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How do I assess how smoking/drug use affect my sexual health?

Bonnie Lynn Wright, PhD
Geriatrics Nursing

Everything that impacts your general health affects your sexual health. When your breath smells like an ashtray that is a serious turn off to potential partners that don't smoke. When you develop COPD from smoking for years, you probably won't have the lung capacity to have sex.  And when you are dead from lung cancer? 

The more important question is when are you going to stop smoking? Not when will your smoking affect your sexual health! True, a little alcohol can enhance sexual function for the immediate moment but too much for too long and the major problem will not be sexual function. The same applies to drugs of any kind. Unfortunately, you lose the capacity to know when you cross the line from harmless fun to health problem. Ultimately, you could end up in jail for possession, living out on the street when you lose your job and family or dead. Bottom line...drugs or smoking...get help for the addiction and help your whole health profile!

Recognizing that smoking and alcohol and drug use play a role in your sexual health, ask yourself the following questions to help assess just what effect your habits may be having on your sex life:
  • Do you smoke cigarettes? If so, how frequently, and for how long
         have you been smoking?
  • Have you noticed a corresponding increase or decrease in desire and
         function when you’ve abstained or cut down on this habit?
  • Does your partner smoke?
  • Do you use alcohol or other substances to help you relax or loosen
         up? Do you rely on it to have sex?
  • Has alcohol or other drug use ever impaired your sexual function or
         contributed to negative sexual experiences?

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.