How Long is Too Long Without Sex?

Luckily, there are no adverse health effects from not having sex. The amount of sex you have is up to you, and there is no right or wrong amount of sex you should have. Many factors may contribute to not having sex, including age, health, and relationship status.

Key takeaways:
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    The amount of sex you have is up to you. On average, people have sex once a week, but that doesn't mean that that is the right amount for you.
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    Many people are happy and healthy without having any sex. However, not having sex may present some mental health and relationship problems.
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    There are some health benefits from not having sex, including eliminating the risk of sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancy, along with mental health benefits for those who wish to refrain from having sex.

Nevertheless, many people lead happy and healthy lives without having sex.

Changes in the average amount of sex

The average amount of sex that people have has seen a decrease over the past number of years. A study conducted in 2014 examining the sex lives of 26,620 people in the United States found that most people were having sex around once a week, stating that the average person engages in sexual activity around 54 times per year. This number declined from a previous study conducted in 1990, which found that people were having sex around 63 times per year. Interestingly, researchers found this decline in almost all demographics, including gender, age, race, education level, region, and relationship status, suggesting that most of us have much less sex than we once were.

We are having less sex – why?

Researchers believe that people are having less sex for many reasons, including:

  • Working longer hours.
  • Spending more time with children.
  • Gaining pleasure from streaming and gaming services.

There has also been a decline in the amount of sex that young people are having, with a 2018 study finding that 89% of people aged 14-17 years old stated that they have not had sex, an increase from previous years. Researchers attribute this decline to an increase in sex and relationship education and information available to young people, as they are now able to talk more openly about their attitudes towards sex and sexuality, which is contributing to the visibility of asexuality.

Abstinence – benefits and drawbacks:

The reason you're not having sex is much more important than the actual amount of sex you're having. If you're happy with the amount of sex you're having, even if that's none, then there aren't likely to be any adverse effects. Many people who have little or no sex are happy with the amount of sex they are having, and this is a perfectly healthy way to live life.

However, if you are not having the amount of sex you like or have sex that lacks quality and pleasure, then you may experience some psychological effects as a result. If a person wishes to have more sex than they are having, they may experience some mental health issues such as anxiety or depression or a loss in their self-worth.

Conversely, most people benefit from the intimacy that having sex with their partner provides. Therefore, a partnered person may experience some relationship problems if the amount of sex they desire differs from the amount their partner desires.

Advantages of not having sex

While some people may see not having sex as a negative, there are certain benefits of not having sex, including:

  • Having no risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted infection.
  • Having no risk of an unwanted pregnancy.
  • Being less likely to develop infections such as a UTI.
  • Living in a manner that is congruent with religious or personal beliefs.
  • Giving yourself time to be able to deal with any other psychological issues that may need attention.

Additionally, not having sex may be beneficial to a person’s mental health, particularly for asexuals, as this often reduces the amount of stress and anxiety that asexual people experience regarding sex.

Disadvantages of not having sex

Scientists have found many health benefits from having sex. Therefore, people who do not engage in regular sex may be at risk of a number of health issues, including:

  • Cardiovascular disease. Researchers have found that having sex increases a person's cardiovascular health, as it is a form of exercise. To omit this risk, make sure that you exercise for at least 30 minutes a day.
  • Poor pelvic floor health. For people with vaginas, having sex improves pelvic floor functioning, which decreases the risk of incontinence. Luckily, you can strengthen the pelvic floor through solo sex.
  • Period pains. Having sex and orgasms may lead to less painful periods, and many people use this to deal with the pain. Again, you don't need to have partnered sex to reap these benefits, as masturbation alleviates period pain.

Having sex has many health benefits, including boosting energy and mood. However, not having sex, though it may slightly increase the risk of some health issues, doesn't facilitate long-lasting adverse effects.

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