The most immediate effect exercise has on sex may be to help wean you off near-ubiquitous medications that kill libido and increase the odds of erectile dysfunction. Lowering blood pressure by working out can mean safely dropping antihypertensive meds, such as diuretics, which decrease blood flow to the penis, or beta blockers, which may relax you to the point of non-arousal. The pharma elephant in the room: SSRI drugs that combat depression, often at the cost of a shrunken libido. "Depression is incompatible with sex drive," says University of Washington sexologist Pepper Schwartz, "and most of the meds people take for it will kill your sex drive effectively and quickly." Yet another benefit of exercise: It's proven to combat mild depression as well as SSRIs.
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