In fact, if we talk about humanity as a whole, sex is still definitely needed for procreation. The alternatives – artificial insemination, cloning, etc. – are not yet so widespread and not available to every couple. Another question is whether it is possible to live without sex and remain completely healthy. We will deal with this question.

Despite the lamentations of the older generation about today’s total promiscuity (“but in our youth everything was different…”), young people are not having as much sex as in previous generations. There are various reasons for this – from constant stress in the hectic digital world to voluntary refusal to have sex. There is also the phenomenon of incels (involuntary celibate).

The BBC website has a selection of confessions from people who first had sex relatively late in life, after 30, or who remain virgins at a respectable age. Some admit that they have never even kissed or held the hand of a person of the same or opposite sex.

The authors described feelings of loneliness and obsessive thoughts that something was wrong with them. Almost all of them faced social pressure, including advice from friends to “finally do it.” Probably, it is the attitude of other people towards sex-the belief that everyone should have it that is more traumatizing than the absence of sexual intercourse. 

By the way, one of the characters in the story had never had any sexual intercourse when he was almost 60. And, as we can see, he survived. However, he admitted that he often felt deeply unhappy, especially in his younger years.

Why do some people not want to have sex?

There are 1 to 3% of people in the world who do not experience sexual desire (asexuals). They should not be confused with antisexuals – those who have a need for sex but for some reason refuse to have it. Asexuals can masturbate, have long-term relationships, and have sex from time to time, but they do not feel a great need for sexual intercourse. Asexual people are quite healthy and this is different from those who do not want sex due to hormonal disorders, psychological trauma, etc.

In addition, there are gay couples who rarely make love because one of the partners does not like anal contact. Or lesbians who don’t use dildos and therefore don’t practice penetration. 

In long-term relationships, the frequency of sex usually decreases over the years. Physical attraction becomes weaker, and sexual intercourse fades into the background. People begin to value other important things more: hugs, mutual respect, and just cozy evenings watching a TV show together.

But there is a possibility that the lack of desire for sex with a partner is a signal of serious problems in the relationship. If a couple is constantly fighting, hardly ever spending time together, and both are sexually attracted to anyone other than their roommate, this is it.

Is there sex in old age?

Lovely retired men and women have sex too. Yes, it’s quite possible that your grandparents do too. And it’s normal.

For some reason, we used to think that after 40-50 years, a couple forgets about sex altogether. But this is not true. For example, half of British men and a third of British women over 70 continue to have sex. Similar data is available for sexual intercourse among older Americans. 

In fact, the biggest problem with sexual intercourse among older people is society’s attitude to it. In our minds, after retirement people do anything – growing flowers, sewing, cooking, modeling airplanes, raising grandchildren – but not sex. Such stereotypes also influence mass culture: try to think of five recent films that show sex between newlyweds, and then five contemporary films that show sex between pensioners. The latter is likely to be more difficult.

Is abstinence harmful?

We’ve all read articles that talk about the miraculous power of sex, the full range of vitamins and minerals in semen, and the vital need to make love every day to stay perfectly healthy. Such materials are full of exaggerations: it is still better to eat vegetables and fruits instead of sperm, and sexual intercourse is beneficial, but not a panacea. At the very least, having sex to get rid of a runny nose, indigestion, and depression is not the most effective way: it is more effective to see a doctor.

Sex can improve relationships, especially in couples where both people feel free to talk about frank things and discuss their desires. During orgasm, both women and men experience an increase in the level of the hormone oxytocin, which forms attachment to a partner. Having sex can make women feel better during menstruation by reducing abdominal pain and headaches. After a woman’s menopause, sex often improves in couples, as the fear of unplanned pregnancy and fear of sexual intercourse disappear, respectively.

Sex also has a positive effect on memory and reduces the risk of prostate cancer. 

Finally – is it possible to live without sex?

People don’t die without sex (although in the Middle Ages, society was convinced that men died without sex). But you shouldn’t ignore your desires and, like our editor, suddenly give up sex for two years. Your own feelings are what you should listen to first. How often you feel the need for sex and who you’re attracted to should be decisive.

You may want to have sex three times a day, or you may be satisfied with once every few months. Maybe masturbation is enough for you. Maybe you are one of the 1-3% of asexuals. And all of this is normal. Public opinions and ideas about sex are often wrong, so you don’t always need to listen to them. Moreover, you should not adjust your life to someone else’s beliefs. 

But we shouldn’t forget about the existence of sexual disorders, including nymphomania (a woman’s constant desire to make love to different partners) and satyriasis (the analog of nymphomania in men). If you suffer from a lack of sex (in or out of relationships), think about it too often, and it interferes with your work and normal life, consult a sexologist. Don’t hesitate to tell him everything – he is a doctor and should know the problem in detail to help you solve it. You can (and should) also tell the specialist about sex-related traumas and related fears/complexes.

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