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Benefits of Sexual Abstinence

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4 min read


Refraining from indulging in sexual activities (sexual abstinence) can benefit and improve mental and physical health. Read to know more.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Ramchandra Lamba

Published At November 23, 2022
Reviewed AtDecember 20, 2022


Studies suggest that there are a lot of benefits of having sex, such as lower blood pressure, a better immune system, lower risks of cardiovascular diseases (heart diseases including heart attacks), decreased depression and anxiety, increased libido, and release of happy hormones (oxytocin, serotonin endorphins, dopamine), better sleep; but there are benefits of not having sex or indulging in sexual activities too (benefits of sexual abstinence).A long period of abstinence (more than a month) can lead to a significant improvement in general health and can be beneficial to physical well-being.

What Is Sexual Abstinence?

Abstinence is when a person restrains from indulging in addictive habits like alcohol or smoking. The practice of restraining oneself from indulging in sexual activities is called sexual abstinence. For some people, sexual abstinence is choosing to save all sexual activity for marriage. This means refraining from any form of genital contact or stimulation before marriage, including kissing and petting.

Why Do People Choose Sexual Abstinence?

There comes a point in everyone's lives when they experience dry spells. Some people willingly choose to refrain from indulging in sexual activities for various reasons; it might be when they are:

  • Not ready for a sexual relationship.

  • Sexual incompatibility with their partner.

  • Wait to find the right partner.

  • Just enjoying their partner's company without having to indulge in sexual activities.

  • People who are career-oriented and focused on work and their jobs.

  • Follow their personal morals, principles and religious beliefs, and values.

  • Not able to build a real connection with their partner.

  • Sexual performance anxiety (SPA).

  • Emotional issues and mental illness.

  • Doctors' advice during or after sickness or even a medical procedure.

  • Periodic sexual abstinence is often recommended as a method of birth control.

What Are the Benefits of Sexual Abstinence?

Sexual abstinence is one sure way to protect the body, mind, and heart from the various consequences of premarital sexual activity. It is also the safest lifestyle choice for the future spouse and family. Sexual abstinence mostly benefits teenagers and the unmarried population from getting pregnant and from suffering from sexually transmitted diseases.

Benefits of Sexual Abstinence on Physical Health:

  • No Risk of Sexually Transmitted Diseases - Having sexual intercourse can increase the risk of sexually transmitted diseases like syphilis and gonorrhea. Other diseases that may be sexually transmitted are herpes, chlamydia, genital warts, vaginitis, viral hepatitis, and HIV (the virus that causes AIDS). Indulging in non - intercourse sexual activities such as oral sex can also increase the risk of oral infections. Refraining from indulging in any sexual activities can reduce the risk of contracting these infections and help one stay healthy.

  • Reduced Risk of Contracting Urinary Tract Infections - Studies show women are more likely to develop UTIs than men. This is because of the anatomy of the female and male genital organs. However, males can also be affected by it. Sexual activity can contribute to the development of urinary tract infections (UTIs). This is because the increased friction from sexual activity pushes bacteria toward the urethra. Anything that allows or encourages this movement increases the risk of UTI. Sometimes urinary tract infections may also reach the bladder and cause bladder infections (cystitis). Sexual abstinence, including trusting movements and foreplay) can hence prove to reduce the risk of developing urinary tract infections (UTIs).

  • No Unwanted Pregnancy - Using protection and consuming birth control pills do not offer a hundred percent protection. There can still be chances of getting pregnant. However, complete abstinence from sexual activities and sexual intercourse provides complete protection and assurance of not getting pregnant.

  • Decrease in Hormonal Levels - Not having sex for a long time can lower testosterone levels in both genders and female hormones like estrogen and progesterone. This, in turn, reduces the sex drive and reduces the chances of sex addictions.

  • No Risks of Bruises and Lacerations - No risk of chafing (skin soreness of inner thighs due to friction), sore penis, vaginal tearing, vaginal swellings, and burning sensations.

  • No Sexual Performance Anxiety(SPA) - Most people find it difficult to engage in sexual activities, which makes them feel anxious. This is called sexual performance anxiety(SPA) and is quite normal among individuals. People refraining from sexual activities do not face sexual performance anxiety. This also helps eliminate negative feelings about sex.

  • Reduced Physical Exertion - Most people get exhausted and have increased heart rate, muscle soreness, weakness, and unbearable lower back pain, breathlessness, dry throat, and dry mouth. This may take a toll on their physical health in the long term and even cause serious symptoms. Sexual abstinence can improve these symptoms, reduce physical exertion on the overall body, and prevent medical conditions from worsening.

  • No Risk of Sexsomnia - Sexsomnia is a sleeping disorder in which a person performs sexual activities when asleep. This often is a result of increased stress levels, mental disorders, and sex addictions (including constant thinking about sexual activities and imaginary sexual scenarios in the brain, and sexual hallucinations). Complete sexual abstinence can reduce the risk and prevent sexsomnia from getting worse.

Benefits of Sexual Abstinence on Mental Health:

  • No Risk of Sexual Addiction - Sexual addiction or compulsive sexual behavior is when a person exhibits excessive sexual thoughts and behaviors that might affect his mental health. Sexual abstinence in such situations can improve the condition and reduce the symptoms of hypersexuality (sexual addiction).

  • Better Sex Life in the Future - Studies show that having sex every day can cause disinterest in sexual activities. Sexual abstinence breaks the monotony and keeps the interest alive.

  • Space to Focus On Emotional Issues - Sexual abstinence can help in diverting one's thoughts from sexual activities and make space for focusing on emotional issues for a healthy state of mind (for example, taking measures towards anxiety management).

  • Personal Growth and Self-Love - Sexual abstinence increases sexual self-awareness from an emotional perspective and may prove to boost self-confidence and self-love. It also gives a feeling of self-independence and self-love.

  • Career Focused - Often, people find it difficult to concentrate on their work, career, and social life due to the constant domination of sexual thoughts and activities in their minds. Taking a break from indulging in sexual activities can prove a person to become more productive and concentrate on their career.

  • Mental Health Improvement - Recent researches and studies show teenagers and people in their 20s often face a lot more issues related to sex, unwanted pregnancy, sexual dysfunctions, and sexual performance anxiety (SPA) which takes a toll on their mental health. This often urges people to make hasty and impulsive decisions and actions, including self-harm. These studies also conclude sexual abstinence makes it less likely for people to have depression and suicidal tendencies. For this reason, sexual abstinence is encouraged for people in their teenage and early twenties.


Sexual abstinence might be recommended by doctors, or it may be a personal choice, and it may be difficult to strict oneself from indulging in sexual activities. Quitting or taking a break from indulging in sexual activities temporarily may improve the quality of life and physical and mental health conditions. However, taking the right measures like seeking therapy from sex therapists and qualified doctors, self-control, meditation, and medications may help to refrain from indulging in sexual activities.

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Dr. Ramchandra Lamba
Dr. Ramchandra Lamba



sex abstinencemental health
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