Maintaining Men’s Sexual Health

Often men are proactive about their sexual health only when they notice their sexual performance is in decline. Men’s sexual health is contingent on various factors, including regular exercise, healthy diet and lifestyle. Sexual health is not only important for relationships but overall wellness. While there can be many reasons for a decline in sexual performance, in most cases it is due to a lack of knowledge and awareness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines sexual health as:

Sexual health is a state of well-being in relation to sexuality across the lifespan that involves physical, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual dimensions. Sexual health is an intrinsic element of human health and is based on a positive, equitable, and respectful approach to sexuality, relationships, and reproduction, that is free of coercion, fear, discrimination, stigma, shame, and violence. It includes: the ability to understand the benefits, risks, and responsibilities of sexual behavior; the prevention and care of disease and other adverse outcomes; and the possibility of fulfilling sexual relationships. Sexual health is impacted by socioeconomic and cultural contexts — including policies, practices, and services — that support healthy outcomes for individuals, families, and their communities.

Some men don’t know there is a correlation between interpersonal delete and social factors and their sexual health performance. Misinformation about sexual health problems can lead to overuse of medications and supplements. While medications can help, the effects can be temporary and possibly damaging in the long-term.

Become Familiar With Your Body

Sexual health isn’t solely about sexual performance; it is about overall health. It is important to know your body and what is normal for you, so you can identify when something is wrong. The major male sexual reproductive parts are the penis, testicles, epididymis, vas deferens, plus the accessory glands. Take time to know where they are located and examine them. Remaining vigilant and taking responsibility for your sexual health not only helps you but puts your sexual partners in a safe situation. Educate yourself on sexual health topics and talk to your healthcare provider if you feel something is wrong. You know yourself best.

Self-examine/Get Tested 

Part of managing sexual health is learning self-care. This means conducting at-home examinations as well as getting tested by your doctor. Testicular cancer is the second-most common cancer among teens, but is still relatively rare. Check for lumps or bumps and call your doctor if you notice anything out of the ordinary. It is important to get regular checks. A more common occurrence, with the same symptoms as testicular cancer, is a hernia. Hernias are when a piece of the intestine gets trapped in the scrotum, which cuts of off the blood supply to the intestine. Hernias aren’t always a serious problem but can be if left untreated. Testicular exams are not painful. A doctor will examine the penis and testicles for anything unusual. Another important part of good sexual health is safe sex and checking for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). If you are sexually active you should always use a condom and get tested regularly. Symptoms for STDs include:

  • Sores.
  • Ulcers.
  • Blisters.
  • Warts.
  • Burning sensation when urinating.
  • Lumps and bumps.
  • Swelling,
  • Rashes or redness.
  • Itching.
  • Discharge from the penis (not semen or urine).

Sexual Performance Problems

  • Loss of Libido: The main symptom associated with loss of libido is decreased interest in sexual activities. A loss of sexual desire is normal as men age due to a decrease in testosterone. Other reasons for a loss of libido are stress, depression, medication side effects and relationship problems.
  • Erectile Dysfunction: This is the result of not enough blood flowing to the penis. Erectile dysfunction is caused mainly by physical problems such as vascular diseases, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. In some cases, it can be because of psychological reasons such as depression, relationship problems and intimacy issues. Lifestyle choices can contribute and are not limited to drug addiction, smoking, alcoholism and obesity. Erectile dysfunction is more common in older
  • Ejaculation Disorders: There are two types of ejaculation problems: premature ejaculation and retrograde ejaculation. Premature ejaculation is common in young men and is usually caused by sexual anxiety. Retrograde ejaculation is when the ejaculation goes back into the bladder and not out of the urethra. This can be caused by medication, nerve damage or surgery.

Sexual Health Improvement Tips

When possible, it is preferable to let the body fix its problems with natural solutions. Before you reach for sexual performance aids, try these tips recommended by the Harvard Medical School:

  • Exercise: Even just a 30-minute walk a day has been shown to decrease the risk of erectile dysfunction by 41 per cent. Obesity puts you at risk of heart disease and diabetes, both of which have been linked to erectile dysfunction. The more in shape you are, the less likely you are to suffer from this sexual health problem.
  • Eat Healthy: A balanced diet can help reduce the risk of erectile A diet rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grains and fish is recommended. Vitamin B12-rich foods such as clams, salmon, beef, fortified cereal and yogurt are also key, along with vitamin D-rich foods such as milk, yogurt, eggs, cheese and canned tuna.
  • Check Your Vitals: Your vascular health is the key to your sexual health, as the penis is part of the vascular system. Consider having your blood pressure, blood sugar, bad cholesterol and good cholesterol checked regularly. Let your doctor know if these issues run in your family, so you can try to prevent them before they become a problem. Lifestyle changes and medications are both possible solutions for vascular health issues.
  • Visit the Dentist: This might sound like a weird tip, but The Journal of Sexual Medicine found a link between gum disease and the risk of erectile dysfunction. The gums, when inflamed, can cause damage to the endothelial cells along the blood vessels, even the ones in the penis.

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