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How many years can a person go without sexual intimacy before it becomes unhealthy?


stella74

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I just realized it's been almost 7 years since I last had sex. Right after my ex-fiance and I ended our engagement, I was very horny and had sex with a friend I dated a few months. Since then, I've dated but have not had sex. I release my sexual tension through masturbation.

 

I guess I'm basically curious how many years someone can go without having sex before it becomes unhealthy. Some people are in marriages without sex. Some people get divorced or become widowed and never have sex with another partner.

 

I don't even really notice it. Partly I think it's because I'm in my mid-40s and nearing menopause, so my sex drive is lower than it used to be. Mostly, though, it's because I don't want to have casual sex outside of an exclusive relationship. There are definitely men out there that want to have sex with me. But I'm not interested in just sex. Also, I'm afraid of getting pregnant and wouldn't want to take that risk outside of a serious, committed partnership. I've been content on my own and only sometimes miss the physical intimacy. Now, I'm starting to wonder if this is a problem or not.

 

Any thoughts on this?

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I think it's all in your head. I have not been as sexually active as most males have been by my age by now. But I don't obsess over it. If anything, I obsess more over the lack of intimacy in general (kissing, being in bed next to each other having a nice conversation, etc., but yes I do definitely miss the sex, but it doesn't consume me at all).

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Thanks Caldus. I appreciate your perspective. I'm the same as you...if I DO think about what I miss (which isn't often), it's usually the companionship or affection or general intimacy. But I miss sex too, because my ex-fiance and I had a great sex life. I realize that I might never have that again, so I try not to dwell on it.

 

But the reason I started this thread is because I've read some things that have said sex is a fundamental drive and a primal need, just like the need for food and water. That doesn't seem right, though, because we can survive without sex but we can't survive without food or water.

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I'm kind of in the same position as you are, Stella. I've gone on LONG dry stints before -- I'll be in an LTR for 2-4 years then I have as many years of lean. Right now, I'm going for 2.5 years without. But I've been without for even longer than that. (Which if you're doing the math, tells you I haven't been in that many LTR's, ha.)

 

My sex drive fluctuates quite a lot -- from not feeling a desire for anything to thinking I can't stand another day without someone's else's flesh against mine. But as the other poster said, (nice to hear it from a guy!), what I miss the most by FAR is the intimacy of holding and cuddling, kissing (ohhh, I miss kissing so desperately!), caressing, lying on his chest and hearing his heart quietly beat underneath the chatter we're exchanging. Hearing his voice amplified through his ribs and thinking, "God, I love you" as we adjust something and laugh.

 

Which is what sex is about, for me. Actually sex to me (I mean, not the foreplay, but intercourse) is like the culmination of a lot of other things for me...it comes with a lot of trust and desire to see the relationship deepen and grow. I've actually never been able to do it outside of a committed relationship...and have less desire now than ever for that.

 

So as much as I've considered a couple of different men as possible no-strings attached outlets, when I actually picture trying to carry that off, it's about as appealing to me as the idea of food in an eating contest.

 

I'm waiting for the next right one (and may the heavens above make it my last), and I'm almost (almost) sure I'll see that through no matter how long it takes now. The stakes are too high for EXTREME disappointment on the other side of the alternative.

 

And I don't think it's gonna do me any physical damage. I don't believe a person becomes unhealthy if they don't have sex, purpleduckie has a point. Monastics sublimate the need often with success. If you are relieving the tension and mentally it's not causing you great stress, I don't think it's harmful in any way. People choose to be hermits and live to ripe old ages. At least in fairy tales.

 

Just a lot of dust bunnies at this point collecting in there.

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If you dont care about someone its healthier to keep not having sex.

 

 

Well said! I totally agree with this. Sex is turned into such a big deal...like people will die if they don't have it...but how many people have actually died or gotten very ill from not having sex....well, we don't have any actual numbers but I would say it is highly unlikely that someone ever died or got very ill by not having sex for years or even their entire lifetimes. However, as we all know, plenty of people have certainly died, gotten very sick or contracted something nasty because they thought they would die if they didn't have sex and therefore had to go out in search of sex so that they wouldn't die!

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I'd be interested to hear from other people in my situation. Did you get to a point where you felt the lack of sexual intimacy might be unhealthy for you? Or did you simply accept your life the way it was?

 

Since I became sexually active the longest I've gone is maybe a year. But with kissing guys in between..

I don't care so much for the sexual intimacy though I do need emotional with someone (even a friend!).

 

If you're masterbating then I see no problem at all. Even if you weren't I wouldn't see a problem. I think the reason I don't like going too long without kissing or making out at least is b.c I'm not really fond of masterbation. It doesn't do anything for me.

 

For me I felt it was unhealthy b/c I DID begin to obsess just a bit. My thoughts just began diverting to sexual acts. But I think the first months are only the hardest. After a few it becomes normal.

