Should i have sex when I feel lonely? 

The direct answer to this particular question you might be asking yourself is no.There is a difference between meeting your sexual needs and using sex to fill a void that often causes feelings of loneliness.

In this guide we are going to take a deeper look at understanding the cause of your loneliness and how it relates to your desire to have sex- be it with strangers or your present partner(s). 

We will also take a look at how you can cope with your feelings of loneliness in a healthier and more compassionate way.

Sex and Loneliness

As of the recent years there has been enormous encouragement to celebrate sexual liberation irrespective of gender. Women and men today are encouraged to explore their sexuality and get comfortable with their bodies and themselves. 

In fact research finds that sexual exploration and sex itself comes with benifits that can positively impact one’s mental health, self image, and also physical health.

This movement, though a progressive step in the direction of shunning patriarchal notions that has left people bound and dissatisfied, comes with the problem of people over-using sexual freedom to mask unresolved issues related to intimacy.

As human beings, social beings that we are have various needs- while sex itself is a primary biological need that must be met at some point in our lives another higher more complex need related to human connection is the need to belong and love- the need for intimacy.

This need for intimacy develops when we are very young and according to psychology theorists such as Erikson, he believes that this need must be met during our young adult years.

However, most people will find that they are struggle with this particular issue of intimacy in their relationships. Yes, they might be in long stable relationships with a healthy amount of sex however they might find themsleves lonely.

What is loneliness?

Sarah Williams defines it as,

Loneliness is characterized by constant and unrelenting feelings of being alone, separated or divided from others, and an inability to connect on a deeper level and left with the returning question: ‘ why am I so lonely?’

She goes on to say that while most people seem well adjusted in their jobs, their friendships, and their family life- many struggle with this sense of lonesomeness.

The feeling that they are alone irrespective of having people around them, they feel misunderstood and is often struggling with deep rooted feelings of inadequacy, lack of sense of self, or even self loathing. ‘

Why do we feel lonely?

Erikson in his theory highlights the fact that if a person does not meet the multiple milestones in his life- namely, developing a sense of competence and identity- they will find that achieving intimacy will be difficult. 

Often times sense of incompetence can led us to withdraw from others and hide our true selves for others, leaving us to feel as if no one truly knows us. It also stops us from being real, or presenting our flaws and vulnerabilities for the fear of rejection. 

It is this inability to accept ourselves as who we are, continuously trying to portray an image of ourselves into the world, that leads us to have a fractured sense of self. 

We are left confused as to the question of who am i? And this can lead us to become more frustrated with ourselves and project it onto the world. 

When we develop a sense of dissatisfaction and even hatred of ourselves we can become withdrawn and shun true intimacy which can leave us dissatisfied with our relationships and our lives. 

Sex and intimacy

There may be my events in your life that may have led you to this point- where you have been struggling with the idea and need for intimacy. When we talk about intimacy, we cannot remove it from physical intimacy- this includes sex amongst other things.

Sex is an immensly personal experiece of giving yourself and inviting someone else into your body and your space. It is in other words, intimate and can almost satiate your need for intimacy. 

Sex, during the act of, can feel great. It satisfies your need to feel less alone because you are sharing something with another person. So you feel more connected, more wanted, even cared for perhaps. 

However, you have to understand that sex or physical intimacy does not mean that you have attained true intimacy. 

Which is why even after sharing your bed with someone else- be it your partner or be it a stranger- you feel empty after a point of time, leading you to seek more of it and less of true introspection as to why you tend to seek other people to gratify this certain need. 

So is having casual sex dangerous? No. 

If you are being careful, practicing safe sex- it is infact healthy. Sex for the sake of sex- meeting your sexual needs- is a very different thing than sex in search of intimacy.
If you have a casual sexual expereince or if you enjoy casual sex, be honest with yourself as to what it is.

You need to be mindful of your emotions and your thoughts if you are someone who likes enaging in casual sex. Being mindful of your expectations and protecting yourself from disappointment is a responsible way to go about it. 

But replacing sex for intimacy is a dangerous thing to do and can have a huge impact on your mental wellbeing. 

