Do you enjoy relaxing with a “Game of Thrones” marathon at the end of a long day? While television can be entertaining, a new study suggests that it could be potentially harmful to your fertility. While we have long known that the sedentary act of television watching can lead to increased weight gain and decreased physical activity, this study is the first of its kind to link T.V. time with lowered sperm count.
The study, which was published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, found that men who watch 20 hours of television a week have significantly less sperm (half the amount) then men who rarely watch television.
The Harvard School of Public Health researchers were led by Dr. Jorge Chavarro, and they surveyed almost 200 men of the ages 18-22. Along with T.V. habits, the researchers examined their exercise habits and their diet, as well as their history of smoking.
They found that the men who exercised 15 or more hours a week had more sperm than men who did not exercise or men who only exercise lightly. Hence, it was moderate to vigorous exercise—think jogging, swimming, hiking, etc.—which was found to have an impact on sperm health and volume.
The good news is that while the men who watched 15 or hours of T.V. a week had decreased sperm count, the sperm that they did have was healthy. Additionally, it’s important to remember that the research still needs further exploration—other factors that might come with T.V. watching (such as snacking on junk food, overindulgence in alcohol, not getting enough exercise, etc.) could be the reason why sperm count is impacted.
Furthermore, the young men in this study were not trying to have a baby, so the long-term effect of T.V. watching on their fertility is unknown.
Still, the study is important because it demonstrates the powerful effect that lifestyle habits can have on our sexual health, not to mention, our relationships. Relying on the television as your sole form of entertainment and stress relief can be harmful across the board. Instead of going to the gym or spending quality time with your partner, you zone out in front of the T.V. Instead of making the effort to prepare a nice meal or go on a date, you order in a pizza or other unhealthy takeout. All of this can do a number on your waistline, but it can also be harmful to your health, your sleep, your stress level, and your relationship.
Quality time together can include Netflix on occasion, but if you and your partner spend most of your time together in front of the T.V., you will only end up feeling lethargic and uninspired, but you will also struggle with your sexual connection. A night spent watching T.V. in your sweats can end up making you view your partner as platonic roommate of your sorts, but a nice night out when you both make an effort to look your best can help to keep those flames ignited. Not to mention, it will allow for actual conversation and connection, something that can be hard to accomplish when a sitcom is blaring in the background.
Hence, whether you are trying to get pregnant or you simply want to improve your relationship and increase your passion, consider decreasing your T.V. time. Set goals you can stick to—such as an hour of T.V. a night or no T.V. in the bedroom—and then swap out your couch potato time with more exercise. Get active with your partner outside of the bedroom, and you will have more energy and desire inside the bedroom as well.