Smoking, not sleeping enough, and three other habits that harm your sexual performance
A study, published in Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology in 2020, indicates that an unhealthy lifestyle does contribute to the development of sexual disorders and dysfunctions in the long run
When your sexual health is in good order, it’s likely that your overall health and self-esteem are too and vice versa. Everyday habits too leave a mark on your sexual health. A number of lifestyle habits pose as high risk factors for sexual health issues and can hinder sexual performance.
A study, published in Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology in 2020, indicates that an unhealthy lifestyle does contribute to the development of sexual disorders and dysfunctions in the long run.
The good bit is that identifying these unhealthy habits and quitting them can stop you from harming your sexual performance in the long run. The following are the key lifestyle habits that could be negatively affecting your sexual performance:
1. Weight gain
Obesity and excess weight gain is one of the biggest risk factors for low libido and inability to perform sexually. A 2019 study in Current Sexual Health Reports says that weight has a negative impact on sexual function because it affects the hormonal, metabolic and psychological parameters based on which the body functions. Alternatively, losing weight improves hormone function, eases mobility and improves body image in both men and women. So, a lifestyle which is full of obesogenic behaviours like not eating a balanced diet, not exercising enough, etc, is quite likely to negatively impact your sexual performance.
The link between smoking and male erectile dysfunction is well established, as the 2020 study mentioned above underlines. Chronic smoking leads to decreased dilation of vascular endothelial tissues and diminishes genital stimulation in men. While the connection between smoking and female sexual performance is not as well-established, the fact is that nicotine consumption has a negative impact on sex hormones and clitoral blood flow. Which goes to say that, lighting that cigarette is not good for your sexual health no matter what your gender.
3. Alcohol consumption
As the 2020 study points out, low-dose alcohol consumption produces a sense of euphoria, which leads some people to be more uninhibited about sexual activity — and this is the reason why a lot of people assume that drinking doesn’t really negatively affect sexual performance. But, as per research, high doses of alcohol consumption slows down brain function, breathing and blood flow. This, in turn, is highly likely to lead to erectile dysfunction in men and reduced vaginal lubrication in women.
Small chronic stressors like getting new work deadlines or working towards more incentives are actually good for your health because they motivate and improve performance in all fields of life. However, when these stressors build up, turn huge and distressing, and you’re unable to cope with their fallouts, it creates chronic stress. Chronic stress induces high cortisol levels, and lowers gonadic steroid and adrenal androgen levels. It also alters your emotional and cognitive states. All of this combines to hinder sexual performance, which also becomes a new stressor to deal with. So, keep chronic stress at bay because it’s a vicious cycle once begun.
5. Not sleeping enough
A study in the World Journal of Men's Health in 2019 indicates that insufficient sleep, disrupted sleep and sleep disorders have an immense negative impact on sexual function. The study says that chronic sleep restriction — a byproduct of lifestyle choices to spend more time working and indulging in other activities while compromising on hours of sleep — not only increases cortisol levels in the body but also leads to metabolic syndrome, obesity, chronic stress, depression, hypertension and heart disease. All of these issues, as already shown, compromise sexual function.
For more information, read our article on Increasing sexual stamina and performance.
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