The Link Between Snoring and Low Sexual Satisfaction

There are two main things that we do in bed: sleep and have sex. Turns out that how well you do the first can affect your satisfaction with the second. Researchers have known for years that severe cases of obstructive sleep apnea (when the windpipe collapses during sleep, causing shortness of breath) have been linked to sexual dysfunction, but they did not know if mild forms of sleep problems impact a person’s sex life.

Man snoring next to partner in bed
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What Research Has Found

To find out, researchers evaluated 827 men (average age was 64), all who had a regular sexual partner. They asked questions about sex drive (libido), erectile dysfunction, ejaculations, satisfaction with their sex life and more. They also asked about sleep habits and, specifically, snoring. Their findings were published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine.

Ninety-five of the men were heavy snorers, 573 were moderate snorers and 159 were mild or non-snorers. When comparing the level of snoring and level of sexual satisfaction, it turned out that men who snored more reported less satisfaction. In fact, heavy snorers were 2.3 times more likely to report low sexual satisfaction compared to mild/non-snorers. This was true after eliminating factors such as weight, smoking habits, etc.

What Is the Link Between Snoring and Sex?

The researchers don’t take a firm stance on that in the study. It could be that people who snore are generally not sleeping as well and, therefore, are more tired. It could be that partners of heavy snorers are also not sleeping well, or they may feel less desire for intimacy because of nightly snoring-related stress. We could make up lots of theories, but the exact "why" is still not known.

How to Stop Snoring

Start with losing weight if you need to. Weight and snoring intensity are closely linked. Next, try to sleep on your side; this can help in some cases of snoring. If your snoring is caused by congestion, try eliminating possible irritants from the bedroom (like old mattresses, old carpets, pets) and consider asking your doctor about congestion-clearing medications.

You might try other over-the-counter snoring remedies (like nasal strips), but keep in mind that the effectiveness of many of them remains unproven.

Finally, if your snoring is bad, it could indicate you have a sleep disorder. Speak to your doctor; you may need to see a sleep specialist and undergo testing to diagnose or assess the extent of your problem. Sleep disorders can be dangerous, not just to your sex life, but to your heart as well.

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  • Viktor Hanak MD, Debra J. Jacobson MS, Michaela E. McGree BS, Jennifer St. Sauver PhD, Michael M. Lieber MD, Eric J. Olson MD, Virend K. Somers MD, PhD, Naomi M. Gades DVM, Steven J. Jacobsen MD, PhD (2007). Snoring as a Risk Factor for Sexual Dysfunction in Community Men. The Journal of Sexual Medicine. Volume 5 Issue 4 Page 898-908, April 2008.