A Cup of Coffee: What Happens When Sex Doesn’t?

Welcome back! Last week, we talked about Seasonal Allergies. If you missed that blog and would like to catch up, click HERE.

This week we are going to talk about sex. Or…rather…lack thereof. What happens to our bodies if we stop having sex? Enquiring minds want to know!

I think I found some answers for you, Dear Reader.

So what happens? Is it unhealthy?

Yes. In short, it’s unhealthy to not have sex. “Having sex releases feel-good brain chemicals like oxytocin and serotonin, lifting your mood and spirits, Gail Saltz, MD, associate professor of psychiatry at NY Presbyterian Hospital Weill-Cornell School of Medicine. When your system isn’t producing these brain chemicals in the same amounts, it can take a toll on your mental health“. Anxiety and Depression are the two most commonly cited mental health issues when one stops having regular sex.

Skin Hunger…what’s that?

“Direct touch of your own skin to your partner’s skin conveys emotion. Without it, you could be dealing with ‘skin hunger,’ or our body’s reaction to a long-term lack of touch. Skin-to-skin contact can decrease stress and improve self-esteem, potentially even boosting our immune system,” Rachel Nazarian, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York, says “Our skin interprets positive touch (and what is sex if not a form of positive touching?) to boost serotonin levels, so you’re more likely to feel happy and healthy“, says Dr. Nazarian”.

Once you’ve gone a long time without sex, getting in the mood again can be tough.

After a sex break, “it may take more time for the vagina to get sufficiently lubricated or for the tissues to fully relax,” says Dr. Greves. When you have regular sex, your vagina goes into arousal mode automatically. Take a long pause, however, and it needs more of a warmup before getting back in the swing of things. The same goes for the penis; erection issues are not uncommon after a dry spell.

Does lack of sex affect my heart?

Yes. Research says people who have sex once a month or less get heart disease more often than those who have it twice a week or so. Part of the reason could be that you get a bit more exercise and are less likely to be anxious or depressed. But it could also be that if you have more sex, you’re physically and mentally healthier in the first place.

Will lack of sex cause me to gain weight?

Sex typically burns about 5 calories a minute. That’s about equal to a brisk walk. And you use a bit more oxygen too — about the same as digging in the garden or walking down the stairs. 

That may not seem like much, but it starts to add up over the long term. And because sex can improve your mental health, you might be more likely to do other types of exercise like the neighborhood kickball team, hiking, or housework.

Does lack of sex affect my memory?

Indiana University believes it does. A recent study focusing on older adults provided support for the following conclusions. Among adults aged 50-89, frequent sexual activity (defined broadly so as to also include activities other than intercourse) was linked to enhanced recall on a memory task. Both men and women were included in this study, and the sex-recall association did not depend on gender.

WebMD states: Regular sex seems to be linked to improved memory, especially if you’re between ages 50 and 89. It’s not clear why.

So there you have it, Dear Reader. The research is in, and it says sex is a normal, natural part of being healthy. So get your hugging on, even if it’s not sexual in nature…we all need that human contact, mated or not. COVID really isolated most of us, so we all need a booster shot of love!

Editors note: This blog is not a replacement for sound medical advice, and many diseases, disorders, and syndromes have symptoms that overlap. Only a qualified medical professional can diagnose you. That said, if you think this blog may be helpful to others, please hit the Facebook Icon and share it on your personal pages. Thank you for reading us, we really do appreciate you!


  1. Great summary! Definitely support it as part of a healthy life! The optimal frequency is always a question, but twice a week at least seems about right. Finding a happy medium seems necessary and requires mutual planning and understanding.

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