Smoking Found To Reduce Sexual Pleasure
A new study says non-smoking men have more sex and enjoy it more than smokers, but the researchers at the American Institute of Andrology say they're not sure why.
"We do not completely understand the mechanism," said researcher Panayiotis Zavos of the Lexington, Ky., institute.
Nearly four in 10 American men of reproductive age are smokers, Zavos said, but until this study, there was no data on how cigarettes affect sexual behavior and enjoyment.
The research is surprising, said fertility researcher Susan Benoff of the New York University School of Medicine, but fits with several recent studies showing that smoking alters behavior.
"I've seen three or four reports in the past few weeks about smoking causing alterations in behavior," Benoff said.
"Would I have expected this?" Benoff said. "No, but I'm not as surprised as I would have been."
The researchers studied nearly 300 men between the ages of 24 and 36, and found that the non-smokers had sex 11 times a week on average, compared with six times a week for the smokers.
The non-smokers also rated their enjoyment at nearly nine on a scale of one to 10, compared with a five rating for the smokers.
The research was presented recently in Toronto at a conference of the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
Zavos said the smokers in the study smoked more than 30 cigarettes a day and had done so for more than seven years. The non-smokers had never smoked and the wives and partners were all non-smokers.
None of the men abused alcohol, Zavos said, and none had been exposed to substances that would damage their gonads.
It has long been known that non-smokers are more fertile than smokers, but Zavos said the reasons are not completely clear. It may be, he said, that chemicals in cigarettes impair the production of sperm, making male smokers less likely to start a pregnancy.
In this study, the researchers found that the non-smokers on average spend 2.6 years trying to conceive, compared with more than three years for the smokers.
It's even less clear how cigarette smoking affects sexual behavior and enjoyment, he said. "It is possible that smoking may act at different levels in the body, diminishing...sexual frequency and satisfaction," the researchers concluded.
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