Top Ways Sleep Apnea Can Ruin Your Sex Life

The Links Between Sleep Apnea and Sex Drive

Sex life a snore? Looking for answers? Well, before reading any further, we’ll ask one simple question: Do either of you snore? If the answer is yes or you’re not sure, read on.

Sleep apnea, erectile dysfunction and sex drive problems like low or no libido might sound like strange bedfellows. But the common tie that binds them all together is a chronic lack of quality sleep—usually due to undiagnosed sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or insomnia.

Many people will experience struggles with a lack of desire or low sex drive at some point in their lives for a variety of reasons. Worries about outside stressors such as relationship problems, financial troubles, conflicting work schedules, busy family life, excessive alcohol consumption, and weight gain can all be causes of sleepless nights and lack of sex drive. The list of possibilities seems endless, but it’s usually a combination of many factors. However, common sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, restless leg, and insomnia could also be in play. Over time, Sleep apnea, erectile dysfunction and low sex drive can lead to far more serious issues than just in the bedroom—they increase the risk for heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and other serious health problems. 

With all that going on, it’s no wonder people don’t feel like getting it on. But you might be surprised to learn how closely sleep apnea and erectile dysfunction are connected. Sleep apnea and sex drive have pretty tight ties, too. Of course, some medications or medical conditions can also cause erectile dysfunction or low libido, but anyone can suffer from a sleep disorder, so it’s a great starting point for getting to the heart of the matter and back to intimacy.

  1. Good sleep is important for a healthy sexual desire and genital response, as well as the likelihood of engaging in partnered sexual activity. (Journal of Sexual Medicine) Plus, decades of studies show that the need for good quality and duration of sleep for good overall health holds true despite gender.
  2. 1 in 10 men is estimated to have erectile dysfunction at some point in his lifetime. (Cleveland Clinic, 2019)
  3. Sleep is the body’s self-maintenance mode. Testosterone is a hormone critical to sexual function, and men produce it at night. Lack of quality sleep due to untreated sleep apnea can reduce testosterone levels, which in turn lowers energy, strength, and stamina. Sleep apnea also shrinks the libido and impairs the ability to achieve and maintain an erection, and now you’re dealing with erectile dysfunction and increased health risks.
  4. In one research study on sleep apnea: 51 percent of the men had sleep apnea and erectile dysfunction. Before going straight for the blue pill, talk to your doctor or a sleep specialist.
  5. Many research studies consistently show that up to 69 percent of men with sleep disorders experience some form of sexual dysfunction. Of course, age is also a factor, but sleep apnea can occur at any age.
  6. Sleep apnea reduces oxygen levels. Since oxygen plays an important role in achieving and maintaining healthy erections and your overall health, any long-term deficiency can lead to bigger problems, both in and out of bed. 
  7. A 2018 study found men with untreated sleep apnea are 23 percent more likely to report low libido than men who do not have untreated sleep apnea. 

The Ins and Outs of CPAP Intimacy 

While CPAP therapy doesn’t sound sexy, neither does erectile dysfunction. And CPAP and intimacy can be quite compatible—women and men undergoing CPAP treatment report more satisfying and fulfilling sex lives. 

Remember that 51 percent of men with sleep apnea and erectile dysfunction? The research also showed that for the majority of those surveyed receiving treatment by CPAP, intimacy, erection quality, frequency, and sexual satisfaction improved. The common tie? Better sleep. That’s good news and a great reason to talk with an experienced sleep specialist today. Trust us, it’s a lot less painful than dealing with the effects of sleep apnea and erectile dysfunction.

Whether it’s lack of sex from low desire, performance problems, or other issues, one thing is certain: when we add snoring into the mix in the bedroom, getting a good night’s sleep can feel impossible, and lack of sleep resulting creates a bit of a vicious circle. 

If you or your partner snores loudly, you should seek advice from a sleep specialist to determine whether or not a sleep study should be conducted. If you or your partner is diagnosed with sleep apnea, it’s essential to get treatment. Schedule an appointment with a sleep specialist today

Want more in-depth statistics about men and erectile dysfunction? Check out the 2021 erectile dysfunction statistics report from Singlecare.