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What is Fasting & How Does it Affect Your Sexual Health?

What is fasting? Fasting means abstaining from food or drink, often for a specific length of time. It is believed to provide various health benefits, like weight loss, improved insulin sensitivity, and increased autophagy. (Autophagy is the process by which the body breaks down and recycles old or damaged cells.)

Fasting can have impacts on sexual health, ranging from hormone and energy fluctuations to altered male sexual function. For example, depending on the type of fast, the metabolism can even slow down and decrease testosterone levels in men. Decreased testosterone then equates to less drive and desire for sexual activity.

Additionally, fasting can affect the circulation of the body’s hormone supplies, including human growth hormone and progesterone. Prolonged fasting can inhibit the production of the hormones necessary for the proper functioning of the reproductive system.

As for how intimacy during fasting may be altered, there is limited research on the topic. Available studies have produced mixed results. However, some research suggests that intermittent fasting may help with erectile dysfunction while also increasing sexual satisfaction in men with obesity or metabolic syndrome. This could be due to the improvements in insulin sensitivity and decrease inflammation that can result from fasting.

However, fasting reduces nutrient availability and the energy substrates required for physiological processes, which could negatively impact the overall quality of sexual health. Some studies have found that prolonged fasting or calorie restriction can adversely affect reproductive health. Fasting may cause decreases in both libido and sperm quality.

It is important to note that the studies referenced here were conducted with animal models. More research is needed to determine whether similar effects occur in humans.

It is also important to note that fasting, prolonged fasting or fasting for extended periods, can cause stress on the body and may lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and other potential health risks. For safety and health reasons, if you are considering fasting, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider first. Be sure to discuss any potential risks or concerns related to your sexual health with your provider.

Can You Have Sex While Fasting

Can You Have Sex While Fasting

Yes, it is generally physically safe to have sex while fasting. Fasting does not directly affect your ability to have sex, although it may affect your energy levels and libido. Some may experience a decrease in sex drive while fasting, while others may feel an increase in sexual desire.

For some people, answering this question also involves staying mindful of their religious practices and rules. If you are fasting for religious reasons, the details of whether or not you can have sex while fasting will vary according to your faith. Generally speaking, most Islamic traditions involve abstaining from physical intimacy during fasting. However, concerning other religions and spiritual disciplines, such as Christianity or Buddhism, fasts may have varying rules when it comes to engaging in sexual activities. Religious faith traditions are diverse in their specific codes and guidelines around sexuality during fasting.

Some religious fasts involved limits on the water as well as food. It is important to note that if you are dehydrated from fasting, this may affect your vaginal lubrication or erectile function. It’s important to listen to your body and prioritize your own comfort and safety. If you feel too weak or dizzy to engage in sexual activity, it may be best to wait until you break your fast and correctly hydrate and fuel your body.

Fasting and Sex Drive – How It Affects Hormone Levels

Fasting can affect hormone levels, which, in turn, can affect sex drive. Fasting has been linked to changes in many aspects of physical and mental health. This includes changes in hormone levels. Research shows that fasting can decrease testosterone and estrogen levels, which may often result in a lower sex drive.

This dip in hormone levels is caused by the body needing to spend energy on digestion instead of reproduction. In addition, prolonged periods of fasting have been found to lead to a decrease in the production of the neurotransmitter dopamine. This matters because one of the hormones is responsible for triggering pleasurable activities.

●      In men, fasting has been shown to increase levels of luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and testosterone. These hormones play essential roles in male reproductive health and can contribute to an increase in sex drive.

●      In women, fasting can affect the balance of hormones, particularly estrogen, and progesterone, thus impacting sex drive. As a result, some women may experience decreased sex drive during fasting due to changes in their hormone levels.

While studies have suggested positive benefits, regular fasting should only be done while consulting with a medical professional. Excessive amounts of time without food can cause harm or health issues.

Be aware that the effects of fasting on sex drive can vary from person to person, and there is no definitive answer as to how it will affect any individual. It’s also worth noting that other factors, such as stress, sleep, and overall health, can alter sex drive. If you have concerns about how fasting might affect your sexual health, speak with a healthcare provider.

