Smoking and sex: Healthy Sex

By Dr. John Stripling

Dr. John Stripling is a Board-Certified urologist since 1981, who has dedicated his urology practice to finding the best solutions for his patients. He earned his medical degree from the University of Miami, and is a co-founder of the Center for Sexual Health & Education located in West Palm Beach.

Movies and TV are always glamorizing the tough guy smoking a cigarette and looking the part of a man’s man. You know the types: Men like Humphrey Bogart, John Wayne, Bruce Willis and James Dean.

Most of us know the more common health risks from smoking: Lung cancer, emphysema and heart disease.

What is less well known is the devastating effects of smoking on sexuality.

Several recent studies have shown that smoking is a strong risk factor for erectile dysfunction in men.

What we know now is that smoking is damaging to every blood vessel in the body. It accelerates atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. Since the act of getting an erection requires a large amount of blood moving into the penis, any impairment of blood flow can impede a full erection.

Men who smoke have a much higher chance of losing erection function because of damaged blood vessels.

How can you feel like a man if you lose your ability to have an erection?

This is an important message to tell young men before they start smoking. And if someone already smokes, they can stop the progression and perhaps reverse some of the damage by quitting.

There are many new treatments for stopping smoking that you can learn about by talking to your doctor.

It is never too late to quit smoking and improve your love life.

Dr. Stripling can be reached via the Center for Sexual Health & Education, by email or by calling 888-LOW-DESI(RE).

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