I can just imagine what comes to mind for people when I pose this question. One person might think I am referring to the frequency of sex. Another person might be considering the types of sex acts that they engage in. Others might consider sexual disorders and dysfunctions. While all of the aforementioned are relevant to sexual wellness, I am referring to the fundamentals that determine sexual health. This includes things such as a balanced diet, good sleep routine, and exercise. Do you have a healthy sex life?
As a clinician, I am always trying to find the underlying cause of sexual problems. Sexual health and wellbeing start outside of the bedroom. I try to rule out any medical problems and/or lifestyle choices that may be problematic. Take the 45 year-old male who is struggling with erectile dysfunction for example. While low levels of testosterone could be the source of the problem at this age, I am curious about other things that could affect sexual performance. Did you know that excessive weight, alcohol consumption, and smoking could interfere with achieving a strong erection?
Keep in mine that blood flow is essential to sexual arousal. Poor diet and lack of exercise can significantly affect this process. So if you are having difficulty with arousal, think about your lifestyle first. There may be some simple solutions that you can implement that might facilitate improved sexual functioning and pleasure.
Sleep is also essential to sexual health. Sleep deprivation can affect the level of circulating stress hormones and fat burning hormones, both of which can have an adverse affect on weight. As previously mentioned, excessive weight can have a negative impact on sexual performance. Additionally, weight gain can affect body image and self-esteem, which will also decrease sexual health.
Furthermore, healthy diet and exercise decreases the likelihood of other physical and emotional problems. High blood pressure, diabetes, depression, and anxiety are commonly diagnosed and will inevitably interfere with sexual performance and pleasure. These diagnoses and the medications used to treat them have a significant impact on sexual health. Do your part to avoid the consequences of poor lifestyle choices.
Of course, for some people, genetic make-up affects a diagnosis of certain diseases such as diabetes or depression. Therefore, management of the illness is the best that you can do. Talk to your physician about the options available. Good nutrition and exercise are always on the list.
The other factor, which I can’t stress enough is consistency. Inertia tells us that an object in motion stays in motion. This is true of both physical and sexual activity. If you don’t use it you lose it. Keep the body going through the various stages of the sexual response cycle with regular sexual behaviors such as self-pleasuring, mutual masturbation, oral sex, and intercourse. Use consistent exercise to keep blood flowing, increase muscle tone, and maintain flexibility. Taken together, regular physical and sexual activity increase sexual pleasure and performance.
When it comes to having a healthy sexual life you should start with the basics. Eat well. Sleep soundly. Exercise often. Use common sense. Don’t over indulge in alcohol. Avoid recreational drug use. After you have a strong foundation, then you can add some other ingredients to your recipe for ecstasy such as variation in the sexual act, romance, intimacy, and playfulness.