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Can Abstinence Improve Your Sex Life?

couple sleeping peacefully showing abstinence

Sex is a natural and enjoyable part of human life but it also comes with some risks and responsibilities, such as preventing unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and emotional distress. Some people may choose to abstain from sex for various reasons, such as personal, religious, moral, or health reasons. But what are the effects of abstinence on your sex life? Can it make it better or worse?

Abstinence is the practice of refraining from some or all aspects of sexual activity. It can be voluntary or involuntary, depending on the individual’s choice and circumstances. There is no right or wrong amount of sex to have, and not having sex for a long time should not have adverse side effects on your health. However, there are some benefits and drawbacks of abstinence that you may want to consider.

What is Periodic Abstinence?

In a study conducted by Shahina et al. (2013) published in the “Open Journal of Preventive Medicine,” which focused on assessing the knowledge and practice of periodic abstinence among currently married pregnant women in India, it was found that approximately 29.3 per cent of women were aware of the abstinence method, with 11.5 per cent having a history of using it. However, a significant 84.9 per cent of these women did not possess the correct knowledge of the fertile window of a menstrual cycle. 

While abstinence is often associated with refraining from sexual activity altogether, periodic abstinence involves strategically timing periods of sexual activity to enhance overall sexual satisfaction and connection within a relationship.

happy couple

Periodic abstinence, also known as “scheduled intimacy,” can be seen as a deliberate choice to abstain from sexual activity for a certain duration before engaging in it again. This approach aims to build anticipation, emotional connection, and intimacy between partners. By creating periods of sexual abstinence followed by intimacy, couples may find that their sexual encounters become more meaningful, passionate, and fulfilling.

Benefits of Abstinence

Is abstinence synonymous with giving up your sexuality? Absolutely not. 

Choosing not to have sex is a responsible and healthy method of handling your sexuality. Everyone has the ability to abstain. Even if you’ve already had sex, you can choose abstinence by not having it again. Many young people nowadays choose not to have sex for a variety of reasons.

satisfied couple sleeping calmly showing benefits of abstinence

Let’s take a look at some of the advantages of abstinence. Some of the benefits of abstinence are:

  • No risk of pregnancy or STIs

Abstinence is the only 100% effective method of preventing pregnancy and STIs. If you are not ready to deal with the consequences of having a child or getting infected with an STI, abstinence can be a safe and responsible option for you.

  • More focus on other aspects of life:

Abstinence can help you concentrate on other important things in your life, such as your education, career, hobbies, friends, family, and personal growth. You may also have more time and energy to pursue your goals and passions without the distraction of sexual urges or relationship issues.

  • More intimacy and communication with your partner:

If you are in a relationship and decide to abstain from sex, you may find other ways to express your love and affection for your partner, such as cuddling, kissing, holding hands, talking, listening, giving compliments, and doing activities together. These can strengthen your emotional bond and trust with your partner and make your relationship more satisfying and fulfilling.

  • More self-confidence and self-respect:

Abstinence can help you develop a positive self-image and self-esteem. You may feel more in control of your body and your choices and respect yourself for sticking to your values and principles. You may also avoid the pressure or guilt that may come from having sex when you are not ready or comfortable with it.

Drawbacks of Abstinence

People abstain for a variety of reasons. Those who are not in a relationship may opt to wait until they meet the right person. The couple’s attraction can wane, resulting in a lack of sexual activity. Sometimes people simply do not want to have sex. So, what happens when you don’t have sex for an extended period of time? 

unhappy couple showing drawbacks of abstinence

Some of the drawbacks of abstinence are:

  • Lack of sexual pleasure and satisfaction:

Sex can be a source of pleasure and satisfaction for many people. It can also release hormones that make you feel happy, relaxed, and connected with your partner. Abstaining from sex may deprive you of these benefits and make you feel frustrated, bored, or lonely.

  • Lack of sexual experience and skills:

Sex can be a learning process that requires practice and feedback. Abstaining from sex may limit your opportunities to explore your sexuality and discover what you like and dislike in bed. It may also affect your ability to perform well and please your partner when you do have sex.

  • Lack of physical health benefits:

Sex can have some positive effects on your physical health, such as improving your immune system function, reducing your blood pressure, lowering your stress levels, and decreasing your risk of cardiovascular diseases. Abstaining from sex may prevent you from enjoying these benefits and affect your overall well-being.

  • Lack of compatibility with your partner:

If you are in a relationship and abstain from sex, you may face some challenges with your partner. Your partner may have different sexual needs or desires than you and may feel unhappy or unsatisfied with the lack of sex. This may lead to conflicts, resentment, or infidelity in your relationship.

Bottom Line

Abstinence can have both positive and negative effects on your sex life. It can be a personal choice that reflects your values, beliefs, or preferences. It can also be a temporary situation that depends on your circumstances or goals. Whether abstinence can improve or worsen your sex life depends on how you view it and how it affects you and your partner.

If you decide to abstain from sex, make sure you communicate clearly with your partner about your reasons and expectations. Respect each other’s feelings and boundaries and find other ways to show love and intimacy. If you decide to have sex, make sure you do it safely and responsibly. Use contraception to prevent pregnancy and condoms to prevent STIs. Talk openly with your partner about what you want and need in bed. Enjoy sex as a natural and healthy part of your life. And, for more such topics, follow


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