No one likes to think that their sexual performance might not be up to snuff, but for many smokers, it’s a difficult but undeniable fact that their cigarette habit may indeed be having a negative impact on their sex lives. The body is an amazing system of interconnected and interdependent organs, so in all fairness, it shouldn’t really surprise us that harming one part of the body may have consequences throughout the rest of the body.
Put simply, one of the main health effects of long-term smoking is that it restricts blood flow, reducing the amount of oxygen that is pumped through the body. This reduced blood flow has serious consequences when it comes to sexual performance, so anyone who is looking for a strong and healthy sex life needs to be aware of the potential harm that they could be doing to themselves in this respect. Whether you’re dating casually or you’re in a more committed relationship, it pays to understand the impact of your habit and seek out an alternative to cigarettes and their poisonous ingredients.
Smoking regularly can, for example, have a serious impact on female fertility. The harmful chemicals that are found in cigarette smoke can enter the bloodstream and damage the lining of the fallopian tubes, making it much more difficult to conceive successfully. Evidence suggests that female smokers have a higher chance of developing problems in the cervix, the uterus wall and even the eggs themselves. The inescapable fact is that smoking can have serious health consequences throughout the body.
Turning back to actually having sex, women can suffer similar problems with restricted blood flow as men do. Insufficient blood flow may mean a man is unable to achieve an erection, and similarly in women, reduced blood flow may mean that the clitoris loses sensitivity and responsiveness. In extreme cases, the chemicals found in cigarettes can even cause inflammation in the genital area, potentially leading to a permanent loss of sensitivity. Whether you’re looking for a new partner, or you’re happily in a relationship, filling your body with harmful chemicals is likely to lead to reduced sexual appetite and performance.
Recent studies from the University of Kentucky have shown a direct link between regular smoking and higher levels of impotency and intermittent problems with sexual performance. Specifically, the studies indicated that men who smoked at least 20 cigarettes per day were 60% more likely to be affected by erectile dysfunction than non-smoking men. With smoking causing reduced oxygen levels throughout the body, the result can be insufficient blood flow to produce or sustain an erection.
Elsewhere, further studies have shown that smoking cigarettes can have other negative impacts on sexual performance. When cigarette smoke is inhaled, carbon monoxide is taken into the bloodstream, where it fixes onto the haemoglobin in the blood. This further reduces the oxygen flow in the bloodstream, making men feel tired and lethargic, and therefore less able to become aroused or interested in sex. As well as identifying the problem of lowered libido, the studies also suggested that men who smoked were generally less physically fit than non-smokers, as has been demonstrated in industries where physical fitness is required, such as the Army. Obviously, sex is an energetic activity which requires a certain level of cardio fitness, so if smoking causes personal fitness levels to drop, it could have a very real impact on a man’s ability to perform sexually. Heavy breathing is natural during sex, but it shouldn’t be because your lungs are damaged by smoking cigarettes!
If these possible health issues don’t hit home with smokers, it might be worth considering another side to the issue: smoking can actually make you less attractive to the opposite sex. Cigarette smoking can cause sallow-looking skin, discoloured teeth and dry, damaged hair. For many people, the smell of cigarette smoke on someone’s clothes and skin is also a big no-no, so kicking the habit could actually help attract a new partner, or bring back the spark to an existing relationship.
To sum up
We all want to enjoy the best possible sex life, for ourselves and our partners, whether we have just met or we’ve been together for years. The hard truth is that to stay on top form sexually, we really need to stop smoking. Understanding the potentially damaging effects that smoking can have isn’t rocket science. A body filled with toxic chemicals cannot perform optimally, and there’s a very real danger that long-term smoking could have permanent effects on sexual performance for both men and women, causing irreversible loss of sensation and possible impotency and infertility.
Of course, the impact that smoking has on sexual performance is just one of many reasons to quit. Smokers are also at risk of serious disease, such as lung cancer, heart disease, COPD, and strokes. With so many risks attached, it makes sense to quit. As sex plays such an important role in most people’s lives, the stakes are surely far too high to risk everything for the sake of a cigarette.