There’s an old saying that the clothes make the man, but that’s not true when it comes to sexual performance. In fact, sans the suit, all men face their sexual partners with a bare package, so you best make sure you are bringing your best to the bedroom. How can you help ensure erectile dysfunction won’t get in the way?
Here are 8 musts for a super sex life that you can make a part of your lifestyle.
If you want to perform well in the bedroom, then you had better keep moving on the outside. Regular aerobic exercise promotes optimal blood circulation, lowers blood pressure, lessens stress and tension, boosts energy, and can also help with erectile dysfunction.
Evidence of the value of exercise for erectile dysfunction has been accumulating for years. In a new (October 2016) systematic review and meta-analysis, investigators evaluated the results of seven studies involving 478 men with erectile dysfunction and the effect of exercise. They concluded that exercise, and especially moderate to vigorous aerobic activity, improves erectile dysfunction.
Back off on the booze
Enjoying a bottle of beer or a glass of wine with family, friends, or that special someone can help shake off some stress, but that’s where it should end. Excessive alcohol consumption doesn’t make you a star in the bedroom; in fact, it could mean lights out when it comes to erectile function.
Not only can alcohol consumption induce erectile dysfunction, as demonstrated in a Brazilian study; it also contributes to depression, which is a significant factor in erectile problems. A new (December 2016) study in Life Sciences noted that “depression…is considered a contributor factor for erectile dysfunction” and that both conditions “may be associated with hormonal changes and sleep disturbances.” Alcohol consumption can lower your testosterone levels, which is another reason to back off on the booze.
Eat well for best performance
Diet matters when it comes to erectile function because sexual health is intimately related to cholesterol, blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. Therefore, be sure to make dietary selections that focus on foods that promote and support good health, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and plant protein.
In a recent study, researchers evaluated the effects of weight loss diets on erectile function in overweight and obese men. After 52 weeks, they found that weight loss was associated with an improvement in sexual function and testosterone levels. Another new study found that the Mediterranean diet reduced the decline of sexual function in men who had been newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Snuff out the smoke
One of the lifestyle habits that takes a huge toll on erectile function is smoking. Every puff contributes to constriction of your blood vessels, which in turn restricts blood flow to the penis.
A new review evaluated 83 studies and articles that explored the relationship between smoking and/or nicotine and erectile dysfunction. The reviewers reported that “Smoking contributes to ED in different ways,” including constriction of blood vessels in the penis, and that stopping smoking can result in recovery of erectile function “but only if limited life time smoking exposure exists.”
Get enough sleep
Sleep deprivation is a significant problem for many reasons, and erectile dysfunction is one of them. Getting enough sleep (7 hours every night is optimal) not only helps keep your energy level up during the day, it’s also necessary for hormone (e.g., testosterone) production, which fuels sexual performance.
Men with sleep disorders also are more likely to experience erectile dysfunction. A recent national study found that erectile dysfunction was nearly tenfold higher among men with sleep apnea and nearly fourfold greater among men with other sleep disorders than in men without any sleep problems.
Safeguard your penis
Men can damage their penis in two general ways: penile fracture, which is typically associated with vigorous sexual activity with the female on top; and penile trauma, which can occur because of a sports or similar injury. The best ways to avoid these painful situations is to avoid acrobatic sex (and see a doctor immediately if you experience swelling, pain, or bruising) and to wear appropriate protection when engaging in leisure activities that may injure the penile area.
Practice good oral hygiene
Researchers have uncovered a significant relationship between erectile dysfunction and chronic gum disease, aka periodontitis. A link between the two conditions is inadequate blood flow. In a recent review of nine studies of men with periodontal disease and erectile dysfunction, all showed a positive relationship between the two conditions, with more than a threefold increased risk of them appearing together in some cases. Practicing routine oral hygiene, including daily brushing and flossing along with regular cleanings, can help maintain erectile function and promote a super sex life.
Turn down the stress
A key factor in erectile dysfunction is stress, which can manifest as performance anxiety. Stress and erectile dysfunction can be a catch 22: stress can contribute to erectile problems and impotence can cause stress and anxiety. When you are tense, your body releases stress hormones, which can cause your blood vessels to constrict. Chronic stress translates into poor blood flow and erectile difficulties.
To help reduce stress and prevent erectile dysfunction, practice stress management techniques daily, such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, progressive relaxation, visualization, or deep breathing. At the same time, treatment of ED can reduce psychological stress.
Bocchio M et al. Treatment of erectile dysfunction reduces psychological distress. International Journal of Andrology 2009 Feb; 32(1): 74-80
Chen KF et al. Sleep disorders increase risk of subsequent erectile dysfunction individuals without sleep apnea: a nationwide population-base cohort study. Sleep Medicine 2016 Jan; 17:64-68
Kellesarian SV et al. Association between periodontal disease and erectile dysfunction: a systematic review. American Journal of Men’s Health 2016 Mar 29
Maiorino MI et al. Effects of Mediterranean diet on sexual function in people with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes: the MEDITA trial. Journal of Diabetes Complications 2016 Nov-Dec; 30(8): 1519-24
Moran LJ et al. Long-term effects of a randomized controlled tiral comparing high protein or high carbohydrate weight loss diets on testosterone, SHBG, erectile and urinary function in overweight and obese men. PLoS One 2016 Sep 1; 11(9): e0161297
Muniz JJ et al. Chronic ethanol consumption induces erectile dysfunction: role of oxidative stress. Life Science 2015 Nov 15; 141:44-53
Rahman MJ et al. Penile manipulation: the most common etiology of penile fracture at our tertiary care center. Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care 2016 Apr-Jun; 5(2): 471-73
Silva AB et al. Physical activity and exercise for erectile dysfunction: systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Sports Medicine 2016 Oct 5; Epub ahead of print
Soterio-Pires JH et al. The interaction between erectile dysfunction complaints and depression in men: a cross-sectional study about sleep, hormones and quality of life. International Journal of Impotence Research 2016 Dec 1; Epub ahead of print