Fitness for Men Means Better Sex
There are lots of reasons to get some form of physical activity daily. It helps keep your weight in check, strengthens your heart, and lowers your risk of developing a range of diseases. Exercise also brightens your mood, gives you more energy, and helps you sleep better at night. If all of these reasons aren’t enough to have gotten you motivated to get off the couch yet, here’s another one for men to consider: New research shows that working out may be a boon to a man’s sex life.
The study, which took place at the Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina, found that exercising regularly appears to improve sexual function in men.1 The subjects were 295 healthy male adults. They answered surveys that focused on both their level of physical activity and their sexual ability, with questions including whether they could achieve erections and orgasms and how they would rate the quality and frequency of the erections attained.
The scientists determined each participant’s fitness level by measuring the man’s metabolic equivalents (METS), which is a standard evaluation of the energy used by the body during any form of activity. Those who typically worked out the most were found to have higher scores in their sexual function. The researchers were even able to quantify how much exercise was needed to obtain a better sex life. The men who performed roughly two hours of strenuous physical activity, three and a half hours of moderate physical activity, or six hours of light physical activity each week were the ones who enjoyed the payoff in the bedroom.
The volunteers who were more sedentary had lower overall sexual performance scores. However, there were other factors that were also found to affect sexual ability, such as conditions including heart disease and diabetes, advanced age, and whether they were currently or formerly smokers. And it’s certainly possible that at least some of these conditions are influenced by the subjects’ relative lack of exercise, as we know that physical inactivity is associated with a higher risk of both heart disease and diabetes.
Other research has linked exercise to improved sexual function but was confined to a somewhat narrow sampling of subjects. For example, a 2012 study at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia found that working out improved erectile function in men under 40.2 However, the present study expanded the scope to a more diverse population of males. And whereas earlier trials were made up mainly of white participants, the current research consisted of nearly one-third black men. Plus, the findings were consistent across the board, no matter the participant’s race.
So this just adds to the mounting evidence that one of the many benefits of physical activity is better erectile function and an improved sex life overall. This makes sense for a number of reasons. Getting regular cardiovascular exercise promotes circulation and increases blood flow all over the body, including to the genitals, which can help a man become aroused and reach orgasm. The other aspect of why sex might be more satisfying in those who are fit has to do with its mental component. Workouts give you higher energy levels and help improve your confidence and self-esteem, all of which can contribute to better sexual encounters.
This is encouraging news, especially with so much research suggesting that men are having more sexual dysfunction problems and infertility. While that appears to stem from factors such as cigarette and drug use, obesity, and depression, at least we can be fairly sure that if we take action (literally and figuratively) by exercising more we can make a big difference in not only overall health but sexual abilities too.
And women can not only reap the benefits of a partner more ready, willing, and able to perform, but they can get on board and show support by taking their exercise routine up a notch as well. In fact, a 2004 study at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville found that working out can give a woman just as much of a boost in sexual performance as it does for men.3 So ultimately, working out together may make for some very happy couples—as well as longer lives with which to enjoy that happiness.
- 1. Preidt, Robert. "Exercise Might Help His Sex Life." U.S. News & World Report. 23 March 2015. Accessed 1 April 2015. http://health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2015/03/23/exercise-might-help-his-sex-life
- 2. Hsiao, Wayland; et al. "Exercise is Associated with Better Erectile Function in Men Under 40 as Evaluated by the International Index of Erectile Function." The Journal of Sexual Medicine. February 2012. Accessed 2 April 2015. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1743-6109.2011.02560.x/abstract
- 3. Penhollow, Tina M. and Young, Michael. "Sexual Desirability and Sexual Performance: Does Exercise and Fitness Really Matter?" Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality. 5 October 2004. Accessed 2 April 2015. http://www.ejhs.org/volume7/fitness.html