The Sleep Sex Wars: Does Sleep Affect Sex for Men and Women Differently?

The Sleep Sex Wars: Does Sleep Affect Sex for Men and Women Differently?

There are all kinds of factors that can affect the average person’s sex life, from diet and exercise to stress at work or at home to age, hormones, and personal libido. Of course, having a ready and willing partner on hand could naturally make a difference, as well!

couple smiling in bed

One factor you might not have considered, though, is the role that sleep can play. You might know that sleep deprivation can cause a wide range of side effects, including impaired cognitive function and judgment, weight gain, the onset or advancement of signs of aging, and increased risk of accidents — it can even contribute to health concerns like heart disease and diabetes.

But poor sleep can also have a major impact on your sex drive. What happens to your libido when sleep deprivation persists? Does it affect men and women differently? What can you do to get a better night’s sleep?

Here’s what you need to know to stop poor sleep from disrupting your sex life!

The Link Between Sleep and Quality of Sex

When you’re not in top form because of sleep deprivation, low energy is par for the course — and this could put the kibosh on sexual desire. Men and women alike report reduced interest in sex when they’re not getting enough Zs. How does this happen?

Fatigue can hamper your will and ability to perform, both physically and mentally. In addition, losing sleep can result in elevated levels of cortisol, which is your body’s primary stress hormone. In turn, this can impact a man’s libido, or sexual appetite, and even contribute to erectile dysfunction. Increased cortisol levels can also have negative consequences for women when it comes to sexual arousal.

How else can lack of sleep affect men and women when it comes to passionate inclinations?

How Sleep Affects a Man’s Sex Drive

Did you know that getting enough sleep can actually lower cortisol levels, potentially improving a man’s libido and sexual function?

However, other factors may be at play, especially for the 24% of young to middle-aged men and the 70% of older men suffering from sleep apnea.

By comparison, only 9% of young to middle-aged women and 56% of older women have sleep apnea.

man woman feet bed

During normal sleep cycles, a man’s testosterone level naturally rises, so it’s no surprise that studies have shown a link between sleep apnea and low testosterone. This, in turn, can reduce sex drive and sexual satisfaction, even contributing to erectile dysfunction, in some cases.

How Sleep Impacts a Woman’s Libido

For women, a lack of sleep doesn’t necessarily correlate to reduce sexual desire or frequency of sex, but it has a notable impact on sexual satisfaction. This could relate back to increased levels of cortisol that come with sleep loss.

In studies, increased cortisol levels in women didn’t affect psychological arousal to sexual stimulus (in this case, an erotic film), but it did reduce genital arousal, which was presumably the cause of reduced satisfaction.

Making the Most of Your Mattress Time

Whether your time in the bedroom is devoted to sleep or intimate relations, you want to make the most of it. The best way to do so is with a comfortable and supportive mattress. Ensure a good night’s sleep to get you primed for romance or enjoy a cozy love nest when you’re not nodding off for the night!