Having problems in the bedroom? It’s nothing to be ashamed of: 30 million men in America are affected by it, and nearly 50% of men over 40. Why is ED so common? Well, aside from potential medical issues, there are several popular habits that can keep you from standing at attention and cause other problems in bed.
1. Heavy Drinking
Being a Keg Stand King may be a big hit with the ladies, but chances are, all that alcohol kept you from sealing the deal with any of them (and not just because of your drunk Robert De Niro impression). Heavy drinking (drinking 15 drinks or more per week) can lead to a difficulty achieving and maintaining an erection. This is due to several factors (which we go into it more in our Alcohol and Male Fertility article), including alcohol slowing down your body’s response time. This means that even when you’re being…ahem…stimulated, it will still take a while for your body to actually achieve an erection. The mind may be willing, but the body is having trouble catching up.
How to fix it: Cut back on the drinking. Reducing the amount you drink can also work wonders outside of the bedroom: it can cut out extra calories, save you money, and boost your sperm count.
2. Steroid Use
Not all steroid users are meat heads that juice up whenever they get the chance. Some steroid use can be regulated and safe. However, when it comes to sex, consistent, heavy steroid use can torch your testosterone levels. When you start using these supplements, you feel like Superman, with a higher sex-drive and improved erections. As you continue to use supplements, you feel less and less like Superman and more and more dependent on these supplements just to make you feel normal. This drop in testosterone impairs your ability to achieve an erection, as well as your sex drive, and if abused long-term, these effects can be permanent. While studies are still ongoing, a link has been found between low-testosterone and premature ejaculation.
How to fix it: Avoid the juice. A lot of the benefits that you get from steroids can be mimicked by naturally boosting your testosterone. Notice that we said naturally boosting testosterone. Those artificial creams, gels and injections can be just as bad or even worse for your family jewels than steroids. We go into more detail about the impact of testosterone supplements in our Quick Guide to Testosterone.
3. Poor Diet
We get it. It can be hard to maintain a healthy diet. Yes, that donut ice cream sandwich is practically challenging you to eat it. Yes, there are times when that Baconator is making us an offer we can’t refuse. And yes, sometimes the McRib is back. But a diet that’s high in fat or sugar can really impact your performance in the sack. Overindulging in your sweet tooth can lead to an increase in aromatase- an enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogen. As discussed earlier, testosterone is critical in achieving and maintaining an erection. Having a diet that’s too high in fat can lead to high blood pressure and impact your circulatory system. Your circulatory system is a big player in your sex life: it determines your erectile function as well as your sexual stamina.
How to Fix It: Eat less crap. We sound harsh, we know. But this is pretty simple (notice that we didn’t say it was easy…). You don’t have to immediately empty your kitchen of the fun stuff. Start with baby steps, like subbing your usual potato chips for an apple, or cutting out soda from your diet.
Cigarettes wreak all sorts of havoc on your body. For now, let’s focus on what smoking is doing to your penis. When you smoke, your blood pressure rises, which could lead to weak or infrequent erections. Smoking can also cause your testosterone levels to dip, which not only impacts your erection, but also how long you last in bed. It also reduces your semen volume and affects the taste of your semen (you can imagine the kind of repercussions this has in bed).
How to Fix It: If quitting were easy, it’s a pretty safe bet that you would have done it already. It’s hard. But the amount of benefits you’ll get from quitting go far beyond the bedroom. American Lung Association has a great list of resources to help you quit.
5. Sitting for too long
It’s hard to get moving in today’s world. Studies have found the average American guy spends about 13 hours sitting. That’s over half the day and about 83% of your waking hours spent sitting down. While too much sitting can lead to a myriad of health problems, some studies have linked too much sitting with erectile dysfunction. One study even found the 90% of men who sit for a long duration of time suffered from ED. This is largely due to inactivity impairing your circulatory system.
How to Fix It: Get moving! Take the stairs instead of the elevator, take standing breaks, walk to a co-workers office instead of sending an email.
On the other end of the spectrum is biking too much. Don’t get us wrong: biking is a fantastic way to get in shape- it’s easy on the joints, there aren’t any hefty gym fees, and you can easily incorporate it into your daily life. It’s a great way to burn extra calories and improve your cardiac fitness. Where it gets tricky is the bicycle seat. When you bike with a standard bicycle seat, a large amount of pressure is placed on the nerves and arteries connected to the penis. This can lead to nerve damage, which can initially feel like tingling or numbness. If this pressure continues, it can lead to more serious nerve damage which can significantly impair your erectile function.
How to Fix It: You don’t need to stop cycling-it’s an awesome habit to have. But you do have two options: either limit the duration of your bike rides, or purchase a different seat. There are now several “no nose” seat options that range in price from around $40-$270.
Everyone has some kind of issue with sex. The important thing is to not let it get in the way of your daily life and your relationship. We hope this list helps you and your partner get back to doing what comes naturally.