5 tips for being better in bed
Dr Hilary Jones's top five ways to improve sexual health and supercharge your performance between the sheets
Sexual health is directly related to your overall health and well-being. Sexual dysfunctions are not only often associated with other medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity, they can also be indicators of health problems in the future. For men, sexual health is a key element of our everyday wellbeing so it is important that it is maintained.
Regular exercise affects both the body and the brain, helping us to feel happier, healthier and more active. It is also one of the most effective ways of boosting your sex drive and performance. Cardiovascular exercise, such as running, playing football or swimming can rev up beta-endorphins, which will cause your heart to race and blood to flow more effectively, boosting your performance. In addition, strength training increases levels of growth hormone, which contributes to spikes in testosterone – the hormone of arousal. Adding strength training into your routine two or three times per week has been proven to improve sexual arousal.
When we exercise happy hormones such as endorphins are released in our brain. These help relieve stress, enabling us to relax and giving a natural high. Stress is one of the most common barriers to having a healthy sex life. Through regular exercise, these endorphins and sex hormones are released into the blood, making you more relaxed and focused during sex.
Exercise is also vital to keeping your heart healthy. In turn a healthy heart often means a healthy sex drive. When heart disease develops early or someone is not adhering to a heart healthy lifestyle, problems such as erectile dysfunction can start to occur.
The food you eat also influences your sex drive and performance. A healthy diet is important for general wellbeing and maintaining a healthy weight because it provides all the necessary nutrients the body needs to function. There are certain foods that you can eat to maximise your sexual health. Fresh fruit and vegetables are integral in maintaining a healthy sex drive because they provide antioxidants that will ensure good blood flow to the sex organs and prevent against certain chronic diseases. Fatty acids found in olive oil, fish and nuts will also help maximise your sex drive and performance.
As well as eating a healthy diet, there are certain foods people eat that are known for being aphrodisiacs. Oysters are perhaps the most famous of them all as they are packed full of antioxidants and trace elements necessary for good sexual functioning. They are also full zinc: a mineral central to fertility.
Smoking and drinking
Everyone knows smoking is bad for you, but it can also play havoc with your sexual health. Smoking affects your blood flow as it causes blood vessels to narrow, resulting in less blood being able to get through to your sexual organs, reducing your sex drive and your performance.
Drinking also affects your sexual health. One or two drinks can reduce anxiety and stress, helping you get you in the mood for sex, however alcohol is also a depressant and drinking excessively will result in a low sex drive and difficulties getting and maintaining an erection. For this reason, I recommend that alcohol intake should be no more than moderate to maintain a healthy sex drive.
Stress is one of the biggest negative influencers in sexual health. Stress affects your psychological and physical state and can reduce your sex drive and performance dramatically, causing issues such as impotence and erectile dysfunction. Stress is typically a difficult thing to overcome but there are several relaxation methods that can be effective in helping to relieve stress. Yoga, for example, is a great way to relax and increases flexibility, making it the perfect way to improve your sexual health. If your stress is deep rooted however, it’s worth speaking to your GP to get medical advice.
Lack of sleep is also another reason why men may suffer from a lack of sex drive. Studies have shown that men who don’t get enough sleep produce lower testosterone levels – a vital component to a healthy sex life. Research also shows that men’s testosterone levels decrease by about one to two per cent each year as they get older, but sleep can reduce testosterone levels by 10-15 per cent, making your sex age much older than you are.
Sexual health is very important for a man’s everyday wellbeing and a problem in the bedroom is often a sign of an underlying health problem. A healthy lifestyle is key in maintaining a healthy sex life and in this busy modern day society, this can often be difficult. Look at how what you are eating, drinking and doing on a daily basis and make small lifestyle changes in order to maximise your sexual health and ultimately your general health.
Dr Hilary Jones is an independent GP and a medical adviser at HealthExpress an online clinic that specialises in a range of health issues, including sexual health and wellbeing.