When it comes to sex, people usually hold the importance of health in physical appearance. However, physical health and lifestyle choices have a strong impact on sexual health, performance and libido. Let us look at the aspects of lifestyle that can affect men’s sexual health in particular.

Everyone knows that exercise is important, however, going to the gym can benefit your sex life in more ways than simply looking better. Nitric oxide is a free radical in the body that acts as a powerful vasodilator, making it essential in sexual arousal. Regular aerobic exercise keeps blood flowing through the body and arteries producing the indispensable nitric oxide. The research article “The roles of nitric oxide in sexual function of male rats,” published in Neuropharmacology, looked at the effect of this molecule on rats. The findings of this research was that an increase of nitric oxide in the body promoted erections in intact male rats, as well as indicating that this increase “inhibits seminal emission, probably by decreasing sympathetic nervous system activity; [which] may help prevent premature ejaculation.” An article printed in the European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology, titled “The effect of exercise on the production and clearance of testosterone in well trained young men,” found that exercise increased the body’s production of testosterone, a hormone that is linked to sexual drive.

Exercise also causes the body to release endorphins which simply makes us feel good. Not only will exercise increase production and release of nitric oxide, endorphins and testosterone, but it also raises positive self image. Nothing is sexier than feeling comfortable in your own skin.

Diet plays a role in sexual health as well. A poor diet can contribute to problems such as heart disease, high cholesterol, arterial plaque build up and high blood pressure, among other conditions. All of these inhibit blood flow to the penis and negatively impact erectile quality and desire. As sex and relationship expert Ian Kerner says, “Eat for the heart, and you’re eating for desire.”

Another lifestyle choice that can negatively impact sexual health is smoking cigarettes. A result of long term smoking is that it narrows the arteries. Any restriction of circulation in the body will negatively impact erectile function.

A study done at Boston University examined 200 volunteers and found that those who smoked were more likely to have a shorter erect penis. If blood flow is constricted to the penis, it will result in inhibiting the maximum growth of the organ during arousal.

However, if you are a smoker, do not panic too greatly: on average the impact on size was no greater than one to two centimeters. This brings the opportunity of negatively impacting sexual performance and health.

It is interesting to think what you can imply of someone’s sexual health from their health habits and lifestyle choices.

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