11 Ways To Improve Male Sexual PerformanceSexual Health
I would be hard-pressed to find a male patient in my practice that would not gladly take some tips on how to improve his sexual performance. Even the most virile man wouldn’t turn down a few pointers. Well, men, it’s your lucky day! Allow me to share some of my very best sex advice for your sexual prowess.
1. Get active and stay active.
An easy way to last longer in bed and enhance your performance is to keep your heart healthy. Develop a cardiovascular exercise routine to keep your heart in tip-top shape and you won’t regret it next time you’re in the bedroom. Thirty minutes per day of cardiovascular training can help improve your circulation (which is crucial for your erections) and can increase your libido.
One important group of muscles that should not be ignored is your pelvic floor. Most men have heard of Kegels but not many can perform these exercises correctly. Pelvic floor muscle strengthening and improved coordination have been shown to improve erectile function and help with ejaculatory control. Pelvic floor physical therapy can be life-changing and make a dramatic difference in your sexual performance.
2. Eat like your penis depends on it
What you consume on a daily basis can have a significant impact on your ability to perform in bed. A Mediterranean diet, rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, walnuts, and olive oil, has been shown to reduce the prevalence of erectile dysfunction in certain men (Esposito, Maiorino). In obese men with erectile dysfunction at baseline, reducing overall caloric intake to achieve a loss of 10% or more in total body weight can improve sexual function. A diet high in protein, carbohydrate-reduced, and low-in-fat can reduce systemic inflammation and induce rapid improvement in sexual, urinary, and endothelial function (Khoo).
An important take away from all these studies is that a heart-healthy diet is also a penis-healthy diet. So the next time you head to the kitchen, consider what you’re about to eat. Your sexual performance may reap the benefits or consequences.
3. Drink coffee
Many consider coffee a daily necessity. It helps you focus and get through the rigors of daily life. But coffee can also help your sexual performance. In a 2015 study, researchers found that daily consumption of caffeine reduced the odds of erectile dysfunction, especially an intake equivalent to 2-3 daily cups of coffee (Lopez). So when you’re running out of the house in the morning, don’t forget to grab a cup of joe.
4. Reduce stress
We are constantly inundated with stress and anxiety on a daily basis. And that stress can have effects on everything from our mood to our appetite to our sex lives. Chronic stress results in elevated cortisol levels, which in the long term increases your risk of anxiety/depression, heart disease, weight gain, difficulty sleeping, and memory and cognitive dysfunction. Cortisol is also a libido killer. It reduces blood flow to your penis and can decrease the amount of testosterone that your body produces. Psychological stress can also make achieving an erection and/or reaching orgasm more difficult. All this stress is definitely bad for your sexual performance!
Exercise is a great way to help reduce stress (in addition to the other benefits it offers that we already mentioned). Meditation and mindfulness are also great tools to calm your nerves. Practice deep breathing, get a massage, listen to your favorite relaxing music—all of these can help curb stress, keep cortisol at bay, and help increase your sexual potential.
A poor night of sleep doesn’t just make you cranky. It can have detrimental effects on all kinds of functions. Getting good quality sleep helps keep your brain sharp, regulates blood glucose levels, supports a healthy immune system, controls weight gain, and maintains testosterone production (Leproult). Obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia, shift work disorder, and restless legs syndrome are all common sleep disorders that are associated with erectile dysfunction. Along with diet and exercise, sleep is crucial to your overall health and a key component to improving your sexual function.
6. Kick your bad habits
Over the years, many of us have developed methods of unwinding through various vices. But sometimes those habits have more risks than benefits. Some studies have suggested that a modest amount of alcohol can have a positive effect on our circulation. But regular excessive intake of alcohol can result in decreased sexual function in men by making it harder to get and maintain an erection and prolonging refractory time. Data on the effect of marijuana use on sexual function are mixed, but marijuana has been linked to hormonal imbalances, erectile dysfunction, and delayed ejaculation and orgasm in men. So cutting back on your marijuana use may help improve your ability to perform sexually. Certain stimulants, including cigarettes, reduce blood flow to the penis and make impotence almost unavoidable. Smoking cessation has been shown to improve erectile function so you may want to think twice next time you consider lighting up.
