by Ana Santos
This article was originally published in the April 2012 edition of Playboy magazine.
When it comes right down to it; whether it’s about going down or getting it up, doctors conclude that smoking does take its toll on junior.
It is a common post-coital picture.
After the bump and grind, comes the rolling over to the side, reaching over the nightstand and lighting up a cigarette.
It is the nightcap to the good romp in the hay-catching your breath by inhaling some smoke and slowly blowing it out.
But before you light up for that gratifying puff, you might need to know how that stick up in your mouth affects your stick down there. The pack says cigarette smoking is hazardous to your health, but did you know that it’s also hazardous to your sex life?
Read on and find out how:
1. THE MORE YOU LIGHT UP, THE MORE LIKELY IT WILL GO DOWN, DOWN, DOWN
Credit: mack2happy via freedigitalphotos.net
“What’s bad for the heart is also bad for the penis.”
That’s The Golden Rule when it comes to caring for one’s appendage, says Dr. Jaime Songco, a urologist at the Makati Medical Center.
“And since smoking is bad for the heart, it is also bad for the penis.”
Explaining further, Songco says, “The penis a vascular organ; it is an organ filled with blood vessels and arteries and highly dependent on blood flow. To achieve an optimal erection, a sudden rush of blood to the penis is needed.”
Clogged blood vessels and arteries damaged from smoking are sure roadblocks to the sudden rush of blood flow to the penis.
“The tar content of cigarettes causes thickening and hardening of the blood vessels. And with the arteries supplying blood to the penis being only about one millimetre in diameter you can imagine how any sort of blockage will affect achieving and maintaining an erection.”
The problem only gets harder [pun not intended] from there. Using an Erection Hardness Scale (EHS) commonly used by urologists to diagnose Erectile Dysfunction (ED), Songco describes an optimal erection as one that is “of Grade 4 standard. It has to be as hard as a cucumber.”
Stressing that not all erections are created equal, Songco says that erections can go all the way down to a Grade 1 “which is like tofu, making penetration impossible.”
And while E.D. is commonly seen among older men, Songco says that the risk of impotence increases to 50% in male smokers aged 30 to 40.
Studies made by Dr. Irving Goldstein at the New England Male Reproductive Health Center of the Boston University Medical School hold up the link between smoking and erection problems.
In an impotency test among 1,011 men, 78% of those with erection problems were smokers; more than twice the number of men with erection problems found in the general population.
In another study, where they measured blood flow to the penis, the more cigarettes smoked, the higher the decrease in blood flow.
The absence of local studies on the sagging effect of smoking on ED is a stark one, says urologist from the St. Luke’s Medical Center, Dr. Joel Aldana. However, in his clinical experience, Aldana says “about 50% of my patients with ED are smokers.
2. YOU WON’T JUST GET BLUE BALLED BUT YOU’LL ALSO BE A BLUE BLOATER
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Prolonged smoking and exposure to the toxic substances of nicotine can bring about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or what is commonly known as COPD.
“The main indicator of COPD is shortness of breath and difficulty breathing because of long-term damage to the lungs,” says Dr. Maricar Limpin, a pulmonologist and member of Philippine College of Chest Physicians.
Limpin says that over 80% of her patients who suffer from COPD are smokers. “COPD is brought about by the chronic exposure to a toxic substance such as nicotine.” And most patients are men.
Most people who have chronic bronchitis and emphysema have COPD, and those with bronchitis are called “blue bloaters because” of their bluish palor due to their shortness of breath.
COPD makes a man blue bloater, but not necessarily a drooper.
“A man can still achieve an erection, but because airways are blocked or the lungs are full of phlegm, COPD makes breathing difficult for simple activities such as walking; what more for the energy expended for sexual activity?”
To further illustrate, Limpin says, “He may be able to start in the sexual act, but he will not be able to finish. The continued shortness of breath makes it extremely difficult.”
Thus, from a medical point of view, COPD hampers sexual activity, which may result to having none at all, as the condition progresses into severe stages.
THE TAR CONTENT OF CIGARETTES CAUSES THICKENING OF THE BLOOD VESSELS. AND WITH THE ARTERIES SUPPLYING BLOOD TO THE PENIS BEING ONLY ABOUT ONE MILLIMETER IN DIAMETER, YOU CAN IMAGINE HOW ANY SORT OF BLOCKAGE WILL AFFECT ACHIEVING AND MAINTAINING AN ERECTION.
Limpin shares that all of her patients with COPD have a certain degree of difficulty engaging in satisfying sex, although she declines to provide anecdotes, citing confidentiality between patients and doctors.
Limpin emphasizes that COPD is a disease, which only becomes worse over time. “Once a patient reaches the severe to very severe case of COPD, even the simple act of breathing becomes extremely difficult. It [COPD] is debilitating and the most we can do is find ways to ease the burden on the patient.”
Part of the rehabilitation for COPD patients includes exercises on how to cope with shortness of breath and muscle capacity for endurance. And in terms of still getting some horizontal mambo, a change in position is needed. Patients are asked to try alternative sex positions which are not too strenuous. “The man [with COPD] will have to take on the passive role during sex. We advise side by side or positions where the partner does most of the work,” explains Limpin, emphasizing the need for the minimum expenditure of energy for the COPD patient.
And if it’s not the shortness of breath that will get in the way of your sex life, it’s the coughing caused by lungs filled will phlegm that may be the deal breaker or blue ball marker.
