Ok, so maybe you started smoking thinking it looked cool and that it might affect your sex life to look cool, or be grown up or rebellious or whatever.
You are of course totally correct in assuming that smoking affects your sex life. In fact, several recent studies have looked at exactly this question in regard to male impotence and found that there is a link between smoking and difficulties having an erection. Now tell me how cool is that? That is surely far too grown up, that is as grown up as your aged grandfather!
Smoking has been linked to coronary artery blockage, but now we know that arteries in the penis are damaged by smoking, too. In a study of men with penile artery blockage (average age 35), the smokers were significantly more blocked than non-smokers. And the more they smoked, the more their arteries were blocked. Since erections are mainly caused by blood flowing into the penis through arteries, unclogged arteries are very important in enhancing one’s sex life.
Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it tightens blood vessels and restricts blood flow. In the long term, it has even been shown to cause permanent damage to arteries. Since a man’s erection depends on blood flow, researchers assumed smoking would affect erections. Studies have confirmed this time and again. In one study published in 1986 in Addiction Behavior, it was shown that just two cigarettes could cause softer erections in male smokers. Results are corroborated by a definitive study published in June 2001 that looked at all studies done on impotent men over the last two decades. The research showed that 40 percent of men affected by impotence were smokers, as opposed to 28 percent of the general male population. Interesting eh?
So what does all this discussion about impotence mean for women? During sexual arousal, the labia, clitoris, and vagina also swell up with blood, similar to a man’s penis, enhancing sensation and arousal. If nicotine can restrict blood flow and cause erectile dysfunction in men, it can be assumed that blood flow is restricted in women as well, and may have a negative effect on sensation.
In the British Medical Associations report: “Smoking and Reproductive Life”, the report states that Women who smoke take longer to conceive. Among smokers, the chances of conceiving fall by 10 40 per cent per cycle. The greater the quantity of cigarettes smoked, the longer a woman is likely to take to achieve pregnancy.
Cigarette smoking can also affect male fertility: smoking reduces the quality of semen. Men who smoke have a lower sperm count than non-smokers, and their semen contains a higher proportion of malformed sperm. By-products of nicotine present in semen of smokers have been found to reduce the mobility of sperm.
Of course, quitting smoking would also eliminate stained teeth, unhealthy skin, rapid accumulation of wrinkles on the face, and clothing, hair, and breath that stink of smoke. That might improve one’s sex life. Decreasing your risk of cancer and heart disease – which also do tend to have negative effects on one’s sex life – can also be sexy in the long run.
Smokers may have enjoyed a sexy image in the past, but research tells us that they are not “doing it” as often as non-smokers. Studies show that men between 25 and 40 years who smoked one or more packs per day had sex less often than non-smoking men of the same age. Another study suggested that carbon monoxide in the blood caused by smoking inhibits the production of testosterone (a hormone that creates sex drive).
Lastly, smoking affects fertility. Smokers’ sperm come in many sizes and shapes – many of them not normal. Some have two tails or two heads, others have giant or tiny heads, and some have split tails. The more a man smokes, the worse the damage. Nicotine essentially poisons the sperm and its ability to fertilize an egg.
Smoking isn’t good for your lungs or heart as is very well documented, and it certainly isn’t good for your sex life. It is no longer cool. Are you sleeping with an inactive ashtray? Is your libido being smoked away?