When Men Have Sex On An Empty Stomach, This Is What Happens

When we're in the mood for sex, we're in the mood for sex. We may not think much about whether we're full or on an empty stomach. Or do we?

Turns out that although you should avoid going to bed on an empty stomach, there might be a benefit to engaging in some sexy time with your partner when you wake up and before you've eaten. Having sex on an empty stomach could improve a man's performance, per Medical Daily. And it all has to do with blood flow. When you've just eaten, blood flow in your body is directed toward your digestive system. This means, there's less blood being directed to your nether regions. When you're on an empty stomach, your body's energy and blood flow aren't distracted, put very simply, and available for intimate bedtime activities and corresponding physiological requirements. 

Board-certified OB/GYN Dr. Felice Gersh explained to Well+Good, "When we eat a big meal, we have to digest that big meal, and that takes a lot of energy. You may notice that while you're digesting food, you don't feel like you have enough energy for sex." Drowsiness could follow a full stomach, which again can be a problem when you're trying to achieve an erection. Does this mean all sexual encounters must be programmed for when you're hungry? Not really. 

Sex when you're hungry might not be as pleasurable

According to a 2023 study published in the journal Psychophysiology, both men and women may not derive the same amount of pleasure from physical touch if they're hungry, and this has to do with the hunger hormone ghrelin. 

The study employed 67 participants from both sexes. After conducting the experiment — which involved gently touching the participants' shins on one day when they'd not eaten and another day when they were full and observing their brain scans — researchers found that the volunteers reported experiencing lower levels of pleasure on the day when they hadn't eaten (via New York Post). 

The release of ghrelin negatively impacted sexual urge, per the study. According to the researchers, per the New York Post, "Ghrelin might contribute to down-regulating the value of social stimuli to promote food-seeking instead [of focusing on pleasure]. Our results show that, beyond its established role as an appetite-stimulating hormone, ghrelin is also involved in assigning value to social rewards such as touch." So when should men (and women) be having sex for optimal pleasure?

The best sex happens when you're mentally and physically comfortable

There's no one-size-fits-all answer as to when you should be having sex — before or after a meal. Experts recommend assessing your level of physical and mental comfort before you attempt sexual activities with your partner. 

If an empty stomach is what makes you feel most randy, then go for it. If you're feeling "hangry" and irritable, though, you're better off getting a bite to eat before canoodling with your significant other. Nothing kills a mood more than snappy comments or unloving gestures during sex. There might be a sweet spot between an empty stomach and being full-on hungry that you can capitalize on too. 

You may want to pay attention to what you're eating if you decide to eat before sex. Some foods might be aphrodisiacs, while others do the opposite. Eating these foods before sex could get in the way of erections (for men), getting turned on (for women), and general enjoyment levels for both. While cruciferous vegetables, carbonated beverages, and high-fiber foods like fruits and wholemeal grains could increase your chances of passing gas or belching during sex, coffee might hinder sexual appetite by elevating your stress hormone and salty meals might hamper your ability to reach an orgasm, per Good Housekeeping. At the end of the day, it's about exercising sound judgment and being mindful of your body and how you're feeling.