Smoking cigarettes can actually have a negative effect on your vaginal health, your sex life in general apart from it being pretty harmful to every organ in your body and causing several diseases.
According to Caroline Mitchell, MD, director of the vulvovaginal disorders program at Mass General Hospital, when people smoke tobacco, nicotine compounds can later be found inside their cervical mucous. “So, [tobacco byproducts] are absolutely there,” she says. As you can imagine, having even minuscule amounts of nicotine inside your vagina is not great.
With that being said, vaginas are delicate ecosystems, and smoke compounds can “change the immune profile of the cervix and vagina,” says Dr. Mitchell.
Your immune system may be less effective at fighting certain infections and on top of that, studies insinuate that smoking can damage the DNA of cervical cells, so women who smoke are twice as likely as non-smokers to get cervical cancer.
Apart from cancer and HPV, people who smoke have a much higher prevalence of bacterial vaginosis (BV) and it’s hard to draw any conclusions about exactly why this is so. But it’s totally likely that smoking could change the bacteria inside your vagina. BV typically comes with a range of uncomfortable symptoms, like itching and vaginal discharge with an odour, so it can be pretty annoying to deal with. And when you have BV, you’re usually advised to hold off having sex until the infection passes. If you’re a smoker who happens to get BV a lot, then stopping may keep infections at bay.
So when it comes to sexual purpose, the effects of smoking are a little dimmer. People with penises who have erectile dysfunction may benefit from quitting smoking. Smoking cigarettes cause your blood vessels to contract, which could also make it harder for blood to flow to a person’s penis and cause an erection.
This wonder hasn’t been examined on people with vaginas, although it makes sense that decreased blood flow could change vaginal lubrication or make sex less comfortable.
However, smoking marijuana has an aphrodisiac effect and can actually increase your sex drive.