Japanese researchers came to the conclusion that lack of sexual desire could be an indicator of underlying health problemswhich would predict a premature death in those people with a low libido.
The study was conducted by a team of researchers from Yamagata University in Japan and was published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE. For the investigation the medical data of 20,969 people were analyzed (8,558 men and 12,411 women over 40 years of age) for more than a decade, who were given a questionnaire to assess their sexual interest. The goal was determine the relationship between libido and “all-cause” mortalityincluding cardiovascular disease and cancer.
The results indicated that men with a low sexual desire are almost twice as likely to die an early death. “Lack of sexual interest is suggested to be a risk factor for all-cause mortality in Japanese men older than 40 years,” he explained in the study.
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To make sure the relationship was accurate, the researchers took into account factors such as age, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, alcoholism, education, marital status, psychological distress, among others. However, they held that the relationship between high mortality and low libido could exist. “The risk of all-cause mortality was significantly higher among men who had no sexual interest than men who had sexual interest,” they detailed.
Along these lines, the results showed that men over 40 with low sexual desire were more likely to increase cancer mortalityas well as of fail for all causes of death. However, there were no statistical effects showing that it increases cardiovascular mortality.
During follow-up, 503 subjects died: 67 from cardiovascular diseases and 162 from cancer. When analyzing the relationship between a low libido and the incidence of cardiovascular events and cancerthe researchers stated that “we found no statistically significant associations.”
Compared with men who reported sexual desire, those without libido “included significantly higher percentages who currently smoked, were former drinkers, were psychologically distressed, laughed relatively infrequently, and had lower educational attainment.” Also, the rate of diabetes was higher in this group.
As to womenthe researchers found no relationship between their low libido and mortality, although they did find that low sexual desire is more common in women than in men.
This research is pioneering in analyzing the relationship between sexual desire and mortality. Being an observational study, causality cannot be considered with certainty. In addition, they detailed that “they do not know exactly how the lack of sexual interest affects health and longevity.”
However, they maintained that this lack of sexual desire could be related to “unhealthy lifestyles”. Along these lines, they stated that “if we assume that sexual interest is related to positive psychological factors, the lack of interest could affect a series of inflammatory, neuroendocrine, and immune responses.”
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Added to this, the scientists warned of the possibility that they may have been victims of “some degree of bias” in choosing subjects to study, which would make it impossible to generalize the data. For example, only around 200 people from the LGBT+ community participated and all individuals under 40 years of age were excluded, making it impossible to know whether this relationship between libido and mortality applies only to those with recent low sexual desire or whether it also reaches to those who were characterized by having a low sexual interest throughout their lives.
Despite the limitations, the researchers maintained that “the findings of this study supported the idea that maintaining sexual interest has positive effects on longevityespecially in men.”
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