Smoking and Sex – Benefits of quitting smoking sexually
Written by: John Dicey | Last updated/Reviewed: 07 Feb 2022
Reviewed by: Paul Baker
It’s often a question asked by the partner of a smoker, does quitting smoking help sexually? Quitting smoking and sex is a slightly taboo subject – current smokers don’t really want to talk about it and former smokers who quit don’t particularly like to share this particular upside to their quit smoking benefits. To put your mind at rest – there are huge sexual benefits to quitting smoking – on top of all the other of course.
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There is a clear link between smoking, nicotine and sex drive – or to be more precise between smoking and reduced sex drive. It’s not just a biological issue – it can be psychological too and although very few people spoil love-making by attempting sex during smoking, some smokers are more keen to avoid sex, or to minimise the time spent having sex simply because it interferes with their smoking.
It’s hard to imagine isn’t it? A beautiful, willing, enthusiastic partner being pushed aside in favour of lighting another cigarette.
It’s the biological effect on sex drive that causes the most concern.
Repeatedly studies have shown that smoking causes erectile dysfunction due to poor blood flow to the penis. Impotence and impaired performance eventually lead to a reduced desire and consequently, overall satisfaction for both partners is likely to suffer.
Smoking & nicotine libido
Men aren’t alone in suffering the negative effects of smoking on their libido and sexual performance or enjoyment. There is evidence that smoking can negatively affect genital lubrication and orgasm frequency. Female sexual pleasure, including orgasms, are facilitated by increased blood flow to the genitals. When a woman becomes aroused, the neurovascular system sends hugely increased levels of blood to the vagina, boosting oxygenation and lubrication of vaginal tissues. This conclusion is that female smokers may experience less sexual sensitivity compared to non-smokers, for the same reasons that male smokers are more at risk of erectile dysfunction.
All ways of quitting smoking are likely to lead to improved sexual performance and greater frequency – although nicotine contained in e-cigarettes might be problematic (nicotine is a vasoconstrictor which narrows the blood vessels and reduces the flow of blood) so quitting smoking increases libido.
There genuinely is a ‘quitting smoking sex drive bonus’ that makes sex after quitting smoking more intense, more enjoyable, more often. If you are having great sex with a smoker – the chances are that it will be even better once they quit smoking.
In summary, nicotine can cause erectile dysfunction as it is a vasoconstrictor, which narrows the blood vessels, thus reducing blood flow.
The effects of smoking on female sexual arousal are probably similar to men who smoke as the female genitalia also swell up with blood during sexual arousal.
If nicotine can restrict blood flow and cause erectile dysfunction in men, it may be reasonable to suggest the same is true for women, affecting arousal, sexual sensation, and ability to, and intensity of, orgasm.
Smoking saps your energy, leaving you too tired for sex. Cigarette smoke contains carbon monoxide, which sticks to haemoglobin – the pigment in the red blood cells that carries oxygen. Raised levels of carbon monoxide in the blood as a result of smoking affects the body’s ability to carry oxygen. Even after only 72 hours of stopping smoking you should notice an improvement in your energy levels.
Smokers often experience shortness of breath due to cigarette tar damaging the airways and lungs which can impact on your ability to prolong lovemaking.
Quitting will improve your lung capacity by up to 10% within nine months, giving you more energy and stamina to last longer during sex.
Smoking negatively impacts upon testosterone levels in both males and females, the hormone responsible for maintaining libido. Cigarette smoking increases carbon monoxide levels in the body ultimately leading to inhibited production of testosterone, bringing down libido.
You can expect some wonderful changes in your sex drive after quitting smoking – what are you waiting for? Better sex, lasting longer, more often – quite aside from all the other health benefits.