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Men's Sexual Health: Everything You Need To Know About Optimal Fitness

UPGUYS > Blog > Health > Men's Sexual Health: Everything You Need To Know About Optimal Fitness
The person who wrote this article

Written by the UPGUYS Editorial Team
Published on August 09, 2022

Let's be honest — for most men, sex is one of the most important things in life, from the second he hits puberty.

It's not just a hormone-driven function of the human species — it's a pleasurable activity that permeates into many other parts of a man's life as well, including his relationships and self-confidence.

With that in mind, keeping optimal sexual healthis incredibly important for a man to maintain throughout his life. In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know about men's sexual health, including:

Let's dive in.

The Basics of Men's Sexual Health

Sexual health is a broad, general term that refers to the ability to fully participate in and enjoy sex. Although it may seem like a simple idea, several psychological, physical, interpersonal, and social factors affect a man's over sexual health.

Peak sexual health means having strong sexual desire (libido) and the ability to get and maintain an erection long enough for intercourse (erectile function). Men's health also means avoiding sexually transmitted diseases as well as issues like erectile dysfunction. 

Read moreUnderstanding & Managing Cramps After Sex

What Are the Most Common Sexual Health Issues in Men?

Several different sexual health issues commonly arise in men. Let's take a more in-depth look at each of them.

1-    Erectile Dysfunction

The most common sexual health issue in men is erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction (also known as impotence) is the inability to get or maintain an erection long enough to have sexual intercourse. Other symptoms include reduced sexual desire.

In general, it is quite common for men to experience erectile dysfunction from time to time, and is not anything to panic about. However, if it continues to happen regularly, it could be a sign of more serious issues and should be treated by a doctor.

To understand why erectile dysfunction happens, it's important to understand how erections happen. When a man is sexually aroused, nerves in the male body release chemicals that encourage increased blood to flow into the penis

This blood flows into two different chambers in the penis that are made of spongy muscle tissue (corpus cavernosum). These tissues trap the blood, creating a firm erection. Once the man has an orgasm, the nerves send new signals to contract, which allows the erection to relax. 

Sexual arousal is a complex process that involves several different parts of the body, including a man's hormones, emotions, brain, nerves, muscles, and blood vessels. Because of this, there is a wide variety of factors that can cause ED, including:

  1. Heart disease
  2. High cholesterol
  3. Obesity
  4. Diabetes
  5. Parkinson's disease
  6. Alcoholism
  7. Tobacco use
  8. Sleep disorders
  9. Low testosterone
  10. Depression or anxiety
  11. Relationship problems
  12. Stress

Erectile dysfunction can lead to several complications, including further anxiety and mental issues, embarrassment, relationship issues, an unsatisfactory sex life, and the inability to impregnate your partner.

2-    Male Infertility

Male infertility is the inability to conceive a baby. This can happen because of low sperm production or other issues with the reproductive system. 

The main symptom of infertility is not being able to get your female partner pregnant after trying for 1 year without any birth control. 

For natural male reproduction to occur, a man must be able to make sperm that is healthy enough to fertilize the female egg as well as have an erection that can ejaculate the sperm to the egg.

The most common cause of male infertility is an inability to create healthy sperm. The sperm can be immature, unable to swim adequately, or abnormally shaped. This can happen due to several issues, including:

  1. Hormone or pituitary gland issues
  2. Infections or inflammatory problems
  3. Immune issues that cause antibodies to fight against own sperm
  4. Lifestyle issues include alcoholism, heavy tobacco use, marijuana, etc.
  5. Genetic diseases

If you think you are experiencing male infertility, it's best to check with a doctor to see what might be causing it.  

3-    Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Another factor in men's sexual health is sexually transmitted diseases or sexually transmitted infections. While most STDs and STIs have symptoms, they can easily be mistaken for other issues as well. Some men might not even experience any symptoms.