Sex is not a cure for loneliness

Dealing with loneliness can be uncomfortable and painful. We struggle with self doubt, and even being to entertain thoughts of blame, failure, and that which curse us to this lonely life forever. 

It is when we are at this vulnerable point in our lives, it is easy to be drawn to any sort of interest someone might show us, Be it sexual or otherwise. Sex itself can present to us a form of connection but what we might not realize at that point is that connection is more than sex. 

Sex itself does not cure us of our loneliness or give us the sort ofintimacy we desire. While sex is a shared expereince, it can leave us hollow if our emotional need to be loved and to belong is not met. 

This means to find ourselves cared for, loved unconditionally, understood, and supported. Intimacy can even be as simple as sharing a meal together as you talk about your day knowing that you and your needs and wants are safe in this relationship. 

And as much as we want it to, no amount of sex will give you this sort of unconditonal regard as would an intimate relationship would. When it comes to relationships, we are not just talking about romantic ones but even our platonic friendships and family relationships. 

Coping with loneliness

Here are some things you can do that involves focusing on yourself to cope with your struggle with intimacy. 

  • Start with acceptance. Accepting that you are lonely and struggling with intimacy can be a good place to start. Acceptance leaves you with room to consider solutions. 
  • Engage in your life. Do things you enjoy, meet people you care about. It is high time for you to live life mindfully. Engaging with your relationships means being honest with what the relationship means to you and what it does not.

This also means cutting off some people who are unhealthy for you and inviting people who support and love you unconditionally closer to who you truely are. 

  • Set goals and work on achieving them. Setting realistic and achievable goals based on what you truly want and desire from life can help you grow in ways that are beyond the need for sex, rather it will leave you on the path to getting to know yourself better.
  • Talk to someone. Be it your friend or your family, build up the courage to talk to them about who you truly are and what it is that you are finding challenging. 

Talking about your wants and needs should not bring shame, rather it takes courage to admit our wants to ourselves and others. 

If you find it difficult to talk to someone you know, reach out to a therapist, counsellor, or a professional to help you get to know yourself better and work out your needs for intimacy.

Frequently asked questions related to “Should I have sex when I feel lonely?”

Should you have sex when you are sad?

Sex is one way to reduce stress as it has been found that sex releases neurochemicles related to the feelings of happiness and help you feel more connected. However you have to remember that it could be a momentary feeling and that this positive feelings might not last. 

There is no harm in having sex if you practice safe sex, it is not advisable to have sex to relieve yourself of unresolved emotions. 

Instead engage in other activities that bring you true joy or talk to a friend about your struggles.


What should a person do when he feels lonely?

here are some things you can actually do to feel a little less lonely:

  • Accept that you are lonely.
  • Pick up the phone and call a trusted friend 
  • Do activities that you enjoy even if you have to do it by yourself
  • Get comfortable with being alone
  • Seek out group activities 
  • Talk to a therapist
  • Understand that it is a shared and common experience
  • Get a pet if you live alone and you like animals
  • Seek out activities that put you in social situations

Can you be sad from lack of sex?

It’s possible for a low libido or lesser sexual experiences to trigger feelings of sadness. Often times it is societal pressure that makes us negatively evaluate ourselves in case we have had less sexual encounters.

It is not the lack of sex but rather the way we evaluate oursleves because of it that may make us sad. For example, we might feel that we are less desirable which impacts our self esteem and self image which can leave us feeling sad.

Why do I feel lonely in my relationships?

Common reasons why you could be feeling lonely in your relationship are:

Lack of communication

Your needs and wants are not being met by your partner

Lack of physical intimacy

Having different interest

Increased reliance on other distractions such as social media

Not enough “us” time

Not engaging with each others interests

All of these reasons can be worked on and deal with together as a team. However, working on these issues will require clear and effective communication and understanding that the problem is not each other but the problem is separate from yourselves.

Is it normal to feel lonely when single?

Yes, it is very normal to feel lonely when you are single especially when you see the people around you (social media included) being in love and cared for in their relationships. 

Loneliness arises due to our innate need to feel connected and intimate with others- not just romantic intimacy but in general.