Men Uninterested In Sex Die Earlier?

A Japanese study suggests that men less interested in sex have higher mortality rates.

By Jennifer Asencio | Published

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A Japanese study has linked a lack of interest in sex to a higher likelihood of death in men. Science Alert says that the study, which included 20,969 participants, indicates that men who were less interested in having sex had a higher mortality rate than men who were more interested. The researchers published their findings last month in the journal PLOS One.

Researchers from Yamagata University conducted the study over a six-year period by issuing questionnaires to its thousands of participants during annual physical exams and collating the data. The participants included 8,558 men and 12,411 women aged 40 or older and noted that the lack of interest in sex only seemed to be a predictor of mortality for the men who reported it. Of the total number of participants, 503 died during the period of the study.

While the link between a desire for sex and mortality rate was established, it has not been determined which factor causes the other. There are a variety of health conditions that can both decrease libido and also contribute to or cause death, including diabetes, heart disease, and mental illness. The good news is that means that if a man’s libido has decreased, it can be an early warning sign that something is medically wrong and doctors can address it more quickly.

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The data does suggest that an unhealthy lifestyle contributes to a lower libido, and connects this to other causes like too much fatty food, not enough exercise, and smoking or drinking, which can cause hypertension, lower endurance, and lethargy. Unhealthy lifestyles also affect self-esteem and stress resilience, which can create a variety of inflammatory responses throughout the body from the endocrine system. Sex is a healthy way to release stress hormones, and a lack of interest in it can signify that other factors may be affecting the body.

This finding also hints at a toxic combination that has emerged elsewhere in men’s reproductive health. Men worldwide have been experiencing a lower sperm count, and if they are also lacking the desire to have sex, this can have consequences for the human population. While overpopulation is not a desirable outcome, a reduction in the libido of men that runs concurrently with a lower sperm count could have devastating effects on human survival.

However, the study was meant to address sex and the elderly, a subject that is taboo in Japanese culture and scoffed at in the United States. The researchers suggest encouraging sex positivity among the elderly in Japan can help extend their lives, and interest in sex is a sign of health in old age. The trends linking a lack of interest in sex to mortality in men were uniform across all age groups, but sex and libido remain important even as humans age.

The researchers did acknowledge one flaw in their questionnaire, as it asked if participants had an interest in someone of the opposite sex, and thus excluded the same-sex attracted, who accounted for approximately 200 of the participants. This observation also opened a line of inquiry to explore, as interest in someone of the same sex can be measured along the same metrics used in the rest of the study.

Overall, it is both interesting and important to note that a desire for sex is a healthy aspect of being a man and that we should be worried if the men in our lives are lacking libido.