Does Fasting Help You Sexually with Health and Performance

While some evidence suggests that fasting may have positive impacts on sexual health and performance, more research is needed. Some studies have found that fasting can improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation, potentially leading to improvements in erectile function issues or other aspects of sexual health. Additionally, some animal studies have shown fasting to increase testosterone levels, although the evidence in humans is limited.

However, fasting can also cause fatigue and other side effects, which could potentially harm sexual health and performance. Some may find that fasting decreases libido or sexual interest. While there is some promising evidence regarding the potential benefits of fasting for sexual health and performance, more evidence is needed to fully understand these effects and determine whether they are significant enough to warrant recommending fasting specifically for these purposes. 

As with any lifestyle change, discussing any fasting plans with a healthcare provider before starting is essential.

Intermittent Fasting Libido – The Pros & Cons of Utilizing

There is limited research on the direct effects of intermittent fasting on libido. Still, some studies have suggested that intermittent fasting may positively or negatively affect sexual health and performance.

1. On the positive side, intermittent fasting has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, reduce inflammation, and promote weight loss, which can indirectly benefit sexual health. These improvements may help improve blood flow, increase testosterone levels, or enhance libido and sexual performance.

2. On the negative side, some people may experience the side effects of fasting, such as headaches, fatigue, and irritability. These symptoms can negatively impact sexual desire and performance. In addition, not consuming enough calories or nutrients can also lead to nutrient deficiencies and other health issues that may negatively affect both overall health and sexual health.

Sexual health is a complex issue affected by many factors, including diet, exercise, stress, sleep, and mental health. If you are experiencing sexual health issues, talking to a healthcare professional who can help determine the underlying cause and develop an appropriate treatment plan is essential.

Long-Term Fasting and Libido – Risks & Side Effects

It is crucial to ensure that you meet your nutrient needs, even when fasting for an extended period. Long-term fasting without proper medical supervision can present risks and side effects that may affect libido and sexual health. Some of these include:

Nutritional deficiencies

Long-term fasting can lead to nutrient deficiencies, including zinc, magnesium, or vitamin D deficiency. These nutrients are important for sexual health and can impact overall vitality as well as libido. For example:

●      Zinc plays a critical role in testosterone production, which is essential for sexual desire and performance.

●      Magnesium is vital for muscle function, including the muscles involved in sexual activity.

●      Vitamin D plays a role in sexual health and has been linked to increased testosterone levels and improved erectile function.

Hormonal imbalances

Prolonged fasting can affect the levels of various hormones, including testosterone and estrogen. Testosterone is an essential hormone for male sexual health, while estrogen is important for female sexual health. If levels of these hormones drop too low due to prolonged fasting, it can decrease libido and sexual function. The extent to which fasting affects hormone levels can vary, depending on the individual and the specific fasting regimen being followed.

Stress and fatigue

Prolonged fasting can stress the body and lead to fatigue, affecting sexual desire and performance. This is because the body is focused on conserving energy and may not have the resources to devote to sexual function. The body’s hormonal stress response from prolonged fasting can cause a decrease in intimacy during fasting. Therefore, listening to your body and prioritizing your health and well-being is important. 

If you experience any negative effects on your sexual health, it may be a sign that you must adjust your fasting regimen or seek medical advice.


Dehydration can undoubtedly negatively affect the body. It may cause reduced physical performance, fatigue, or discomfort. Long-term fasting should only be done under medical supervision. Appropriate hydration and nutrient intake can help prevent these issues. Engaging in prolonged fasting calls for supervision and guidance from a licensed healthcare professional. 


Malnutrition resulting from prolonged fasting can present serious health risks. Symptoms such as a weakened immune system and fatigue will, of course, also negatively impact sexual health. Ensuring the body gets enough essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and protein, is vital to maintain overall health and wellness. Again, if you are planning to fast, consult with a qualified healthcare provider to ensure your health and safety.

