Diet can impact your performance, libido, and even fertility.

How to Support Healthy Male Sexual Function

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When talking about healthy sexual function, it’s important to understand the major impacts that diet, lifestyle and physical activity can have on improving libido and performance. In this article, we detail the best ways you can support your bedroom activities and the changes you can make to start living a healthier and more satisfying life.  It’s important to remember that every person is different, so talk to a qualified medical professional about what changes and suggestions are right for you.

  1. Eat Better

Having a healthy diet is important for general health and wellbeing. However, it can also have a significant impact on how well you function sexually. Food fuels your body and provides the necessary nutrients you need to perform. Diet can impact your performance, libido, and even fertility.

For men, it is often suggested that diets which are good for your cardiovascular system are also good for your sexual functioning. This is because erectile dysfunction can occur when blood flow to the penis is inadequate. Eating a diet that promotes healthy blood flow can avoid issues down the track—both for your sex life and your heart! Avoid fatty or processed foods and ensure you have a balanced diet.

Research has shown that a traditional Mediterranean diet (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seafood and healthy fats from nuts and olive oil) is positively linked with a significant improvement in blood pressure. [1] Following this kind of diet can also increase the quality of your semen, and lead to better fertility. [2]

  1. Consider Vitamin Supplements

To help boost a healthy diet, you should also consider what supplements you may need to add to your daily food intake. For men, vitamins such as zinc, vitamin E and B12, and various antioxidants may help to improve fertility. [3]

Supplements can also help address specific conditions that lead to poor libido and performance.  Eliminating vitamin B deficiencies can help improve libido, while vitamins A and E can boost energy, circulation and cell growth. [6] The herb horny goat weed has been used in traditional Chinese medicines to address sexual performance problems and low sexual desire. [7]

  1. Quit Smoking

If you’ve been looking for motivation to quit, then you’ll be interested to hear that giving up cigarettes can help improve your performance. A study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that the risk of erectile dysfunction increased with greater cigarette smoking, while a second study found that smoking cessation significantly enhances both physiological and self-reported indices of sexual health in male smokers. [4][8] In other words, giving up smoking can be one of the most successful ways to improve sexual functioning.

  1. Start exercising

Like many of the suggestions on this list, exercise is important for your overall health. However, it can also improve your sexual performance. Exercise is effective in lowering your risk of erectile dysfunction. [4] A study from the Journal of Sectional Medicine found that exercise improved all domains of sexual function measured in men, including ability to have an erection, reach orgasm, and general satisfaction with sex. [9] The amount required to produce these positive effects is 2.5 hours a week of vigorous exercise, or 5 hours a week of moderate exercise.

  1. Sleep Better

Recent research indicates that insufficient sleep, disrupted sleep, and sleep disorders affect many aspects of human health including sexual function. [5] Improving your sleep can help to alleviate poor performance, especially in men who generally sleep poorly. Make sure to allow time for 7-9 hours of sleep per night, and try to avoid sleep disruptions.


References

[1] Francesco Sofi et. al, Adherence to Mediterranean diet and health status: meta-analysis, BMJ 2008;337:a1344, https://www.bmj.com/content/337/bmj.a1344.long

[2] Gaskins AJ & Chavarro JE, Diet and fertility: a review, Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2018 Apr;218(4), https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28844822

[3] Andrology Australia, Your sperm: and how to look after them, accessed December 2018, https://andrologyaustralia.org/your-sperm-health/

[4] Allen MS & Walter EE, Health-Related Lifestyle Factors and Sexual Dysfunction: A Meta-Analysis of Population-Based Research, J Sex Med. 2018 Apr;15(4), https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29523476

[5] Cho JW & Duffy JF, Sleep, Sleep Disorders, and Sexual Dysfunction, World J Mens Health. 2018 Aug 14, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30209897

[6] Readers Digest, 9 vitamins and herbs that can boost your sex drive, accessed December 2018, https://www.rd.com/health/healthy-eating/vitamins-that-boost-libido/

[7] WebMD, Horny Goat Weed, accessed December 2018, https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-699/horny-goat-weed

[8] Christopher B Harte & Cindy M Meston,  Association between smoking cessation and sexual health in men, BJU Int. 2012 Mar; 109(6)  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3235242/

[9] Charles P. Vega, Physical Exercise Improves Sexual Health in Men, accessed December 2018, https://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/847107