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An Unhealthy Lifestyle Is Associated With Sexual Dysfunction

Researcher Morten Frisch

Researcher Morten Frisch

A new study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine reveals that several unhealthy lifestyle factors, such as weight problems, physical inactivity, high alcohol consumption, tobacco smoking, and hard drugs are associated with sexual dysfunctions in men. Additionally, an unhealthy lifestyle is more common in persons who are sexually inactive.

Researchers led by Associate Professor Morten Frisch, MD, PhD, DSc, of Statens Serum Institut, used nationally representative survey data from 5,552 Danish men and women aged 16 – 97 years in 2005 to study the association of lifestyle factors with sexual inactivity and sexual dysfunction.

Results found that a number of unhealthy lifestyle factors are associated with increased risk of not having a partner-related sex life by up to 78% in men and up to 91% in women. Among those who had a sexual partner, risk of experiencing sexual dysfunction was greater in men who lead unhealthy lives by 71% in those with substantially increased waist circumference and more than 800% in men using hard drugs. Women who used hashish had almost 3 times increased risk of anorgasmia (difficulties or inability to reach climax during sexual activity with a partner) compared to non-users.

“Hopefully our findings can be used in future counseling of patients with unhealthy lifestyles,” Frisch concludes. “Knowing about possible negative consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle to one’s sexual health may help people quit smoking, consume less alcohol, exercise more, and lose weight.”

“There are many reasons for sexual dysfunction, including those over which you have no control, such as after cancer treatments, or following injuries,” explained Irwin Goldstein, Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Sexual Medicine, “but lifestyle and recreational drug use are individual choices. Each person can modify lifestyle, especially diet and exercise and stop using recreational drugs that inhibit the sexual reflex, to be healthier thereby facilitating sexual function.”

Material adapted from Wiley-Blackwell .

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