Can a Lack of Sex Cause Erectile Dysfunction?
Several studies show that men who have more sex are less likely to experience erectile dysfunction. On the negative side, those who have less sex have a higher risk. So can a lack of sex lead to ED? If so, can men limit their risk by engaging in sex and masturbating regularly? One 2008 study out of Europe showed that a lack of sex could lead to impotence. But this is the one and only such study. No other researchers thus far have confirmed these results. The European study published in the American Journal of Medicine, followed 989 male participants. They were in their fifth, sixth and seventh decade of life. Here researchers concluded that sexual activity was akin to exercise in maintaining male potency. Whether or not masturbation helps preserve functioning was not included in this study, only sexual intercourse. Many urologists say that such activities probably help. Intercourse was found to preserve the blood vessels and nerves associated with an erection.
Though a lack of sex is associated with ED, it hasn’t been proven to cause it. Irwin Goldstein, MD is the director of sexual medicine at Alvarado Hospital in San Diego. He told WebMD, “Having sex is good, masturbating is good, but the concept that men have to go out and have sex to preserve erectile function is bogus.” According to the spokesman of the American Urological Association, a lack of sex is generally a consequence of ED rather than the cause. Researchers in the European study admit that those who had good erections and frequent sex may have just had good genes. Having erections seems to be the key factor in being able to have them again in the future. A good sex life and masturbating are fine health-wise. But a lower body weight, exercise, getting good sleep, taking care of any emotional issues such as stress and depression, and controlling diabetes and blood pressure are also important aspects of preserving sexual health.