Less fat = better sex. Why?
Hyperlipidemia is when there is too much fat in the blood, which comes from eating a high fat diet. This doesn't just affect men. Women with hyperlipidemia have significantly lower arousal, lubrication, orgasm and satisfaction1. Eating fatty food causes our blood vessels to stiffen and makes the heart have to work extra hard to pump blood to the body. Even after one fatty meal, such as chicken and cheese in one study, the blood vessels become measurably stiffer a few hours later2. When blood vessels, arteries and veins are more elastic, blood is able to move more freely and the heart does not have to work as hard.
In addition to stiffening the blood vessels, fatty foods also cause build up in the blood vessels. In fact, the blood vessels going to the penis3 and clitoris4 are some of the smallest in the body. So, long before a person sees signs of heart disease, they will notice that sexual pleasure and function5 decline6s. In fact, men who are diagnosed with ED in their 40’s are 50 times more likely to develop Coronary artery disease7. The good news is that even after damaging blood vessels with high fat, changes in diet can help normalize blood flow to the genitals8.
1 Esposito K1, Ciotola M1, Maiorino MI1, Giugliano F2, Autorino R2, De Sio M2, Cozzolino D3, Saccomanno F1, Giugliano D1.(2009). Hyperlipidemia and sexual function in premenopausal women. J Sex Med. 2009 Jun;6(6):1696-1703.
2 Lithander, F. E., Herlihy, L. K., Walsh, D. M., Burke, E., Crowley, V., & Mahmud, A. (2013). Postprandial effect of dietary fat quantity and quality on arterial stiffness and wave reflection: a randomised controlled trial. Nutrition journal, 12, 93
Nicholls SJ1, Lundman P, Harmer JA, Cutri B, Griffiths KA, Rye KA, Barter PJ, Celermajer DS.(2006). Consumption of saturated fat impairs the anti-inflammatory properties of high-density lipoproteins and endothelial function. J Am Coll Cardiol.Aug 15;48(4):715-20
3 Randrup E, Baum N, Feibus A. (2015) Erectile dysfunction and cardiovascular disease, Postgraduate Medicine, 127:2, 166-172,
4 Hannan, J. L., Cheung, G. L., Blaser, M. C., Pang, J. J., Pang, S. C., Webb, R. C., & Adams, M. A. (2012). Characterization of the vasculature supplying the genital tissues in female rats. The journal of sexual medicine, 9(1), 136–147.
5 Diaconu CC, Manea M, Marcu DR, Socea B, Spinu AD, Bratu OG. The erectile dysfunction as a marker of cardiovascular disease: a review.Acta Cardiol. 2019 Apr 6:1-7.
6 Meldrum DR, Gambone JC, Morris MA, Meldrum DA, Esposito K, Ignarro LJ.The link between erectile and cardiovascular health: the canary in the coal mine. Am J Cardiol. 2011 Aug 15; 108(4):599-606. Epub 2011 May 31.
7 Inman, B. A., Sauver, J. L., Jacobson, D. J., McGree, M. E., Nehra, A., Lieber, M. M., … Jacobsen, S. J. (2009). A population-based, longitudinal study of erectile dysfunction and future coronary artery disease. Mayo Clinic proceedings, 84(2), 108–113.
8 Huang YC, Ho DR, Lin JH, Huang KT, Chen CS, Shi CS. Dietary Modification Is Associated with Normalization of Penile Hemodynamics in Rats Fed a High-Fat Diet. J Sex Med. 2019 Jun;16(6):791-802.