When it comes to sex, and our own personal performance, none of us wants to admit that we might be a little below par, or that we might have a serious problem. In a world of dating apps and peer pressure to always have a hot date on the go, we all worry to some extent about our performance in the bedroom, and whether it matches up to everyone else, and to our partner’s expectations. Most of us know already that shedding a couple of pounds and doing some regular exercise could help to get us match fit, but perhaps one issue that many men don’t tend to be aware of is the impact that regular smoking can have on your sexual prowess.
Stop and think about it for just a minute – our bodies are incredibly complex systems and all of our internal organs are interconnected and interdependent. If we stuff one part of our body with harmful chemicals, it’s logical to assume we’re doing harm throughout our entire body. How exactly smoking cigarettes impacts on sexual performance involves complicated scientific explanations, but in layman’s terms, all of those harmful chemicals in cigarettes, such as tobacco and tar, start to restrict the blood flow around the body over time, thereby reducing the oxygen that can be pushed through your system. It doesn’t take a genius to work out what the most likely problem is for sexually active men, if their blood flow is restricted! If you’re a smoker and you want to avoid potential problems with your sexual performance, it’s critical that you understand exactly what smoking could be doing to you, so that you can take positive action to stay healthy and confident sexually.
Recent research from the US has revealed that men who smoke are at a much higher risk of experiencing erectile dysfunction than non-smokers. Whilst many men may not suffer from erectile dysfunction on a long-term basis, the fact remains that if you smoke, the likelihood of you being affected to some extent still increases dramatically. Smoke at least 20 cigarettes a day, and your chances of experiencing erectile dysfunction shoot up by 60%, compared with men who don’t smoke.
As if problems getting it up and keeping it up weren’t enough, there’s even evidence that suggests that smoking might reduce our desire to even try getting it up! The scientific thinking behind this is that when we smoke, we inhale carbon monoxide, which somehow sticks to the haemoglobin in our blood, again cutting down our circulation. That means that we get tired and lethargic more quickly, we’re less positive mentally, and we are less likely to feel in the mood for some hot action. Studies of Army personnel have shown conclusively that soldiers who smoke are less physically fit than non-smokers, and since you need a reasonable level of physical fitness to have great sex, it seems that smokers are again putting themselves at a disadvantage when it comes to sexual performance. Heavy breathing should only ever be because you’re feeling hot and horny, not because you’re gasping for breath and feeling wheezy!
We’ve focused so far on how smoking can interfere physically with your dating and sex life, but there’s a whole other side to the story too. If your dating adventures are a little disappointing to date, you might just find that you get a whole lot more swipe rights if you give up smoking. You might think that no-one can tell from your profile pic whether you smoke or not, but actually smoking does have a negative impact on your appearance, making your skin look sallow, your hair look poor and the area around your mouth look pinched and drawn. Hardly likely to impress potential dates, is it? And even if you do get a date, there’s a strong chance that you won’t get a second date once she’s smelled the stale stink of smoke on your clothes and in your hair. Few people find smoking attractive these days, and in fact, quite a lot of people say exactly the opposite – that smoking is a big turn-off for them. Update your profile (truthfully, of course) with ‘non-smoker’ and watch those pings from matches come flying in.
Taking action to Quit Smoking
If reading this article has stopped you in your tracks and made you determined to quit smoking for good, then you need a plan. We’ve all heard the mantra about how failing to plan is planning to fail, but when it comes to stopping smoking, this is just so true. There’s so much you can do to improve your chances of giving up for good, if you think it all through first.
Try to get a mate, or a partner if you’re in a relationship, to quit at the same time as you. That way, you’ll be able to support and motivate one another and you’ll have someone with you every step of the way. Tell friends and family that you’re planning on quitting too, and ask them to respect your decision and not to try to tempt you into giving up on giving up. A quit smoking approach is much more likely to be successful if you use one of the different aids that are available, such as patches, gum or e-cigarettes.
E-cigs are actually one of the best ways of giving up smoking altogether, and they’re even endorsed by the NHS as an effective tool in helping people to quit smoking. Public Health England has found that e-cigarettes are around 95% safer than smoking regular cigarettes, so if you make the switch to e-cigs as part of your attempts to quit altogether, you’ll start reaping the health benefits from day one. You’ll also be on the way to improvements in your appearance and the overall health of your hair and skin, and you’ll start to feel physically fitter in no time at all. Combine stopping smoking with a programme of regular exercise, and you’ll see those excess pounds fall away, your cardio levels will improve and you’ll have something to keep your mind off those cigarette cravings.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re in a relationship currently, or you’re looking for your next date – if you want to improve your love life and steer clear of smoking-related health issues down below, you need to stop smoking. If you still want that nicotine kick, without all the negative issues that go with smoking, investigate the alternatives to regular cigarettes. Nothing comes close to great sex, so why put that all on the line? Pump your body full of chemicals through smoking and the chances are high that you’ll eventually notice the effects, even experiencing a permanent loss of sensation.
The effects that smoking can have on male sexual performance are quite startling, but the good news is that it’s entirely possible to take action before any lasting damage is done. Sex is surely too much a part of our lives to risk ruining it, for the sake of a quick ciggie outside a pub or in a smoking shelter at work. Take control – get a plan together and try to quit. Remember, those swipe rights and steamy nights are out there, just waiting for you.