If the only fun you’ve had naked lately consists of a bubble bath, you’re not alone. Going from sexually active to sexless is relatively common, especially in long-term relationships. You may find yourself no longer having sex due to a breakup, changes in your health or life stress. While sex isn’t necessary for overall wellness, there is scientific proof that physical intimacy, arousal and orgasm can invite some pretty awesome benefits you may miss out on by going sex-free. Read on to learn about how not having sex can negatively impact your physical and emotional well-being — and then use this information as motivation to get back on the wagon.
1. Fewer Endorphins
Arousal and orgasm can cause the release of feel-good chemicals (endorphins) in your body. These chemicals are known to relieve pain and boost mood. If you stop regularly having sex you may then miss those rushes — similar to putting an end to the workouts, that once gave you the proverbial “runner’s high,” says Sheila Loanzon, M.D., a gynecologist in San Jose, California.
2. More Stress
If you remember how relaxed you once felt after a romp between the sheets, you may not be surprised to learn that less sex makes way for more stress. In a study published in the Journal of Family Psychology in 2010, female college students reported their levels of daily stress and sexual activity during several months before a major exam. Women who reported the most stress also reported having less sex. While there are other ways to manage stress, you may end up noticing that your stress levels go up as your sexual activity declines. On the flip side, high levels of stress can make sex less appealing.
3. Less Relationship Satisfaction
Physical intimacy works like feel-good glue for many couples, drawing and keeping you more connected emotionally. Unless you’re asexual, having less sex with your partner may lead to a drop in satisfaction for you both. The Journal of Family Psychology study also showed that women who reported less sex reported less relationship gratification. This may be partly because orgasm causes the release of the brain chemical oxytocin, also known as “the bonding hormone.” Oxytocin produces a sense of trust and closeness and may even help you and your partner see each other in a more positive light.