Fasting and Increased Libido

Fasting and Increased Libido – How to Correctly Incorporate It to Improve Your Sex Life

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to how fasting can affect an individual’s libido and sexual health, as it can vary depending on their unique physiology and lifestyle factors. However, there are some ways to protect your sexual health during a fast:

●      Avoid prolonged fasting:

Long-term fasting can negatively impact general health, libido, and sexual health, as discussed earlier. Instead, consider incorporating shorter fasts, such as intermittent fasting or time-restricted feeding, which have been suggested to have potential health benefits.

●      Maintain adequate nutrient intake:

To avoid nutrient deficiencies, make sure to consume a balanced diet with sufficient amounts of essential vitamins and minerals. For example, foods that are rich in zinc, magnesium, and vitamin D, such as nuts, seeds, fish, and dairy products, can be particularly beneficial for sexual health. For more info, discuss the details of your diet plan with a registered nutritionist or medical doctor.

●      Stay hydrated:

Dehydration can negatively affect sexual performance, so it is vital to stay well-hydrated during fasting periods. Be sure to drink enough water and electrolyte-rich fluids to maintain hydration.

●      Avoid overexertion:

While exercise has potential benefits for sexual health, overexertion during fasting periods can lead to fatigue and stress on the body. Try to avoid overtraining and prioritize rest and recovery to maintain optimal health and performance.

●      Listen to your body:

Pay attention to how fasting affects your body and adjust accordingly. If you experience any negative side effects, like fatigue or decreased libido, consider changing your fasting regimen or seeking medical care.

The Science Behind Intermittent Fasting and Libido Men

There is limited research that specifically examines the relationship between intermittent fasting and libido in men. However, some studies have suggested that intermittent fasting may positively impact men’s sexual health. One 2017 study, published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, found that men who followed a calorie-restricted diet for two years experienced significant improvement in their erectile function and sexual desire, compared to a control group. This study did not specifically use intermittent fasting, but it suggests that some forms of dietary restriction may positively affect sexual health in men.

Another study published in the World Journal of Men’s Health in 2020 examined the effects of intermittent fasting on male rats. The study found that rats who underwent intermittent fasting had improved sexual function and increased testosterone levels compared to rats who did not fast. While more research is needed to fully understand the relationship between intermittent fasting and sexual health in men, these studies suggest that calorie restrictions, including intermittent fasting, may have potential benefits. If you have questions about the possible positive benefits of intermittent fasting, talk to your doctor. 

Fasting May Have Positive Impacts on Sexual Health & Performance

It is important to understand the health implications of sex during fasting. While some studies suggest that intermittent fasting may improve libido and sexual function in men, prolonged fasting and nutrient deficiencies can have negative impacts.

If you consider incorporating fasting into your lifestyle to enhance your sexual health and performance, it is crucial to do so safely and responsibly. Consult a healthcare professional about how to include enough nutrient-dense foods and fluids to prevent malnutrition and dehydration.

Additionally, exercise and stress-reduction techniques may also help improve sexual health and performance and can be incorporated alongside fasting. Be sure to talk to a licensed medical provider before you make a plan to change your lifestyle.  Most importantly, always listen to your body and make adjustments to ensure that fasting is enhancing, rather than detracting from, your overall health and well-being.

William is from Canada, he is passionate nutrition & wellness writer. William understands that the topic of wellness is still not well understood, so his goal is to enlighten and teach people how to live healthier and happier in their bodies.

Courtney Barber is a mental health counselor, health writer, wellness educator, and founder of Belladonna Wellness. She holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and an undergraduate degree in Health Arts, both from Goddard College in Plainfield, VT. Courtney is currently in private practice in the Albany, NY area and is also a virtual clinician at Holistic Wellness and Recovery, based in Buffalo, NY. Additionally, Courtney is Director of Behavioral Health at, a nationally recognized administrator of behavioral health programs for labor unions and professional associations. Courtney has written for publications such as Health Digest,, American Addiction Centers, and the Massachusetts Teachers Association.

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