Sexual dysfunction can take on several forms. Common problems for men are premature ejaculation and impotence; whereas loss of libido is a condition which affects many women and a number of men too.
When sexual issues arise, they can be difficult for individuals and couples to confront, let alone seek help for. But sexual problems should be addressed sooner rather than later. Disregarded, they may result in further issues which pose a significant threat to an otherwise healthy relationship.
We live in age where there are treatments available for just about every health problem and medical condition imaginable. But it’s important for those who are experiencing sexual problems to know that it is often possible to tackle them without resorting to medication. In many cases, simply making a few lifestyle adjustments can make all the difference.
If you are encountering issues in the bedroom, here are five healthy living improvements which might just be what you need to help you overcome them:
Adopt a Healthy Diet
The health risks of being overweight or obese are numerous. It can lead to type-2 diabetes, weaker bone and muscle structure, and cardiovascular disease.
However, a poor diet can also be a major contributing factor in sexual dysfunction too. Vitamins and minerals are integral to normal hormone function; a diet bereft of these can lead to a lack of hormonal balance, and cause libido issues.
For men in particular, one of the main causes of erectile dysfunction is limited blood flow; and conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes can contribute to this.
A healthy, balanced diet is therefore crucial in maintaining an active sex life. Those experiencing sexual problems should assess their eating pattern, and stay within RI guidelines for calorie, sugar, fat and saturated fat intake. This means eating fewer fatty items, such as fast food, cakes and snacks, and more nutritious foods, such as oily fish (rich in omega-3), lean meat (such as chicken) and nutrient-rich fruit and vegetables (five portions per day comprising differing varieties is recommended).
Implement an Exercise Program
Following a sedentary lifestyle plays a huge role in initiating all those medical conditions described above too, in turn leading to sexual dysfunction. When taking measures to prevent these, eating healthily is only half the fight: regular exercise is just as vital.
Physical activity both helps to get blood pumping around the body, reducing the likelihood of blood flow problems; but it also helps the body to regulate hormone release too, and assist the body in maintaining a balance.
Two and a half hours a week of moderate cardiovascular activity is the level generally recommended by health bodies as being the optimum for health; and it might be what your life is missing if you’re going through a sexual rough patch and aren’t sure why.
Reduce Alcohol Use
Alcohol is often credited with bringing people together. However when it comes to sex, it’s diminishing effects are legion.
The link between alcoholism and male sexual dysfunction is a well-documented one. Men who drink over the lower-risk guidelines are more susceptible to circulatory problems which prevent them from achieving an erection. In addition to this, men who regularly drink alcohol prior to sex will not be able to reach climax as easily. Men and women who repeatedly abuse alcohol are also more likely to develop depression, one symptoms of which is a loss of sex drive.
Staying within low risk guidelines then is a must. For adults, this is no more than 14 units a week, spread over two or more days, with at least three days off. To make sure proceedings in the bedroom go smoothly, it’s always an idea to keep alcohol consumption within sensible levels in the hours prior to intercourse.
Tobacco use isn’t known for its health benefits, but in popular media and fiction, it has always enjoyed a close association with sex. It’s common to see lovers lighting up before and after an episode of sexual intercourse. In reality however, smoking has a much more ruinous effect on sexual function than the storytellers would have you believe.
First of all, there is the link between tobacco use and reduced blood circulation. Smoking clogs up and stiffens the arteries, which makes it harder for blood to get around the body (leading to the erectile issues described above). Secondly, it has a detrimental impact on sensory function, which makes it harder for nerve endings to transmit messages of pleasure to the brain.
Here then, in addition to the significant risk it poses to heart and respiratory health, is another reason to stop: smokers having trouble in the bedroom will likely see a noticeable improvement if they quit.
The more we learn about stress and anxiety, the broader the list of health risks associated with it becomes, and the effect it can have on sexual well being is considerable.
Performance anxiety is the term given to those situations where a man has difficulty achieving an erection during sex directly due to the pressure of the situation at hand. This is common in new relationships, where the desire to impress a sexual partner may be overwhelming. In many cases, it will dissipate of its own accord. Where it doesn’t, discussing the problem with a partner can have a hugely improving effect.
More prolonged examples of stress can affect sexual performance too. That related to work or other aspects of someone’s life may cause someone to become distracted and manifest in physical form (as above), or again result in reduced libido.
This is just one reason why taking measures to reduce stress is so crucial. If the issue is a more personal one, it’s crucial to confront the problem and talk it through with your partner or someone else close to you. Those who are feeling the pressure at work should address their workload with their manager in order to ease their anxiety, not just for the sake of their sex life, but for their wider health in general.
Dr Wayne Osborne is a registered medical professional. He works as the Head Doctor for online health resource Treated.com and writes for a multitude of digital medical and lifestyle publications.