• Blood Pressure;
  • Body Mass Index;
  • Sexual Intercourse


Introduction.  A growing literature links aspects of sexual and cardiovascular function. Recent research revealed that pulse pressure (systolic minus diastolic) was associated with poorer erectile function (and hypogonadism) in male patients with erectile dysfunction. It is unclear to what degree pulse pressure (and body mass index) would be associated with aspects of sexual function in a younger, healthy sample (controlling for possible confounders).

Aims.  To examine the associations of frequency of specific sexual behaviors with both resting pulse pressure and body mass index.

Methods.  Sixty-five healthy young men (mean age 25.2 ± 4.6 years) had their resting blood pressure, weight, and height recorded, and reported the frequency of their various sexual activities.

Main Outcome Measures.  Correlations of pulse pressure with different sexual behaviors (univariate and adjusted for possible confounding variables including age, mean blood pressure, body mass index, social desirability responding score, and cohabitation status).

Results.  For these healthy young men, on univariate and adjusted analyses, pulse pressure was not significantly associated with frequencies of penile–vaginal intercourse, other partnered sexual activity, or masturbation. In contrast, body mass index was associated with lesser frequency of penile–vaginal intercourse but not other sexual behaviors.

Conclusions.  The association of pulse pressure with sexual function previously observed in older men was not observed in this younger healthy sample. Other measures of arterial stiffness might be indicated in a healthy young population. Even within the normal range and adjusted for possible confounders, increasing body mass index (a rough proxy for body fat) is associated with reduced frequency of specifically penile–vaginal intercourse, which might be a result of some combination of characterological and hormonal factors. Brody S. Body mass index but not pulse pressure is associated with lesser penile–vaginal intercourse frequency in healthy young men. J Sex Med 2010;7:1853–1857.