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Sexual Fasting: Can It Improve Your Sexual Health?

Vicky Davis

Reviewed by Vicky Davis, FNP

Written by Rachel Sacks

Published 06/03/2023

Wondering about sexual fasting and whether it can improve your sex life? Here’s everything you need to know.

When you think of fasting, you might immediately think of not eating for a period, sometimes referred to as intermittent fasting. Or maybe you imagine sustaining from alcohol, such as during “Dry January.”

The latest trend in fasting is a sexual fast — as in abstinence from sex. Some claim fasting from sex can result in an increased sex drive, lasting longer in bed and overall improved sexual health.

But is there any truth to these claims? Does fasting help you sexually?

We’ll explore whether there are any benefits to sexual fasting, such as increased sexual desire, reduced sexual dysfunction or improved sexual relations.

First off, what is sexual fasting? The trend has been around for a while, as certain religions may encourage sexual abstinence — although, in these cases, it’s often referred to as celibacy.

Sex fasting has become even more popular in the last few years, thanks to celebrities like Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker, Ciara and Russel Wilson and more talking about the benefits of a sex fast.

Sexual fasting is essentially abstinence from sex for a period of time. A sexual fast can be done either solo or with your partner — just be sure to talk with your partner about your intentions and expectations so you’re both on the same page!

The exact definition of sexual fasting can vary from person to person, as abstinence from sex can mean different things.

For some, sexual abstinence means not engaging in sexual intercourse with anyone, while others may define it as refraining from certain sexual activities.

People may try a sex fast or practice sexual abstinence for various reasons, such as:

  • Waiting until they feel ready for a sexual relationship

  • Wanting to find the right partner

  • Enjoying their partner’s company without having to deal with a sexual relationship

  • Focusing on school, work or hobbies

  • Getting over a breakup

But are there health benefits of sex fasting? Could sexual abstinence increase sexual desire or improve sexual function by treating conditions like erectile dysfunction (ED) or premature ejaculation? Keep reading for answers.

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Could taking a break from sex end up helping you in bed? Maybe.

There’s no scientific evidence to support claims made about sexual fasting. But anecdotally, people report feeling more energized and having a better sex life after a period of sexual abstinence.

There’s no correct amount of sex to have. And while many physical claims about fasting from sex may simply be anecdotal, some may find they experience other benefits for their relationships after a sex fast.

A sexual fast may be a necessary break for certain people, while others might use sexual abstinence to grow an emotional connection. And some may use a sex fast to build anticipation around sex and make sexual activities fun again.

There could very well be emotional benefits of sex fasting. Refraining from sexual intercourse may result in you and your partner getting to know and understand each other on a more intimate level beyond a physical connection.

Choose your chew

Sex fasting may not be the solution to sexual dysfunction, like premature ejaculation or ED, or vastly improve your sex life. But there are other methods to try if you’re dealing with any sexual concerns.

Erectile dysfunction is incredibly common. It’s characterized by a man’s inability to get and maintain an erection firm enough to have penetrative sex.

Meanwhile, premature ejaculation is another common male sexual function issue. This occurs when you reach orgasm and ejaculate early during sexual encounters.

Though both issues are experienced by many men, there are several proven treatment options.

To treat erectile dysfunction, your healthcare provider will look at your symptoms and the potential cause of your erectile dysfunction. Depending on the cause, they may prescribe ED medication, suggest therapy or recommend a combination of treatments.

The most common medications for erectile dysfunction are phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors that keep you hard by keeping the blood vessels in your penis dilated and your corpora cavernosa engorged.

Medications like sildenafil (Viagra®), tadalafil (Cialis®) or vardenafil (Levitra®) are all examples of PDE5 inhibitors that help increase natural erectile blood flow.

Certain lifestyle changes may help improve your erections, such as quitting smoking, eating a balanced diet, exercising and limiting alcohol consumption.

There are currently no FDA-approved medications specifically for the treatment of premature ejaculation. However, it’s often treated off-label with a class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

Sertraline, the active ingredient in Zoloft®, is one of the most widely used SSRIs for premature ejaculation. Sertraline as a treatment for premature ejaculation is available online if a licensed healthcare provider determines a prescription is appropriate.

Additionally, premature ejaculation is treatable using topical creams and sprays that alter the sensitivity level of your penis.

Sex therapy or counseling might also be recommended if mental health concerns are the cause of your ED or premature ejaculation.

And if you want to increase your libido or sex drive, you should take a look at any underlying issues in your health or relationship. Low sex drive can be caused by several issues, from out-of-whack hormone levels to external factors like stress.

Fortunately, there are many ways to increase your sex drive, including checking your testosterone levels, reducing stress and working on your relationship, to name a few.

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The latest sex trend of sexual fasting is becoming increasingly popular. Thanks largely in part to celebrities and non-celebrities alike claiming several sexual benefits — from increased sexual desire and improved sexual function to overall better sexual activity — taking a break from sex has been said to have some serious perks.

But does fasting actually help you sexually? While sexual fasting has become more popular recently, there isn’t any hard evidence to support the claims of its sexual benefits.

There are other benefits to sexual abstinence, however, such as the possibility of improved relationships, better communication and stronger connections. Not to mention no risk of pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases, depending on what sexual activities you choose to abstain from.

If you’re considering sexual fasting, it’s important to talk with your partner about your intentions and expectations to ensure you’re on the same page. Additionally, be mindful of your own body and sexual desires.

8 Sources

  1. Celibacy | Britannica. (2023, March 7). Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/topic/celibacy
  2. What is the Definition of Abstinence & Outercourse? (n.d.). Planned Parenthood. Retrieved from https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/abstinence-and-outercourse
  3. Definition & Facts for Erectile Dysfunction - NIDDK. (n.d.). National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Retrieved from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/erectile-dysfunction/definition-facts
  4. McMahon C. G. (2007). Premature ejaculation. Indian journal of urology : IJU : journal of the Urological Society of India, 23(2), 97–108. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2721550/
  5. Yafi, F. A., Jenkins, L., Albersen, M., Corona, G., Isidori, A. M., Goldfarb, S., Maggi, M., Nelson, C. J., Parish, S., Salonia, A., Tan, R., Mulhall, J. P., & G. Hellstrom, W. J. (2015). Erectile dysfunction. Nature reviews. Disease primers, 2, 16003. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5027992/
  6. Preventing Erectile Dysfunction - NIDDK. (n.d.). National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Retrieved from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/erectile-dysfunction/prevention
  7. Crowdis, M., Leslie, S. W., & Nazir, S. (2023, February 7). Premature Ejaculation - StatPearls. NCBI. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK546701/
  8. Decreased Libido. (n.d.). UCSF Department of Urology. Retrieved from https://urology.ucsf.edu/patient-care/adult-non-cancer/male-sexual-and-reproductive-health/decreased-libido
Editorial Standards

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references. See a mistake? Let us know at [email protected]!

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.

Vicky Davis, FNP

Dr. Vicky Davis is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner with over 20 years of experience in clinical practice, leadership and education. 

Dr. Davis' expertise include direct patient care and many years working in clinical research to bring evidence-based care to patients and their families. 

She is a Florida native who obtained her master’s degree from the University of Florida and completed her Doctor of Nursing Practice in 2020 from Chamberlain College of Nursing

She is also an active member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

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