Can Lack of Sex Cause Weight Gain?

There are many reasons your sex life can come to a screeching halt. But, if you maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly, you can keep weight issues at bay.

A common belief that frequent sex makes you gain weight is not true. Research has proven that there is no direct link between sexual indulgence and body growth.

Hormones

A hormone is a chemical in the body that sends messages to cells. For example, one hormone might tell your heart to beat faster and another might help ferry sugar into cells where it can be used for energy. Hormones also regulate your metabolism. If you gain weight, your hormones might be out of balance.

If you go long periods without sex, your sex hormone levels decrease over time. This can cause you to eat more and put on extra pounds. The good news is that you can restore your sex hormones by eating a healthy diet and getting enough sleep.

Many people believe that having sex causes them to gain weight, but this is a myth. Having sex actually aids in the burning of calories. This is because sex releases oxytocin the love hormone and it suppresses appetite, which helps you to eat less.

However, you should not overdo sex. Too much sex can increase your estrogen levels which can cause bloating, headache, and mood swings. Excessive weight can also interfere with sexual performance because it can affect your blood circulation and increase the risk of cardiovascular health conditions. Medications like antihypertensives and antidepressants can also interfere with your sexual function by inhibiting the release of certain hormones. So if you are experiencing any of these issues, visit your doctor.

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Endorphins

Have you ever felt a rush after a workout or completed a task? That feeling is your body releasing endorphins. They are pain-relieving hormones that also create feelings of euphoria and pleasure. They do this by binding to opioid receptors in the brain. This is the same process that medications like codeine, oxycodone, and morphine work in.

The pituitary gland is where most of these feel-good hormones are made. It is a pea-sized protrusion at the base of the brain and it controls many of our emotional and physical responses, including hunger and sexual bliss. The hypothalamus sends signals to the pituitary to start producing the feel-good chemicals by manipulating a large protein called proopiomelanocortin, or POMC. Enzymes then cut the POMC into several different kinds of peptides, such as beta-endorphins and met-enkephalin.

While the pain-relieving effects of endorphins are well-known, researchers have found that they can help with other symptoms as well. For example, low levels of endorphins have been linked to depression. A study with mice found that a boost in endorphins could help combat the symptoms of anxiety.

The best way to get a natural endorphin boost is through exercise, sex, and other pleasurable activities. However, you can also increase your endorphins by enjoying a good laugh with friends or spending quality time with loved ones. Even eating spicy foods can trigger the release of these hormones.

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Stress

There are many reasons why sex might not happen as frequently as it once did: moving, having kids, career changes, even everyday stressors like bills and chores can take the spark out of intimacy. But going long periods of time without sex can be a bad thing for your mental, emotional, and physical health.

For one, you’ll have a harder time sleeping. During sex, hormones are released that help you calm down, such as oxytocin and prolactin. And then there’s dopamine, the feel-good chemical. But when sex doesn’t occur, the adrenal glands produce cortisol, which can cause you to feel anxious and hungry. That can lead to overeating and ultimately weight gain.

In addition to that, sex also helps you burn calories. A good romp in the bedroom can burn 250 calories or more. That’s why some people who don’t have sex might gain weight, despite eating a healthy diet and getting enough exercise.

Plus, if you’re used to sexual intimacy, going without it might make you feel lonely, and that can lead to other problems. Not only can it lead to skin hunger and touch starvation, which can weaken your immune system, but it can also affect your self-esteem and make you more vulnerable to depression. All of that can eventually impact your relationship, too. And who wants that?

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Sleep

The lack of a good night’s sleep is not only inconvenient and depressing, it also affects your hormones in ways that can contribute to weight gain. Getting less than seven hours of sleep a night can throw off the balance of hormones that regulate hunger and satiety, including ghrelin (which sends hunger signals) and leptin (which tells you when you’re full). This imbalance can lead to increased feelings of hunger, which in turn tends to lead to overeating and weight gain.

In addition, sleep deprivation dulls activity in the frontal lobe of the brain, which governs decision-making and impulse control. This can lead to poor food choices and a tendency to overeat, especially high-fat, high-carb comfort foods.

Sex can help the body restore balance to these hormones and neurotransmitters, but if you don’t have sex regularly, you may be missing out on the emotional and physical benefits of this relationship booster. The good news is that making time for sex, even once or twice a week, can help you feel healthier and happier in many ways — including improved sleep.

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