7. Soak up some sun
Sunlight is our primary source of vitamin D. Many of us spend most of the day indoors and protect our skin from the sun when outdoors (for good, cancer-preventing reasons). But one consequence of this is that many people are deficient in vitamin D. Low vitamin D levels have been associated with lower levels of testosterone. Sun exposure and vitamin D supplementation have also been linked to improved libido and erectile function, respectively. Getting outside, even for 30 minutes per day, or considering a daily vitamin D supplement is an easy way to boost your sex drive and overall performance.
8. Practice makes perfect
Regular masturbation is not only pleasurable and anxiety-reducing, but it’s good practice for partnered sex. Men who have trouble controlling ejaculation, either coming too quickly or taking too long, can use masturbation as a way to get better control. Masturbation is a way for you to figure out what you like so that you can communicate your needs and desires to your partner. Figuring out what feels good on your own will only enhance your performance come game time.
9. Involve your partner
Communication with your partner is key to optimizing your sexual experience. Sex should never be a one-way street. Focusing on your partner will not only make them feel good but will help you feel more fulfilled from sex. Get creative and allow yourself to feel safe with your partner. Together you can test out a sexual activity that may once have seemed out of the question. Try different positions. Try switching your traditional sexual dynamics. Consider incorporating a sensual massage oil or exploring each other’s G-spots (yes, men also have a G spot). When you involve your partner, the possibilities are endless and will make for a much more satisfying experience.
10. Take care of your teeth
As strange as it may sound, visiting your dentist and taking care of your gums may be good for your sex life. A number of studies have demonstrated a link between chronic gum (periodontal) disease and erectile dysfunction. One randomized controlled trial even suggests that periodontal treatment can provide improvement in erectile function when compared to no treatment (Eltas). So next time your dentist asks you to floss more, you may want to take the suggestion more seriously.
11. See a sexpert
Enhancing your sexual performance may require input from a sexual health professional. If you have a problem that doesn’t seem to get better with any of the aforementioned suggestions, say something. Sometimes ED can be the harbinger of a bigger underlying problem like cardiovascular disease. Sometimes your lack of sex drive may represent a hormonal issue or may denote depression or anxiety that needs addressing. It’s ok to ask for help. Voicing your concerns is the first step.
Seeking out answers isn’t always easy and may require you to think outside the box. Not all providers are well versed in sexual health so do your research. If speaking up falls on deaf ears, then seek help elsewhere. Often you may have to advocate for yourself until you find answers.
Keep in mind that sexual health is complicated and solving your sexual health issues may require input from more than one expert. I have found that my patients who do best are those that consider all facets of their sexual problem and remain open to tackling the issue from all directions. Optimizing your sexual health often takes a village.
- Esposito K, Ciotola M, Giugliano F, et al. Mediterranean diet improves erectile function in subjects with the metabolic syndrome. Int J Impot Res. 2006;18(4):405-410. doi:10.1038/sj.ijir.3901447
- Maiorino MI, Bellastella G, Caputo M, et al. Effects of Mediterranean diet on sexual function in people with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes: The MÈDITA trial. J Diabetes Complications. 2016;30(8):1519-1524. doi:10.1016/j.jdiacomp.2016.08.007
- Khoo J, Piantadosi C, Duncan R, et al. Comparing effects of a low-energy diet and a high-protein low-fat diet on sexual and endothelial function, urinary tract symptoms, and inflammation in obese diabetic men. J Sex Med. 2011;8(10):2868-2875. doi:10.1111/j.1743-6109.2011.02417.x
- Lopez, D. S., Wang, R., Tsilidis, K. K., Zhu, H., Daniel, C. R., Sinha, A., & Canfield, S. (2015). Role of Caffeine Intake on Erectile Dysfunction in US Men: Results from NHANES 2001-2004. PloS one, 10(4), e0123547. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0123547
- Leproult R, Van Cauter E. Effect of 1 Week of Sleep Restriction on Testosterone Levels in Young Healthy Men. JAMA. 2011;305(21):2173–2174. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.710
- Cho, J. W., & Duffy, J. F. (2019). Sleep, Sleep Disorders, and Sexual Dysfunction. The world journal of men’s health, 37(3), 261–275. https://doi.org/10.5534/wjmh.180045
- Eltas A, Oguz F, Uslu MO, Akdemir E. The effect of periodontal treatment in improving erectile dysfunction: a randomized controlled trial. J Clin Periodontol. 2013;40(2):148-154. doi:10.1111/jcpe.12039