3. YOU’LL GET THE SHORTER END OF THE DEAL, OR SPERM
Credit: jscreationzs via freedigitalphotos.net
First off, there are some sperm terms you need to get acquainted with: density (sperm count), motility (percentage of moving sperm in a semen sample) and morphology (shape).
In a study published by the Singapore Medical Journal on the effect of cigarette smoking on semen quality of infertile men, it was found that smoking decreases sperm count, affects motility and alters sperm shape.
The end result is an impact on fertility. An excerpt of the study states that: “In 30% of infertile couples, the male factor, in the form of defective sperm quality, is major cause. As a large number of men smoke worldwide, and the fact that cigarette smoke contains known mutagens and carcinogens, there has been much concern that smoking may have unfavourable effects on male reproduction. Several studies from different parts of the world have observed that cigarette smoking has an effect on the semen quality, especially in those who are heavy smokers.”
Action on Smoking and Health in the UK has found “cigarette smoking affects male fertility. Men who smoke have a lower sperm count than non-smokers, and their semen contains a higher proportion of malformed sperm. By-products of nicotine present in semen of smokers have been found to reduce the motility of sperm.”
“Smoking affects actually the cilia or the tail of the sperm; this is the part that becomes deformed.” says Limpin, adding that it is the cilia that gives sperm its motion. “It can not swim as fast enough to fertilize the egg and consequently causes fertility problems.”
4. SMOKING MAKES IT HARD FOR HER TO SWALLOW
We’ve all heard the urban legend that drinking pineapple juice or eating pineapple chunks can make sperm taste sweeter. However, the jury – composed of urologists and medical journals – is still debating on this.
When asked about the impact of nicotine smoking on the taste of semen, neither Songco, Aldana nor Limpin could give an answer based on medical studies.
Michael Castleman, author of various sexuality books like Great Sex: The Man’s Guide To Whole-Body Sensuality (nominated as best sexuality book of the year by the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, And Therapists) writes that everyone has an opinion on spitting or swallowing and it seems that empirical and experimental data are taking up where scientific study has left off.
Castleman posits that if the availability of sperm flavor enhancers are any indication, taken together with the testimony of porn stars who “have tasted hundreds of samples of semen,” it seems that what one puts in one’s mouth also affects the taste of what comes out of one’s well, penis.
STUDIES HAVE LONG BEEN ESTABLISHED THAT SMOKING CAN LEAD TO THE EARLY ONSET OF MENOPAUSE AMONG WOMEN. THE SAME HAS BEEN FOUND TO BE TRUE FOR THE MALE COUNTERPART, KNOWN AS ANDROPAUSE.
ANDROPAUSE IS KNOWN BY ITS VARIOUS NAMES LIKE TESTOSTERONE DEFICIENCY AND MALE MENOPAUSE. IT IS CAUSED BY DECLINING LEVELS OF THE HORMONE TESTOSTERONE IN MEN AS THEY AGE.
Castleman lists a diet of ample amounts of fruit and vegetables to produce a smooth, sweet taste. Caffeine, alcohol and tobacco will make your semen taste bitter. Red meats, greasy foods and dairy products will give off a sharp, salty taste.
So in this case, it might be good to follow your Mom’s advice about eating your fruits and vegetables it will make your semen delectable, if not easy and sweet to swallow.
If you don’t want to listen to your mother take it from former porn star Annie Sprinkle who Castleman says, attests that “vegetarians taste the best.”
5. PRE-MATURE AGING IS NOT JUST A WOMAN’S CONCERN
Studies have long been established that smoking can lead to the early onset of menopause among women. The same has been found to be true for the male counterpart, known as andropause.
Credit: David Castillo Dominici via freedigitalphotos.net
Andropause is known by its various names like testosterone deficiency and male menopause. It is caused by declining levels of the hormone testosterone in men as they age.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that testosterone, drops about 10 percent every decade starting around age 30. It is estimated that by the age of 50, 30 percent of men have testosterone levels low enough to cause symptoms and put them at risk.
The Andropause Society, a UK-based organization that promotes the study of andropause, says that testosterone falls progressively from the mid to late 20’s and continues across the rest of one’s life. Broadly speaking, testosterone will halve over the period of your life.
IT MIGHT ME BE GOOD TO FOLLOW YOUR MOM’S ADVICE ABOUT EATING YOUR FRUITS AND VEGETABLES, IT WILL MAKE YOUR SEMEN DELECTABLE, IF NOT EASY AND SWEET TO SWALLOW.
IF YOU DON’T WANT TO LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER, TAKE IT FROM FORMER PORN STAR ANNIE SPRINKLE, WHO CASTLEMAN SAYS, ATTESTS THAT “VEGETARIANS TASTE THE BEST.”
Much like menopause, the onset of andropause is characterized by lethargy, decreased libido, and moodiness.
Dr. Tom Trinick, a member of the Andropause Society, says that there are a range of health factors, apart from age, that contribute to andropause, but he recommends cutting down on smoking and testosterone replacement therapy.
When it comes right down to it; whether it’s about going down or getting it up, doctors conclude that smoking does take its toll on Junior.
“With the exception of COPD, erectile dysfunction, infertility, and andropause are multi-factorial. They are caused by a combination elements like lifestyle and genetics. However, smoking, because of how it affects the blood vessels. Compounds the effect,” says Aldana.
Hhhmm…bitter truth? Perhaps, but nonetheless, information that’s worth chewing on – without spitting out.
This special report was produced under a grant from the Journalists for Nation Building Foundation.
Images: mack2happy, dream designs, jscreationzs, wikinoticia and David Castillo Dominici
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