According to 2016 research, millennials are having less sex than any generation since the 1920s. This is a bad thing for a few reasons: 1) sex is fun, and you should be having as much of it as you can, and 2) they’re all missing out on the many well-documented health benefits of having sex regularly.
Of course, that’s not always possible for various reasons — maybe your partner is out of town, or you’re just in between relationships. But what actually happens to your body when you don’t have sex for a long time? Here are 6 of the most surprising side effects.
1) Your rhythm gets thrown off the next time you have sex.
You know that old expression, “if you don’t use it, you lose it?” Science suggests that to a degree, that might be true. A 2008 study in the American Journal of Medicine concluded that men in their 50s, 60s, and 70s that weren’t sexually active were more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction. This makes some sense: on an intellectual level, navigating all those arms and legs and erogenous zones can get pretty confusing, so imagine trying to navigate the core mechanics of intercourse after months and months of not having sex at all. Luckily, there’s an easy solution: even if you don’t have a partner, the research suggests ejaculating regularly can help alleviate some of these effects.
2) If you don’t masturbate, your risk of prostate cancer goes up.
If your dry spell extends to the self-pleasure zone — i.e., if you’re not masturbating at all — research says that’s not healthy. In fact, multiple studies have pointed to the conclusion that “high ejaculation frequency” (a.k.a. jerking off at least 4.6 to seven times a week) is linked to a lower risk of prostate cancer. So get out those baby wipes and turn on Pornhub for the sake of your own health.