Muscular young athletic built sportsman, leaning against a concrete wall of an abandoned building, taking a break
February 24, 2017

Men– exercise might be hurting your sex life

If you’re a beast in the gym, you may not necessarily be a beast in the bedroom, according to new research led by scientists at the University of North Carolina that have investigated for the first time the relationship between the workout regimens and the sex lives of men.

According to Fox News, the study authors polled more than 1,000 active males regarding both their exercise habits and their sex lives, then divided them into groups based on the amount of time they spent working out, the intensity of their exercise, and their strength of their libido.

They discovered that guys who exercise intensely appeared to have a lower libido when compared to those who engaged in light or moderate workouts. The latter two groups, on the other hand, were more likely to self-describe their sex drives as being moderate or high.

“Exposure to higher levels of chronic intense and greater durations of endurance training on a regular basis are significantly associated with a decreased libido scores in men,” they wrote in that the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, adding that doctors treating men for sexual disorders should consider exercise “as a potential complicating factor.”

The study is one of the first to investigate the link between a man’s workout and the quality of their sex lives, according to the New York Times. Most previous work done on the topic has centered on how exercise affects sex drive in women, the newspaper added.

Next step is to directly study exercise, libido and hormone levels

In most cases, such studies have found that when female athletes train intensely for several hours each week, they can experience menstrual dysfunctions. Those issues are thought to be the result of hormonal imbalances linked to physical stress, the Times said. While this can harm a woman’s libido and ability to conceive, they can be easily corrected by doing lighter workouts.

As part of the new study, the UNC researchers had active men complete questionnaires regarding their sexual behaviors – for instance, how often they thought about sex, and how frequently they engaged in intercourse, the newspaper said. Similarly, they were asked about workout habits, how often they exercised each week, their overall health and their medical history.

man doing pushups

Maybe you should stop doing so many pushups.

When all was said and done, nearly 1,100 physically-active adult males filled out the surveys and once the results were compiled, the authors found that guys who described their exercise routines as light or moderate were far more likely to report moderate to high libidos than those who stated that they tended to prefer a longer or more intense workout regimen. In short, they said, there is a link between strenuous physical activity and reduced sex drive.

However, as lead author Dr. Anthony Hackney, a professor of exercise physiology and nutrition at UNC, explained to the Times, this was a small sample size and the results were based on self-reporting. As such, he said, it is not possible to verify if the answers given were totally honest, or if the findings are truly representative of the larger population as a whole.

Furthermore, he noted the results do not indicate that strenuous exercise causes lower libido, only that the two are linked. However, he told the newspaper that it is likely that physical fatigue and reduced post-workout testosterone levels could play a role in the outcome. He hopes that his team will soon be able to conduct experience which directly looks at exercise, hormone levels, and sex drive to learn more about how each of these factors interacts with one another.


Image credit: Thinkstock