Many experts equate a greater degree of physical activity with heightened sexuality in men. Because of the very real benefits associated with exercise and physical activity, and how those benefits often translate in terms of penis health and sexual fun, doctors often assume that the more exercise, the more sex drive a man is going to have. But now a new study may put the brakes on that idea - at least a little bit.

The study

Published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the study is entitled "Endurance Exercise Training and Male Sexual Libido," an unusually straightforward title for a medical journal. The stated purpose of this trial is to "study the associations between aspects of endurance exercise training and the sexual libido in healthy men using a cross-sectional online survey study design."

What that means is that the scientists involved (who hail from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) developed an online survey that would help determine the physical fitness, exercise routines and libido of participants. More than 1,000 men were surveyed, which is a respectable number but a little on the small side for a study meant to have meaning for half the population.

Previous studies

Previous studies have measured testosterone activity in men and its relationship to exercise. These studies support the idea that a moderate amount of exercise creates more testosterone (which in turn ratchets up the sex drive); they have also suggested that long and grueling workouts can tend to erase the increase in testosterone and may contribute to a decrease in testosterone (and, subsequently, in sex drive).

Instead of looking at testosterone changes, this study decided to ask men directly about their sex drives. The questions asked men about not only how often they had sex but how often they thought about sex, and how intense their thoughts were, and the like.

After taking into consideration all pertinent factors (age, overall health, etc.), a pattern emerged. Those men whose exercise routines were on the moderate or light side in terms of intensity and/or duration tended to have moderate or high sex drives. And men who worked out like maniacs, pushing themselves to the limit, tended to have low sex drives.


As mentioned earlier, the number of participants is a little small to be able to draw any solid conclusions. In addition, these are all men who volunteered to take the survey, which is to some degree intrusive; there could theoretically be different results if those who declined to take the survey had answered the questions.

Perhaps more problematic is that measuring sex drive in a self-reported manner presents challenges. Despite efforts to quantify it, one man’s interpretation of how intense their sex drive is may vary from another’s. And even with an anonymous survey, it’s very easy for a man to "cheat" a little, especially when admitting to how often he has had sex or thinks about it.

Still, the results do raise interesting points. If a man pushes himself during his workouts and exercise routines and does find that he has a decreased sex drive, he might want to take his exercise intensity down a few notches and see if there is a difference. Or he may want to talk to his doctor to see what other alternatives he could consider.

Other penis health tips don’t necessarily involve exercise. For example, using a top flight penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin) to maintain overall penis health can be a plus when it comes to sex. Be sure to use a crème with L-arginine, which helps the body produce ingredients that keep penile blood vessels open and receptive. It’s also wise to use a crème with acetyl L carnitine, a neuroprotective ingredient that helps guard against loss of sensation in the penis.