Do Vegans Last Longer in Bed?
PETA is making waves with a NSFW ad that claims vegans are better in bed (check it out below, but you've been warned!). The commercial is too raunchy to air during the Super Bowl, but that hasn't stopped millions of people from watching the steamy sex scene on YouTube. The premise of the ad is pretty simple: In a side-by-side (or bed-to-bed) comparison, a vegan guy lasts longer (a LOT longer) than the meat-eating man. PETA’s accompanying press release ties a vegan diet to a reduced risk of high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, prostate cancer, inflammation, and erectile dysfunction. But where's the science?

It's pretty clear at this point that diet, sleep, exercise, and stress management affect our energy levels, body image, and overall desire to get it on, says Kat Van Kirk, Ph.D., a sex and marriage therapist and Greatist expert. “Your sex life will be affected if you’re leading an unhealthy lifestyle,” she says.

People who are eating little to moderate amounts of red meat don’t seem to be having any issues.

"Healthy lifestyle" doesn't necessarily mean vegan. Red meat consumption has been linked to increased inflammation in the body, which can impact your blood flow and sometimes affects men's ability to maintain an erection, Van Kirk says. “But people who are eating little to moderate amounts of red meat don’t seem to be having any issues,” she says. Translation: Unless you’re eating a burger for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, there’s no reason to worry. (If you're a fan of chicken, you're totally in the clear—no research links poultry consumption to trouble maintaining erections.)

PETA also cites a study that links men who eat a diet rich in flavonoids—a nutrient found in strawberries, blueberries, and apples—with a decreased risk of developing erectile dysfunction.Dietary flavonoid intake and incidence of erectile dysfunction. Cassidy A, Franz M, Rimm EB. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 2016, Jan.;():1938-3207. While this study does hold merit (the sex experts we consulted gave it a thumbs up), eating lots of fruit and being vegan are two different things—not to mention, the study never mentions the words "vegetarian" or "vegan". “You can be a healthy meat eater who exercises regularly and eats a diet rich in flavonoids just like you can be a very unhealthy non-meat eater,” says Jessica O’Reilly, Ph.D., a sexologist and Greatist expert.

As for the other components of a vegan diet, Van Kirk says she hasn’t seen any research which links other animal byproducts (think: eggs or dairy) to decreased performance in bed.

Male endurance (and female arousal) is often affected by stuff going on inside our heads.

We keep using the phrase “performance in bed,” but that could be connected to so many things (lasting long, climaxing, or feeling pleasure). And while we're talking about it, lasting longer isn't the be-all and end-all in the bedroom. “You don’t get a prize for lasting longer than your neighbor in bed,” O'Reilly says. “The number of constant thrusts you can offer is not a way to measure how satisfied your partner is.” Male endurance (and female arousal) is often affected by stuff going on inside our heads anyway, like psyching ourselves out and thinking negatively about our own bodies, Van Kirk says.

So the ad's slogan—“Last longer. Go Vegan”—isn't very accurate. Still, there are some important takeaways: Your lifestyle affects your sex life, but making healthier choices can mean so many different things. And if you’re having a problem in bed, speak up! Communication with your partner and your doctor is not only normal, it’s important. “Everyone has to be a consumer about their sexuality and their own health,” Van Kirk says. “Don’t believe everything you see, and if you have a question or even just an opinion, talk to your friends, doctors, or therapists about it.”

Check out the full ad from PETA below.

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