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my great aunt has never had sex, (to my knowledge) and she seems quite content. hmm

 

Do we have the same aunts? Lol.

 

I have one who also hasn't had to my knowledge. Doesn't even date from what us all have observed and probably isn't a lesbian either. She seems healthy.

But since she doesn't even date she's a bit boring and has no good sense of humor. And also nit picks/dwells on small stuff..

 

I definitly think dating and going out and having fun is more important then sex..

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Do we have the same aunts? Lol.

 

I have one who also hasn't had to my knowledge. Doesn't even date from what us all have observed and probably isn't a lesbian either. She seems healthy.

But since she doesn't even date she's a bit boring and has no good sense of humor. And also nit picks/dwells on small stuff..

 

I definitly think dating and going out and having fun is more important then sex..

 

 

I somehow don't think she is boring simply because she doesn't date. She is boring because she is boring. Lots of people don't date and haven't dated in years and are very far from boring.

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Thanks for all the great responses! To be honest, I guess a part of me felt ashamed, but now I see that I was only buying into things people have told me or that I've read. So I will now hold my head high. LOL

 

CAD, I like what you wrote about how no one can die or become ill by not having sex. There's so much pressure put on us to have sex and be in relationships, from the time we're teenagers until we grow old. But searching for sex, just to alleviate that pressure, puts people in risky and unhealthy situations.

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Monastics sublimate the need often with success.

 

Yes, this is very true. It's interesting how people who choose to do without sex for spiritual or religious reasons are accepted by society.

 

So now I'm trying to remember where I got the idea that going without sex is unhealthy for people who don't choose to do so. I can think of a number of things, such as reading that women dry up if they don't have sex or that people who go without sex for a long time are avoiding intimacy. I have family and friends who constantly ask me why I'm not in a relationship. The subtext is that they can't understand how I can go without physical intimacy for so long. One female friend even came right out and asked me how I can stand not having anyone touch me. I told her getting hugged by friends is good enough, but I don't think she believed me because that's not the kind of touch she was referring to.

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Lots of people have sex without intimacy...look at the number of one night stands, FBs, FWBs. The touching and hugging that goes with casual sex has nothing to do with intimacy and feeling loved...however there are lots of people who equate that with feeling loved and needed because of their own emotional issues. True intimacy is not sex...true intimacy comes from how two people connect on an emotional and spiritual level...sex is what seals that emotional bond and is the icing on the cake. You can't buy a solid, loving relationship in a store...it happens when it happens. However some people will force relationships just so that they can have this "human touch" and yet they are not happy. So don't let anyone make you feel inadequate just because you have a period in your life when there is no partner and no sex. These are not the people who are very enlightened and themselves might stay in bad, empty relationships just so that they can have the illusion of love when they have sex.

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Thank you so much CAD. Your post almost made me cry.

 

The type of emotional and spiritual intimacy you mention is what my ex-fiance and I had and that's why our sex life was so good. It wasn't about the sex act, per se. That's why I know that I don't just want to have casual sex.

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So now I'm trying to remember where I got the idea that going without sex is unhealthy for people who don't choose to do so. I can think of a number of things, such as reading that women dry up if they don't have sex or that people who go without sex for a long time are avoiding intimacy. I have family and friends who constantly ask me why I'm not in a relationship. The subtext is that they can't understand how I can go without physical intimacy for so long. One female friend even came right out and asked me how I can stand not having anyone touch me. I told her getting hugged by friends is good enough, but I don't think she believed me because that's not the kind of touch she was referring to.

 

I agree with CAD and am probably just reiterating what she said...I would actually turn the tables a bit and ask if these people are the ones who are less healthy because if they aren't in a sexual relationship, they feel that they're "starving." I mean, if someone is doing alright being alone, why is that more dysfunctional than someone who can't stand to be alone? You're not "avoiding intimacy" if there aren't any eligible fellows to get involved with; avoiding intimacy is when you have the opportunity to have it, but recoil or try to push it away somehow. That's not what's going on here. And I'm pretty sure you can confirm with any ob/gyn that they don't see extra cases of dryness due to abstinence. Besides, if you're masturbating, you're getting the fluids moving enough for it to count in that department, so technically, your machinery is still be "oiled." Haha.

 

Forget what people say. Lots of them are projecting their own fears or misgivings onto you.

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Sex with someone who loves you is icing on the cake as mentioned. Sex as abandonment is not a personally nurturing act. You definitely dont have to feel inadequate because you dont fit many peoples' shallow view of how we should be. Good on you Stella...good posts above too everybody..

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Well said! I totally agree with this. Sex is turned into such a big deal...like people will die if they don't have it.

 

The media and society paint that picture. Sex is jammed down our throats every day, and we're made to feel that we're not "normal" or it's unhealthy to not have it, and if you're single - the quote is "Just get laid!"

 

I'd rather not add to the problems in my life. Good post, CAD.

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