If you and your partner are going through a dry spell with regard to the activities of the bedroom, or if you’re not as intimate with your partner as you used to be before the arrival of your baby, then trust us, you are not alone. Every couple goes through a sexual drought occasionally, and due to all sorts of reasons. It could be because of work pressure, pains and complications after childbirth, running after the baby all day long, tiredness, health issues, or simply because of a lack of interest. While a break from your sexual life won’t affect your overall health or intimacy levels in the long run, it can lead to certain changes in your physical and emotional health.
7 Things That May Happen to You When You Stop Having Sex
If your break from sexual intercourse (whether after childbirth or in general) has stretched for longer than you’d have imagined, you may have noticed certain changes in your body already. When you’re being puked or peed on daily and hardly have the time to shower, sex might be the last thing on your mind. The thought of the pain that postpartum sex brings won’t make it easier either. However, delaying having sex for too long can have some of the following effects on your body.
1. Your Vaginal Walls May Weaken
It’s a common belief that a woman’s vagina becomes tighter if she abstains from sexual intercourse for a while, but that’s not true; at least, not entirely. A lack of sexual activity can weaken the vaginal walls. When you have sex regularly (and by regularly, we mean once a week or even fortnightly), the blood flow to your genitals will be normal, and your vaginal muscles, toned and elastic. But if you have taken a break from sex, you can expect the opposite effect on your vagina. Women entering the menopause phase may also experience this problem. A lack of intercourse when they get older can thin out their vaginal walls, and they may experience pain while having sex.
2. Your Libido Might Drop
It is believed that having infrequent sex affects the libido i.e., a person’s sexual drive. If you and your partner are not getting cosy under the sheets and are abstaining from foreplay too, you can expect a drop in your sex drive. A bout of celibacy is expected in the postpartum period; if you are breastfeeding your baby, your oestrogen levels will remain low, which might lead to vaginal dryness and create a ‘pins and needles’ sensation while you have sex. This can be a turn-off for you. You may also not be aroused by anything that turned you on instantly earlier. But the more you and your partner keep your hands off each other, the steeper the drop will be of your libido! However, this is not true for everyone. Sometimes, a lack of sexual activity can make a person desire it more and increase their libido.
3. You May Feel Stressed
For many couples, sex acts as a stress-buster. If that’s the case with you and your partner, you may feel down in the dumps if you’ve paused sexual activity after childbirth. Pregnancy and childbirth can lead to plenty of changes in your body which you may be super conscious about, even if your husband accepts them. At times, you may doubt his words and show no interest in sex. But the more you put it off, the less connected you will feel with him. This, in turn, will then play out in your communication with him i.e., you may find it difficult to convey your feelings to your husband. This could also elevate your stress levels and affect your mood. But having sex can solve the problem – it can effectively manage your stress levels and help you sleep better. This is because during sexual activity, your body releases hormones like endorphins and oxytocin, which help you manage the effects of stress. Plus, the release of these happy hormones can uplift your mood and enable you to sleep better.
4. Your Immune Function May Be Affected
The release of the hormone oxytocin during sex can get you in the mood, making you feel happy and satisfied. And when you feel good about yourself and are not stressed, your immune system will function better. Regular sexual activity can help your body fight illnesses, but a lack of it can make you susceptible to catching colds or other infections. Couples who engage in lovemaking often have higher levels of immunoglobulin A, an essential antibody in the immune system that helps fights sickness. However, sex alone won’t keep your immune system happy; you also need to eat right, lead a healthy and active lifestyle, and get enough sleep.
5. Your Vagina May Have a Hard Time Lubricating
Another thing you’ll notice if it’s been a while since you got jiggy under the sheets is that your vagina may struggle to lubricate itself. And you can blame the hormone oestrogen for that! The release of this hormone ensures that your vagina stays healthy, elastic, and lubricated. However, in the postpartum period, oestrogen levels drop; and if you are breastfeeding, your oestrogen levels will remain low, which may lead to vaginal dryness. Low oestrogen levels can even thin out your vaginal tissues, thereby making sex painful for you. But the lack of sex won’t improve your condition. While the first few times might be a bit painful, once you get back in the game, your vagina will be able to self-lubricate properly again, reducing the pain factor. Remember, regularity is the key here!
6. You May Feel Unsatisfied With Your Relationship
For some couples, physical intimacy is the key to a healthy relationship. It’s the glue that holds them together and helps them bond better. Couples who have sex often, even once a week, tend to be happier than those who don’t indulge in it more often. If having regular sex helps you communicate better with your partner and connect with him emotionally, you might feel disconnected from him when there is a lack of sex. After the birth of your child, you may face communication problems with your partner. But if you don’t address the problem, chances are you will feel unwanted, which can lower your confidence levels as well.
7. You May Lower Your Chances of Contracting UTIs
As it happens, abstinence does come with a silver lining, albeit a slightly thin one given the other effects it has on your body. It is a known fact that when you abstain from sexual activity with your partner, your chances of contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) will go down. At the same time, your chances of contracting urinary tract infections (UTIs) also lower. Urinary tract infections are usually caused by the transfer of bacteria to the urinary tract while having sex. But if it’s all dry below the belt, you won’t have to worry about these infections.
How to Get Your Sex Life Back on Track
Keep these tips in mind to spark things up a bit and to finally escape that sexual drought!
- Indulge in self-care before you decide to get back in action. We know playing mommy leaves you no time for yourself, but make time for your good health. Take a hot shower while your baby is asleep. Take enough rest and do something that makes you happy. Also, a hot shower before going to bed can be very relaxing and you never know, it might just set the mood.
- If you are nervous about the pain of having sex for the first time after you’ve given birth, you can start off by exploring your vagina gently with your fingers and identifying the pleasure and pain points before having sex. Also, communicate with your partner about what you’d like and what you want to avoid.
- Don’t forget to engage in foreplay. Foreplay can arouse you and make the experience better. Also, depend on lubricants to get past the issue of vaginal dryness.
- Be patient – things might not pan out all too well when you get back in action after a break. Try out different things that work for you and make sure you go slow and steady. For all you know, you might actually discover something new you like!
There is one good thing that comes from abstinence, but there are a lot of unpleasant effects too. Not having sex with your partner for a while can affect your physical and emotional health. So make it a point to spend some quality time with your partner and warm up before you get back in action. Plan a romantic dinner, light the candles, and set the mood to open the doorway to your bedroom and good health!