urinary tract infections. Sexual intercourse is responsible for increasing the risk of recurrent UTIs.  In premenopausal women, eighty percent of UTIs can occur within 24 hours of having sex.  The more sex you are having, the greater likelihood of UTIs.

·      Menstrual cramps can become worse

The uncomfortable menstrual cramps many women experience can actually be helped by having sex.  The reason is this – when a woman has an orgasm, this causes contractions of the uterus which causes more blood to be expelled which can decrease menstrual cramps.  The release of endorphins is also believed to help with cramps. 

·      Men may have an increased risk of prostate cancer

Men listen up – sex is considered a prostate-protecting toolStudies have found that men ages 20 to 29 who ejaculated 21 times or more each month were 19 percent less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than men who ejaculated less often, between 4 and 7 times per month. 

This same finding held true for men ages 40 to 49 who ejaculated at least 21 times a month reduced their risk of developing prostate cancer by 22 percent.

The reason appears that frequent ejaculation may remove potentially harmful substances from the prostate.

·      You may become more susceptible to colds and flu

Even though not having close contact with someone else can reduce your exposure to germs, missing out on a night of passion can also reduce the immune-boosting benefits it brings. Researcher at Wilkes-Barre University in Pennsylvania found people who had sex once or twice a week had a 30 percent boost in immunoglobulin A (IgA) compared with those who had sex seldom or never.  IgA is one of the body’s first line of defense against viruses. 

·      A man’s risk for erectile dysfunction rises

Again, this goes back to “use it or lose it.”  Infrequent sex for men makes them twice as likely to experience erectile dysfunction compared to men who engage in bedroom activities one a week or more according to a study published in the American Journal of Medicine.  Study authors state since the penis is a muscle, frequent sex may help preserve its love power similar in the way exercise helps maintain strength.