There are two lifestyle habits that can negatively affect your sexual performance over time – drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and smoking cigarettes. If you never gave doing these habits much consideration before, you may want to now.
Smoking & Blood Flow
Getting and maintaining a hard erection relies on strong blood flow to the penis. The negative side effects caused by smoking cigarettes are endless. Several studies directly link smoking with erectile dysfunction that happens because:
- The chemical nicotine narrows blood vessels (vasoconstrictor) and restricts your circulation.
- Smoking cigarettes can even damage your arteries permanently over time.
- When the blood flow is much weaker, you guessed it, your erection is softer or doesn’t happen at all. Although smoking is not the only cause of erectile dysfunction, it’s one habit that you should definitely kick!
Smoking Saps Your Male Stamina
Sex is really just a pleasurable form of intense cardio. Unfortunately, your sexual stamina is also being affected by smoking. Are you noticing you’re getting more and more out of breath or felt like you were going to pass out after having sex? Aside from decreasing your blood flow, smoking cigarettes also decreases your energy levels due to a lack of oxygen in your bloodstream and muscles. Every time you smoke, your lungs get saturated with toxins and carbon monoxide which saps your energy. You get more lethargic as time passes, and sex just doesn’t feel the same. As you get older, this problem only gets worse. This may well be the turning point for you finally tossing out your lighter.
To paraphrase urologist Richard Milsten, MD, a man’s ability or inability to perform influences his sexual behavior. Dr. Milsten also points out that smoking interferes with erectile functioning because it damages the smooth muscle inside the penis. This is why smoking can become the enemy of intimacy within a relationship. Instead of arguing about why a problem exists, focus on weeding out smoking to improve your overall quality of life.
According to the professor of the reproductive physiology and andrology at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, smoking has a direct negative affect on a man’s sexuality on every level. If potentially getting cancer is not enough reason to quit smoking, becoming impotent might be the greatest incentive yet. Instead of beating yourself up because you can’t get an erection, recognize cigarettes as the potential culprit of a strained sexual relationship.
Cutting Out Cigarettes
Whether you smoke more or less than half a pack a day, quitting smoking is typically very challenging. If you think smoking is cramping your sexual performance, make an appointment with a health care provider. Also, speak with a tobacco cessation specialist to receive helpful suggestions about quitting.
Drinking alcohol in moderation can be a great way to unwind at the end of the day. Drinking too much alcohol can lead to sexual problems. If you drink large amounts of alcohol, you could very well increase your inability to keep or sustain erections or experience delayed ejaculation.
The central nervous systems (CNS) is responsible for proper sexual function. It also affects level of arousal, including reaching orgasm. Alcohol works as a depressant to the central nervous system. When you drink a lot of alcohol, blood flow to the penis is slowed down and can eventually damage blood vessels to your penis. As a result, getting erections may become increasingly difficult.
Delayed or No Ejaculation
Another problem that comes from heavy drinking is delayed ejaculation or no ejaculation at all. If it takes 30 minutes or longer for you to ejaculate, this may be a sign that your penis’s blood vessels have already been damaged. Drinking too much booze can also cause testosterone levels (hypogonadism) to drop. A low production of testosterone level can affect your sex drive and lead to erectile dysfunction and even permanent impotence.
How Heavy Drinking Affects Fertility
It’s important to maintain a healthy libido, if you and your mate are thinking of starting a family. The biggest cause of infertility in men is abnormal sperm or a low sperm count. Although sperm can be adversely affected by heavy drinking, it can be reversed once you cut back on your alcohol intake. It is recommended that you drink no more than three to four units of alcohol per day. Drinking within these guidelines is less likely to affect your sperm.
Lifestyle habits such as smoking and heavy drinking can both negatively affect the level of your libido. Quitting smoking and reducing your alcohol intake could greatly improve your sex drive and restore sexual function. Restoring your sexual relationship back to the level it was before takes more than just fixing a symptom, however. It may feel awkward talking to your mate about changes to your libido. But communication between the two of you is essential to receive the support you need.
Social Attitudes Toward Bad Habits
There are many misconceptions in society about sex drive and what can boost a man’s virility. Many people mistakenly believe that alcohol is an aphrodisiac. They comment they feel more sexual, more eager to have sex when under the influence. Although alcohol can increase sexual desire it can squelch sexual performance. As a man, being able to perform plays a significant role in your level of intimacy. However, over time too much alcohol can actually weaken your sex drive.
“But all my friends smoke and drink”, you might say. It can be tough changing your lifestyle when you’ve been doing the same for so long. You smoke and drink socially, and might feel left out of your group if you stop doing it. There’s a lot of pressure to be apart of the crowd, especially when ads depict drinking and smoking as fun activities people do to relax and socialize. But who would you rather please, your friends or your significant other?
According to a study (Shiffman and Balabanis) conducted in 1995, researchers noticed that heaving drinking among adults also prompted smoking. It’s important, then to recognize your triggers when trying to quit smoking since heavy consumption of alcohol can cause an ex-smoker to relapse.
Combining Smoking & Heavy Drinking
Combining cigarettes with heavy drinking is a double dose of trouble for the libido long term in the following ways:
1. Both of these unhealthy behaviors gradually restrict the function of your nervous system.
2. Your level of energy during sex also drops as your body struggles to cope with the extreme stress you put it under every day.
3. The intimacy that you and your partner once shared suffers.
4. Stress over your inability to perform decreases your sex drive even further.
Aside from the psychological aspects of sexual behavior, your body needs to function properly to achieve and maintain an erection. If you change your lifestyle habits now, your sex life isn’t doomed to this scenario. You can greatly improve your libido by making certain changes. It may not happen overnight, but you can successfully reduce your alcohol consumption and cut back or quit smoking altogether with strong determination along with professional support. You may even experience more satisfying sex by making these changes. Really, you have nothing to lose but an erectile dysfunction.