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    Sexless in The City

    In a world of couples, being without a sex partner can be disheartening. You may be an involuntary celibate. But don't give up hope.

    Happy and Healthy Without a Sex Life continued...

    Certainly, a healthy sexual relationship can have some important mental and physical benefits. Studies show that when you connect with another person on a physically intimate level, and particularly when you reach orgasm, you generate a cascade of biochemical reactions that can not only give you a natural high, it may yield some lasting health benefits, boosting your immune system and even helping you cope with pain.

    But Sugrue reminds us that at least some of these same biochemical advantages can be had through masturbation, and it's possible to garner at least some feelings of gratification and self-fulfillment from other types of relationships and activities in your life.

    "Being celibate, whether voluntary or involuntary, does not preclude you from living a happy, creative, or fulfilled life," says Sugrue.

    More importantly, all three experts agree that if being in a sexual relationship is something you truly want, it can be well within your reach.

    "There is almost no celibacy problem that can't be effectively dealt with and improved upon -- no one has to suffer alone, about being alone -- because there are ways to deal with whatever problem is standing between you and what you want in life," says Luloff.

    If you find yourself among those who are sexless in the city -- or anywhere else -- our experts suggest finding a therapist that makes you feel comfortable talking about sex, even if he or she is not a sex therapist.

    Says Bartlik: "What's really important is having someone who can help you explore your feelings and discover what's missing in your life -- even if, after all is said and done, you find out that all you really needed to do was learn how to flirt!"

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