Sex has proven time and time again to have several benefits for one’s overall well-being—helping to improve mood, balance out hormones, lessen pain in the body, and even reduce blood pressure while facilitating weight loss through burning calories. Researchers at universities and institutions across the globe conduct many studies that present the major benefits of being sexually active.

But what does research say about the effects of sexual inactivity on one’s health physically and mentally?

What happens when a person decides to step away from sexual activity for a period of time, or quite possibly, for a lifetime? What happens to the body when one decides to refrain from expressing your erotic nature? Are there more benefits to remaining sexually abstinent than one would think?

Like most questions about sex, this answer isn’t straightforward with one clear-cut answer that covers every aspect of the question. There are both pros and cons to leading a life void of sexual expression through physical intercourse, and a few may surprise you.



Protects one from disease

Abstaining from sexual activity is the only way a person can completely prevent the contraction of STDs. Using condoms only reduces a person’s risk of catching something that needs to be treated, making sexually active individuals viable prospects of being indisposed to disease. Certain STDs are passed through skin-to-skin contact (HPV, herpes), so the only way to ensure one remains disease-free is by abstaining from sexual activity with a partner and practicing solo sex.

Develops intimate relationships with others

When a person decides to refrain from sexual activity, it places an emphasis on the intimate aspect of relationships versus erotic love. Instead of connecting with a partner on a physical level, a person practicing abstinence can focus on developing a deeper connection with a person of interest on a conscious and spiritual level, deepening a bond that will add to the romantic relationship in positive ways.

Learning nuances about a person through observation, spending time in close bodily contact, being aware of their shift in body language during certain conversations or interactions, and discovering his or her emotional triggers are all things that can be learned when sexual energy is put into building a bond through intimacy.


Weakened genitals over time

The common expression “If you don’t use it, you lose it” can also be applied to the use of the genitals. A common question often asked by men who choose to abstain from sex is, “Will my penis shrink if I’m not having sex?,” and the answer to this question is actually maybe.

During sexual arousal, the erectile tissue within the penis fills with blood, causing a man to have an erection that stiffens the penile muscles and gives them the ability to expand. Blood rushing to this area helps with stimulating healthy cellular growth and facilitates in maintaining the shape and length of the penis. But research has shown that extended periods of sexual inactivity can cause the penis to shrink by a few centimeters if a man is not at least experiencing an erection.

Research has also found that ejaculating at least four times a week helps in keeping the prostate in shape and functioning correctly. The same “if you don’t use it, you lose it” philosophy applies to the vagina as well. If a woman is sexually inactive for an extended period of time, the vagina can become weaker, making it susceptible to vaginal prolapse.

Weakened genitals can be avoided during sexual abstinence by utilizing kegel exercises to strengthen the vaginal muscles.  Men can also use Kegel exercises to strengthen penile muscles and clinch the prostate gland to keep it in a healthy state.

Sexual repression

When sexual energy becomes repressed, it can manifest itself within the body in different ways, causing discomfort, irritability, aggression and an imbalance in hormonal levels. Sexual energy is very powerful and has the ability to heal and mend relationships if transmuted correctly into life force energy.

Through meditation and concentration on this energy within, one can recycle erotic energy and use it to add to one’s life in a positive way and heal his/herself internally. Sexual energy gives life to every organ and system within the body. But one has to learn how to use meditation properly in order to activate this healing property of sexual energy. Buddhist monks who’ve taken lifetime celibacy vows learn this practice of transforming their sexual energy into life force energy.

Sexual inactivity has its pros and cons, but the most important piece in the decision-making process is insuring that overall health is maintained through the process. Through concentration and dedication, periods of abstinence can bring much benefit to the participant, just as long and s/he remembers to remain sexually and physically fit during the process.