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5 unexpected ways your work life affects your sex life

(Photo credit: iStock/nullplus)

Spring is finally here, which means that the birds and the bees are back at it again. In honour of this season of spring fever, here are five things in your day-to-day work life that could be affecting your sex life — for better or for worse.

1. Coffee: Don’t drink too much

Fear not, espresso enthusiasts: your morning pick-me-up in the boardroom may have the same effect in the bedroom. A 2015 study from Texas revealed that men who drank the equivalent of two to three cups of coffee per day were about 40 per cent less likely to report erectile dysfunction than caffeine avoiders — possibly due to improved local blood flow. As for women, female mice that were dosed with caffeine 30 minutes before mating were much more interested in going back for more.

Hot tip: Don’t overdo it. Research suggests that drinking more than five cups of coffee a day raises your risk of both anxiety and clogged arteries, which can put a damper on your performance.

2. Late nights: Lack of sleep lowers the libido

Working long hours to meet that deadline could leave your partner unsatisfied in more ways than one. A 2015 study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine showed that women who shortchanged their overnight sleep had significantly lower libidos the next day, while those who slumbered just one extra hour were 14 per cent more likely to couple up with their partners. Not only that, but testosterone, the primary male sex hormone, tends to peak with sound, prolonged sleep. In fact, one week of five-hour sleeps torpedoed testosterone in young men by up to 15 per cent — about the same drop associated with 10 to 15 years of aging.

Hot tips:

  • Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep per night to optimize your hormone levels.
  • If you can’t swing this during the week, catching up on your sleep over the weekend can reverse some of the damage.

3. Electronic devices: Switch off to save your sperm

Screenaholics beware. Emerging evidence indicates that being joined at the hip with your electronic work devices can increase your risk of both impotence and infertility. A recent pilot study from Austria showed that men with erectile dysfunction carried their switched-on phones about two and a half hours longer per day compared to healthy men, while Ukrainian researchers discovered that sperm samples exposed to electromagnetic cell phone radiation became aimless and genetically fragmented. When it comes to using a laptop on your lap, the double whammy of radiant heat and those pesky electromagnetic waves can also leave your sperm quality lacking.

Hot tips: 

  • Keep your phone as far away from your body as possible (man purse, anyone?).
  • Switch your phone off when it’s in your pocket.
  • If you must type away without a desk, try propping your laptop up on a couple of pillows to put some distance between you and your device.

4. Stale office air: Smelly settings encourage condom use

Believe it or not, sitting in a cubicle near the restroom or a chronically less-than-fresh coworker could be a boon for your sexual health. In a 2011 New Mexico study, undergraduate students who completed a sex survey in a room scented with imitation poop reported a significantly higher intent to use condoms in the future than those in a non-smelly room. Scientists believe that this subconscious urge to shield yourself in response to a bad odour may be your brain’s way of trying to keep you infection-free.

Hot tips:

  • Try to look on the bright side when you’re wrinkling your nose all day.
  • Even if your office smells like roses, remember to play it safe and use protection when appropriate.

5. Fast Food: Bad food may end in bad sex

It’s no surprise that long-term consumption of unhealthy foods can raise your risk of developing artery-narrowing diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes. But did you know that just one bad meal could have immediate effects on your performance between the sheets? In fact, a study from the University of Calgary revealed that students who ate two takeout breakfast sandwiches slowed blood flow in their arm vessels by 20 per cent two hours later. What you drink matters, too — researchers in Boston found that testosterone levels in men who drank the sugary equivalent of two cans of pop tanked by 25 per cent, with the effects lasting for up to two hours. Add reduced blood flow to low testosterone and you may have a recipe for the bedroom blues.

Hot tips: 

  • Enjoy home-cooked meals as much as possible to control the amount of salt and saturated fat in your diet.
  • If you don’t have time to pack your lunch in the morning, opt for veggie and protein-rich takeout over greasy, carb-heavy choices.
  • Don’t forget to swap out that juice or pop for water or other sugar-free beverages to avoid that mid-afternoon (and midnight) droop.