Here’s what happens to the human body when you don’t have sex or masturbate for months


Gen Z of legal age are having less sex than any generation in history – and experts warn it could lead to their genitalia shrinking.

Dr Tara Suwinyattichaiporn, a sex and relationship expert, told DailyMail.com that men who are sexually inactive can experience a very rare condition called penile atrophy – where penile tissue can become less elastic causing it to shrink by one to two centimeters.

She also says that going a month or more without having sex may cause men and women to experience increased stress levels due to sexual frustration, anxiety, depression and anger issues.

It can cause other psychological impacts and more make people more prone to infidelity. 

Abstaining from sex can cause temporary and long-term issues from developing anxiety and anger issues to severe medical conditions and relationship issues

Abstaining from sex can cause temporary and long-term issues from developing anxiety and anger issues to severe medical conditions and relationship issues

Despite the positive attachment to sex, a 2021 California University study found that 38 percent of young people between the ages of 18 and 30 reported they hadn’t had any sexual partners in the previous year.

Experts warned that not having sex over weeks, months or years can have harmful effects on the human body.

Most people need affection, touch and sexual connections with others and without it, your mental health could deteriorate, causing anxiety, depression and increased levels of stress, Suwinyattichaiporn said.

She explained that all people are different and depending on the person’s general mental health, the really extreme symptoms could develop within six months or take as long as five years.

Having sex releases feel-good hormones like oxytocin – also called the ‘love hormone – dopamine and serotonin which regulate your emotions and boost your mood. 

Dopamine is a chemical that the brain releases to make you feel pleasure, but if your body doesn’t produce enough of it, you can develop insecurities and lower self-worth.

Couples who stop having sex could develop marital problems like dissatisfaction in the relationship that can lead to resentment, sexual infidelity, and divorce

Couples who stop having sex could develop marital problems like dissatisfaction in the relationship that can lead to resentment, sexual infidelity, and divorce

A 2021 study suggested that people with unmet sexual needs can develop frustration that may lead to an increase in aggressive behavior.

This frustration can arise from the unfulfilled desire to have sex, not having an available partner or engaging in unsatisfying sexual activities which can lead to heightened irritability and mood swings.

It has led to an increase in ‘the risks of aggression, violence, and crime associated with relief-seeking, power-seeking, revenge-seeking, and displaced frustration,’ the study said.

If couples are experiencing a sex drought in their relationship, ‘they don’t approach their partner with softness, vulnerability and requests for compromise,’ sex therapist Sari Cooper told DailyMail.com. 

‘They also don’t have the technique to repair conflicts and instead blame one another, pursue the other with continuous criticism, or elicit a guilty response in order to get their needs met.’

Going through a ‘dry period’ is normal, Cooper added, but going too long without sex can cause major problems with your partner.

‘Sometimes one partner may ask to open up the relationship so they can get their needs met in an ethical manner, and other partners may just have an outside sexual infidelity to meet the needs,’ Cooper explained. 

A 2021 California Health Interview Survey found that the number of young people abstaining from sex reached a record high, with 38 percent of people ages 18 to 30 saying they hadn’t had any sexual partners in the last year.

This is compared to 22 percent of people who reported not having sex in a year from a decade earlier, the LA Times reported.

Suwinyattichaiporn warned that more extreme symptoms can arise from sex withdrawal including penile and vaginal atrophy, pain during sex, but added the caveat that this could take upwards of five years without sex to occur.

Men are at a higher risk of developing medical issues like penile atrophy and prostate cancer if they abstain from having sex for long time periods.

Researchers believe that carcinogens build up in the prostate over time, which increases the risk of cancer, but studies have found that ejaculation may prevent it because it flushes out the harmful chemicals that build up in the semen, according to the Urology Care Foundation.

Suwinyattichaiporn’s warning that an inactive sex life can cause penile atrophy was echoed by Tobias Kohler, and assistant professor of urology at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine who told WebMD that without regular erections, the penis will become elastic and shrink.

The science behind how long it takes for penile atrophy to develop appears to still be up for debate. 

A 2016 study found that men who ejaculated at least 21 times each month had a lower risk of developing prostate cancer than those who ejaculated just four to seven times a month.

Likewise, when a woman goes without sex for months, it can cause vaginal atrophy, making intercourse uncomfortable and sometimes painful.

Sexual activity increases the blood flow, lubrication and elasticity of vaginal tissues, but without it, a woman can develop vaginal atrophy – when the tissues become thin and dry – which can shorten the vaginal canal, making penetration more difficult.

Cooper advised that people who are going through a lengthy sexual lull first address their stress levels because it impacts your ability to notice if ‘someone piques our neurotic nerve endings.’

‘Stressed out people don’t have the capacity to enjoy sex,’ Suwinyattichaiporn added.

People can use methods to de-stress like practicing yoga or tai-chi, meditating, and scheduling regular date nights with your partner.

Cooper also suggested considering what has triggered your ‘erotic desires’ in the past – which don’t always have to be physical.

‘For example, someone may be very sound-oriented and if in a relaxed state can get really turned on when listening to or dancing to a type of music,’ Cooper said.

For couples who feel like they’re stuck in a sexless relationship and communicating isn’t an option, Cooper recommended them to seek out a certified sex therapist to help them ‘address these barriers with professional guidance.’



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