Don’t shoot the messenger: if you’re over 40, you’re highly likely to experience erectile dysfunction some day soon.
“Men 43 and up, almost all of them, no matter who they are and how much they exercise, have at some point experienced inability achieving and maintaining erections, even in the morning,” says Dr. Jennifer Berman, a urologist and regular guest on Discovery Channel’s Berman and Berman and Conan O’Brien.
“They make excuses,” she adds. “‘I’m stressed,’ ‘I haven’t worked out much,’ ‘I’m dealing with my mother-in-law,’ ‘It’s just a phase.’ They need to pay attention to this.”
It is a phase: it’s called old age. So get proactive. There are several things every man can do to obviate going soft.
Treat sexual health the same way you treat heart health
Viagra, after all, was initially conceived as a heart med. Taking care of your cardiovascular system will ensure that all of your organs, including the sexual one, are receiving healthy blood flow. Go for high-intensity workouts, regular hikes outdoors, yoga and meditation to help manage stress.
Eating red meat might look manly, but it’s not doing you any favors downstairs
Eat lean. Eat green. Eat smaller portions.
Also eat more seeds, nuts and turmeric
“We know there are foods that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and other amino acids, vitamins and minerals that are associated with the enhancement of blood flow, enhancement of endocrines and hormone function (labido and sexual desire),” says Dr. Berman. Examples: asparagus, seeds and nuts. Turmeric is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, which helps blood flow.
Kegel exercises are for men, too. Start doing them.
Says Dr. Berman, “It increases rigidity during sex, increases blood flow and engorges and traps blood in there so you have a harder, fuller erection. (It also) helps you maintain control and delay orgasm.”
The kegel is a hammock in the pelvic floor
To activate it, you don’t use your butt muscles or your stomach/abdominal muscles. Here are two ways to master it:
The first: the Kegel Boost, a device that you can sit on and it gives feedback to your smartphone. Contract properly and you get a vibration that lets you know you’re good.
And/or: practice isolating that area while peeing in the bathroom. Keep you hand on your belly to make sure you’d not flexing your abdominal muscles. Stay relaxed while you practice. Putting pressure on that area of the perineum during sex will also intensify orgasm — it’s almost the equivalent of the male G-spot.
There is something to yoga, meditation and tantra, but you don’t have to go full new-agey
Tantra and yoga are the delay of pleasure, and that’s a mental and physical exercise. “It’s not about thinking about baseball, it’s about being in the moment and being able to prolong pleasure and delay the ultimate gratification,” says Dr. Berman. “That’s a mental exercise that yoga can help with — it primes the mind and lets you be less goal oriented.”
Take good care of your mental baggage
“I’ve come to find that the mind and the body are intimately interconnected.” If you’re wired from birth to worry, address it: “The brain plays a critical role in sex, and is probably the biggest sexual organ in our bodies,” says Dr. Berman. Got issues? Talk to a therapist (or Ask Esther).
Stop watching so much porn
“There’s a role for porn and erotica,” says Dr. Berman. “But the accessibility is creating a level of stimulation that’s impossible to achieve, and making it difficult to connect with a real woman who’s not spinning and screaming and doing all of these unrealistic things.” In other words: porn give men false expectations about what to expect in bed. A cleaner mental slate will make it easier to fantasize about what’s directly in front of you.
Nota bene: Some men with poor pelvic floors — perhaps a man who’s had prostate issues — might experience ejaculate flowing backwards and ruining or diminishing an orgasm. Retrograde ejaculation, they call it. If you have this or other kinds of decreased sensation during sex, see a doctor.
Main image via Universal Pictures