From aphrodisiacs to pills to surgery, there are an array of possibilities to give your sex drive a little pick-me-up. Bedroom woes such as a low libido, the inability to keep an erection, or the inability to orgasm, may be mitigated through pharmaceuticals solutions, but healthy lifestyle choices like a good diet, exercise, and reduced stress can permanently improve sexual functioning in both men and women. To have optimal sex performance at any time and any place, avoid these six bad health habits from poor posture to smoking, which can silently kill your sex drive.
1. Binge Drinking
While alcohol may be the gateway to fraternizing for some people, and lowering inhibitions, it can ironically, impair your sexual performance in the bedroom. Although a little alcohol could be good for desire, too much will take away your ability to perform in the bedroom. Alcohol inhibits erections as they are slower to rise and quicker to form, while vaginas are slower to lubricate.
Meredith Davis, a resident sex educator at Jimmyjane, a company that designs products and experiences for sexual pleasure, among other things, told Medical Daily in an email: “[A]lthough we may feel our sexual inhibitions loosen after a drink or two, alcohol has been proven to decrease the ability to reach orgasm.” High blood alcohol content (BAC) levels have been found to be associated with delayed orgasm, and a decreased sensitivity for both men and women. Alcohol can impair the coordination between your genitals and the central nervous system since it’s a depressant.
2. Bad Posture
In the digital age, it comes as no surprise society has adopted sedentary behaviors that have led to the development of bad habits like text claw, and iPosture. Spending an average of nine hours hovering over screens from computers to smartphones to televisions can jeopardize not only your spine, but also your sex drive. A recent study published in the journal Health Psychology found a bad posture can lead to shallow breathing, which exacerbates feelings of stress, and depletes energy levels, affecting your libido.
Previously, slouching was found to alter hormone levels, specifically increasing cortisol — the stress hormone — while decreasing testosterone. A bad posture can impact your attitude, and performance in various facets of life, including sex. Sitting upright can not only give off a confident pose, but also decrease stress levels, while boosting testosterone.
Being overweight has been linked to cardiovascular complications, low self-esteem, and poor body self-image. This can impact your sex drive from a psychological standpoint. However, from a physiological standpoint, excess weight drags down a man’s sex life by affecting the health of his blood vessels.
Extra weight can affect the endothelium – the thin layer of cells that line the closed internal spaces of the body, like the inside of blood vessels, and lymphatic vessels. Although it’s unclear, being overweight affects the endothelium, which means the penis may not get enough blood to produce, or even sustain an erection. Causes of being overweight include, “eating too much food (full stomach), large consumptions of sugar, alcohol, drugs, or coffee,” said Dr. Fran Walfish, Beverly Hills psychotherapist, author, and expert panelist on “Sex Box,” WE TV premiering in the US early 2015, to Medical Daily in an email.
4. Poor Teeth
A good, and motivating reason to brush, and floss your teeth daily is for the sake of your sex life. Patients, specifically men with periodontal disease, also referred to as gum disease, are more likely to have erectile dysfunction, according to the American Academy of Periodontology. Prolonged chronic inflammation, as seen in men with periodontal disease, has the ability to cause damage to blood vessels, which can lead to impotence.
Although the relationship between the two is casual, and not apparent, Matthew Nejad and Kyle Stanley, dentists at Helm | Nejad | Stanley — Dentistry in Beverly Hills, Calif., do acknowledge wearing dentures in both men and women can lower sexual activity. “Patient's wearing a denture are less confident and very self-conscious about their dentures coming loose or falling out during sexual activity and therefore refrain from engaging in sexual activity at times or from certain sexual acts,” said Nejad and Stanley to Medical Daily in an email. “The thought or fear of the dentures falling out has a noticeably negative effect on sexual performance.”
Lighting up a cigarette a day can wreak havoc not only on your lungs, but also your sex life. Smoking can lead to the narrowing of the arteries, which means it can obstruct the blood flow to the penis. The damage that smoking has on the blood vessels, and its effect on sexual performance can be permanent.
A 2006 study published in BJU International found men with erectile dysfunction were twice as likely to be former smokers. The findings suggest men who smoke take more time to get aroused, and in the mood for sex than non-smoking men. Davis believes, “because smoking can decrease sexual desire and satisfaction, it effects men’s ability to get aroused.”
When you’re stressed, the body produces more cortisol, which can have negative effects on weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, and sleep patterns. Stress can be a psychological cause for low sex drive, especially in women, according to the Mayo Clinic. Amber Madison, National Coalition for Sexual Health (NCSH) member, therapist, sex and relationship expert, told Medical Daily in an email: “When you're stressed you feel like a worker bee, not a sex god/goddess, so as a result your drive goes down the tubes.” For Women who wish to reduce their stress, and boost their sex drive, Madison suggests practicing yoga, or meditation to calm your minds, and get back in touch with your biological urges.
Avoid these six bad habits to effectively respond to your sexual urges, and embrace your inner sex god or goddess.