Break-ups. Work. Travel. Work travel. There are a lot of reasons your sex life may be stalled. And, like knocking over that first domino, your dry spell in the sack can affect your health in many ways—both good and bad.
1. You’ll feel more anxious.
Sex helps people blow off steam. Scottish researchers found people who abstained from sex struggled to cope with stressful situations like public speaking, compared with those who had intercourse at least once over a 2-week period. (Check out these 5 weird signs you’re way too anxious.) During sex, the brain releases feel-good chemicals, such as endorphins and oxytocin, which help you feel more at ease, the researchers say. (Even if you’re not having sex with a partner, there’s no reason not to take matters into your own hands; this waterproof vibrating massager has 6 settings you’re going to very much enjoy.)
2. Men, watch out for prostate cancer.
Guys who stop having sex may miss out on the prostate-protecting perks of frequent trysts. A study presented to the American Urological Association found men who got it on all the time enjoyed—along with the sex—a 20% drop in their risk for prostate cancer. One reason? Frequent ejaculations may remove potentially harmful substances from the prostate.
3. You’re more susceptible to colds and flu.
Less sex may reduce your exposure to germs. Unfortunately, you’ll also skip the immune-boosting benefits of a weekly roll in the hay. Researchers at Wilkes-Barre University in Pennsylvania found people who had sex once or twice a week enjoyed a 30% boost in immunoglobulin A (IgA), compared with those who had sex seldom or never. IgA is one of the body’s first lines of defense against viruses, the study authors say.
4. Your risk for a UTI drops.
Nearly 80% of urinary tract infections occur within 24 hours of intercourse. During sex, bacteria in the vagina can end up pushed into the urethra, where it causes an infection. So the bright side—at least for women—when you stop having sex, your risk for the painful peeing condition plummets.
5. Insecurities about your relationship could start creeping in.