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How Smoking Affects Men’s Sexual Health

Smoking is either the cause or a risk factor for numerous physical ailments of the human body.  Male sexuality is no exception to this notion.  Luckily smoking is less of a problem than in the past because about half as many men smoke today as in the past, with even less women smoking than in the past.  However, about 24% of men still smoke and other men can be exposed to secondhand smoke, so this deadly habit still remains a health concern for men and their significant others.  Smoking is particularly relevant to teenage males because this is the period when most men and women begin a habit, often to deal with stress associated with home or school, that can last for decades to

come.  Smoking interferes with all aspects of a man’s sexual health from initial attraction to sexual performance and beyond.  This article discusses some of the ways that the habit of smoking can harm a man’s sexual health.

Smoking is a Potential Cause of Impotence

Research demonstrates that men smoking more than 20 cigarettes a day have a 60% higher risk of erectile dysfunction compared to their peers who do not smoke.  This is a substantial level of risk which should garner the attention of those who smoke on a regular basis.  For irregular smokers, 20 cigarettes a day is the same as one pack a day. According to researchers at the University of Kentucky, smoking can have a significant and negative effect on the ability to conceive.  The toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke can damage blood vessels leading to erectile dysfunction.  Smoking may also lead to cancer of different components of genitals which can cause impotence.  Smoking can also damage penile tissues which impact the ability of a man’s penis to function normally.

Researchers Have Shown that Smoking Can Decrease Sexual Desire and Satisfaction

Desire can be viewed as a man’s willingness to engage in sexual intercourse.  It is often more commonly described as sexual libido.  Without it, men are less interested in initiating sex or responding to their partner initiating a sexual encounter.  Satisfaction refers to a man’s feelings during and after sex.  The basic question is whether the experience met the expectations that a man had or not.  Researchers use both desire and satisfaction to assess how men feel about their sex lives.  The problem of decreased desire or satisfaction arises from the impact of smoking on the physical functioning of men.  Once they have physical problems, their desire to have sex decreases because of inability to perform as well as they would like and/or expect.  The same occurs with satisfaction.  When having sex, a man may not be able to perform normally (such as maintaining an erection for the regular amount of time) so he will not be satisfied with the experience.  If he is satisfying his partner less than before as a result of any abnormalities linked to smoking, this may also cause lower satisfaction.  For younger men, such changes in sexual performance related to smoking can make desire and satisfaction much lower than their peers.

Smoking Can Damage Smooth Muscle Inside the Penis

This “injury” can adversely affect erectile functioning.  Again, such a problem may lead to a lower libido.

Smoking May Also Affect Penis Size

According to a researcher at Boston University , this may be more of a problem for men who start smoking when they are younger as a result of damage to blood vessels and penile tissue.  Smaller penis size, especially if a man was used to a larger size before, can have numerous psychological effects on a man’s well-being further exacerbating the underlying physical problem.

Smoking Can Make Other Erectile Dysfunction Risk Factors Worse

For example, a person with high blood pressure is already at risk of having erectile dysfunction.  Smoking further increases their risk to 26 times more likely to have erectile dysfunction.

With all of the ways that smoking can impact male sexual functioning, the question is what can be done to stop this harm.  The best way to stop this harm is not to smoke at all.  If a man is already a smoker, there are a variety of ways to quit smoking.  No one way is best for everyone.  However, smokers must understand that they have a problem which can harm their health in the short and long run in order to engage in behavior change.  After recognizing the problem, smokers should work with their health practitioners to develop a personalized approach for stopping their smoking habit which is supported by the best existing medical evidence at the time.

For more information on men's sexual health, contact your local National Male Medical Clinic today.