You may feel a change in your libido
Sex is a powerful thing. It has the power to improve your mood and even whittle your waistline, and sex once a week can even increase longevity. How not having sex affects your body can vary based on your health, how old you are, and even what kind of sex you were having. But if you’re generally healthy and have only stopped having sex because of a lack of a partner or a conscious choice (and not some other physical reason), there are some changes you could experience. You may feel either a loss of sex drive—or an increase in libido! “For some people who refrain from sex, they begin to feel more sluggish, with less vitality and hunger for sex,” says Sari Cooper, LCSW, certified sex therapist. “Out of sight out of mind is how some of my clients describe the scenario.” Because it’s not on your radar, you may tune out sexual desires; but for others, not having sex could make it even more desirable. “You might not be thinking about it as much, or you might be thinking about it all the time,” says Lauren Streicher, MD, author of Sex Rx: Hormones, Health, and Your Best Sex Ever. “It’s really variable.” Try to boost your libido using these 31 natural remedies to rev up your sex drive again!
You may feel more down in the dumps
Sex is part physical, part mental. “When people have sex they’re usually having skin-to-skin contact, and this kind of contact is the first primal way we as humans get comforted [as babies with our mothers],” Cooper says. “Sexual connection give partners loads of skin-to-skin caressing and touch, and can help to regulate one another’s moods,” through the release of the feel-good hormone oxytocin. Dr. Streicher also says sex can help boost your spirits through mood-elevating endorphins. Without the benefit of these natural pick-me-ups, you might be prone to feeling low—but that doesn’t mean you’ll become clinically depressed. Although studies have shown that depression and a lack of sex are linked, this reflects an association, not cause and effect. “If you are a healthy person and you stop having sex, you’re not going to become depressed because of it,” Dr. Streicher says. “You might be depressed because your boyfriend cheated on you and your life is in the toilet, but the specific lack of sexual activity is in no way going to cause [clinical] depression, even though there’s a high correlation.” (Here are 15 surprising reasons your partner doesn’t want to have sex.)