Does intense or prolonged exercise decrease libido in men?
A study published in July 2017 surveyed 1,077 men (aged 18 or older) who
responded to an online questionnaire asking about their libido (sexual
desire) and training habits. Researchers divided the respondents into two
groups-low libido and normal/high libido-according to their "libido scores"
(calculated from their replies to questions on that topic).
The survey suggested men who exercised with higher intensity or duration
had a greater risk of lower libido than those who exercised with low or
mid-range intensity or duration. Interestingly, the vast majority of the
men who performed some type of strength training had a normal or high
Note the familiar scientific maxim that "correlation doesn't imply
causation." Just because a study found a connection between prolonged or
intense exercise and a lower libido, it doesn't mean that one caused the
other. Lower libido could have been caused by decreased levels of
testosterone or greater mental or physical fatigue, for example.
We all like to think exercise helps keep libido strong, and it may-as long
as the exercise intensity or duration isn't excessive.
Hackney, A.C., et al. 2017. Endurance exercise training and male sexual
libido. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 49 (7),
Matt Brzycki ,
is the Assistant Director of Campus Recreation, Fitness at Princeton University. He has more than 30 years of experience at the collegiate level and has authored, co-authored and edited 17 books.