Endurance Exercise Training and Male Sexual Libido

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2017 Jul;49(7):1383-1388. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001235.


Purpose: This article aimed to study the associations between aspects of endurance exercise training and sexual libido in healthy men using a cross-sectional online survey study design.

Methods: A developed online survey questionnaire was used. The questionnaire was based on preexisting validated questionnaires and was used to assess elements of physical characteristics, exercise training habits, and libido of participants (n = 1077). Three evidence-based categories were created for the primary outcome of total libido score and low, normal, and high-response category sets. The high and normal categories were combined to form a high/normal score group, and the low category formed a low score group. Odds ratio (OR) values were calculated to examine group categorization.

Results: Age, training intensity, and training duration of participants had significant (P < 0.02) univariate relationships, with libido scores, and were thus included in the multivariate model. In the multivariate model, training intensity (P < 0.0001) and duration (P < 0.002) components were the most significantly associated with libido group designation (high/normal vs low). Participants with the lowest (OR = 6.9, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.6-17.9) and mid-range training intensities (OR = 2.8, 95% CI = 1.4-5.3) had greater odds of high/normal libido state than those with the highest training intensity. Participants with the shorter (OR = 4.1, 95% CI = 1.6-10.0) and mid-range training durations (OR = 2.5, 95% CI = 1.3-4.8) at their current intensity also had greater odds of high/normal libido score than those with a greatest duration.

Conclusion: Exposure to higher levels of chronic intense and greater durations of endurance training on a regular basis is significantly associated with a decreased libido scores in men. Clinicians who treat male patients for sexual disorders and/or council couples on infertility issues should consider the degree of endurance exercise training a man is performing as a potential complicating factor.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Libido / physiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Conditioning, Human* / methods
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult