Why exercise is also good for your sexual health
By Melanie Radzicki McManus, CNN
Forty-three percent of women and 31% of men have some form of sexual dysfunction, with obesity and a lack of exercise often being factors, according to the National Institutes of Health
. A study
published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine found men with either a high waist circumference or elevated BMI were 50% more likely to have erectile dysfunction, while approximately half of obese women reported problems with sexual activity, desire and performance, at least some of the time, in a study
published in Obesity.
Women who exercised up to six hours per week, in contrast, showed lower sexual distress and resistance in their clitoral arteries compared to women who did not exercise, according to a 2021 study
published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine. The exercisers also showed significantly higher levels of desire, arousal, lubrication and orgasm.
“This is truly a medical issue we should be dealing with as part of someone’s overall health and well-being,” said Dr. Karyn Eilber, a urologist at Los Angeles’ Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and a sexual wellness expert. “But there’s still a stigma around the topic.”
There shouldn’t be, said Eilber and other experts. Sex is a critical part of being human, and its significance is not just to procreate. Quality sexual activity has a major impact on your mental and emotional health, your quality of life and the strength of your intimate relationships. A series of studies
backs this up, indicating sex and affectionate touch are critical for multiple aspects of well-being, such as feeling understood, cared for and accepted.
Important note: Before beginning any new exercise program, consult your doctor. Stop immediately if you experience pain.