Unhealthy Habits Wreck Your Sex Life

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Our vices hamper our sex lives, a new Danish study says.

Weight problems, physical inactivity, high levels of alcohol consumption, tobacco smoking, and hard drugs are associated with sexual dysfunction in men , the study found. In addition, an unhealthy lifestyle is more common among people who aren't sexually active, the researchers said.

The findings are based on survey responses from 5,552 Danish men and women ages 16 to 97 collected in 2005.

An unhealthy lifestyle increased the chance of not having a sex partner by up to 78 percent in men and up to 91 percent in women.

Among men who had a sexual partner, having a large waist was associated with a 71 percent increase in the risk of sexual dysfunction. And using hard drugs was associated with an 800 percent increase.

Women who smoked hashish (a concentrated preparation of marijuana) had almost three times the risk of anorgasmia, which is difficulty or inability to reach climax during sexual activity with a partner, as non-users did.

"Hopefully our findings can be used in future counseling of patients with unhealthy lifestyles," said study researcher Morten Frisch, of Statens Serum Institut in Denmark. "Knowing about possible negative consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle to one's sexual health may help people quit smoking, consume less alcohol, exercise more and lose weight."

"There are many reasons for sexual dysfunction, including those over which you have no control, such as after cancer treatments or following injuries. But lifestyle and recreational drug use are individual choices," said Irwin Goldstein, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Sexual Medicine, which published the study. "Each person can modify lifestyle, especially diet and exercise , and stop using recreational drugs that inhibit the sexual reflex, to be healthier, thereby facilitating sexual function."

Pass it on: Unhealthy lifestyle factors, such as obesity and smoking, may increase the risk of sexual dysfunction and sexual inactivity.

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Live Science Staff
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