Read more: 5 Most Common Sexually Transmitted Infections In Canada

Some symptoms of STDs include:

  1. Bumps or blisters around the penis
  2. Frequent urination
  3. Abnormal discharge from the penis
  4. Pain during ejaculation
  5. Pain during urination

There are several different types of STDs. Some of the most common ones include:

  1. HIV 
  2. HPV
  3. Chlamydia
  4. Hepatitis A
  5. Hepatitis B
  6. Gonorrhea
  7. Trichomoniasis
  8. Syphilis
  9. Genital herpes or warts

If you think you have an STD, it's best to get it checked with a doctor.

4-    Low Libido

Low libido is when a man has a decreased interest in sexual activity. Although it's common to lose some interest in sex occasionally, your level of libido varies throughout different periods of life. However, extended periods of low libido can be of concern. 

Why does it happen?

Testosterone is an important male hormone that is produced in the testicles. It's a key factor in muscle and bone mass growth, as well as stimulating the production of sperm. It also plays an important role in the male sex drive.

Although testosterone levels vary from man to man, they are considered to have low testosterone (low T) when they fall below 300 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL), according to the American Urological Association.

Several other causes can cause low libido, including:

  1. Depression
  2. Restless leg syndrome (RLS)
  3. Chronic lung, heart, liver, or kidney issues
  4. High cholesterol
  5. Obesity
  6. High blood pressure
  7. Type 2 diabetes
  8. Cancer
  9. Sleep problems
  10. Aging
  11. Stress
  12. Low self-esteem
  13. Too little exercise
  14. Alcoholism and drug use

Having a decreased sex drive can be quite unnerving for most men and can lead to other physical, emotional, and relationship issues.

How Can These Issues Be Treated?

Although these sexual health issues can be quite unnerving for most men, the good news is that there are a wide variety of treatments for each of the issues. Let's take a deeper look at some common treatments.

Treatments for Erectile Dysfunction

There is a large variety of treatments for ED. In fact, the global erectile dysfunction treatment market was valued at $3682.5 million in 2021.

The first thing you should do if you suspect you might have ED issues is to see a doctor find the root cause of it. Depending on the cause and severity, there are several treatment options available. 

There are several popular, successful prescription medications to treat ED. Most of these medications are PDE5 inhibitors that use nitric oxide, which helps relax the muscles in the penis. This allows increased blood flow to the penis. Once sexually stimulated, a man will be able to produce an erection. All of these are FDA-approved.

Other medications for erectile dysfunction include:

  1. Alprostadil self-injection: a chemical that is injected into the penis to create an erection
  2. Penis pumps: a vacuum erection device that pulls blood into the penis
  3. Penile implants: surgically placing devices into the penis
  4. Natural oils: natural ingredients that have libido-boosting qualities that can help create erections

These are some other options that some people turn to if they want an alternative to oral medications. However, some of them are not FDA-approved and must be taken with caution. Always speak to a doctor first before trying any new kind of ED treatment.

Treatments for Male Infertility, STDs, and Low Libido

Oftentimes, the exact cause of infertility is hard to find. However, here are some common treatments for it:

  1. Surgery
  2. Hormone treatments
  3. Assisted reproductive technology (ART)
  4. Infection treatment

When it comes to STDs or STIs, they are generally easier to treat. Depending on the situation and infection, one of the following is usually used:

  1. Antibiotics
  2. Antiviral drugs

Lastly, when it comes to low libido, the most common treatment is lifestyle changes. This can include getting more active and reducing excess weight, as well as cutting alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. 

How to Maintain Optimal Men's Sexual Health

The best way to prevent ED and other sexual health issues is by keeping on top of your health before problems arise. Let's take a look at how to keep optimal health.

Eat a Balanced Diet

One of the best ways to maintain your sexual health is by eating a balanced diet. It can also help reduce the chance of getting diabetes and heart disease — both of which can contribute to erectile dysfunction.

One study found that a higher intake of flavonoid-rich foods reduced the chance of experiencing erectile dysfunction. This includes food like berries, red cabbage, onions, kale, parsley, tea, red wine, and dark chocolate.

Read more: 5 Foods To Promote Penis Health

Other foods that may boost testosterone levels include avocado, spicy foods with capsaicin, and spinach.

Exercise Regularly

Men who don't exercise regularly often experience more sexual problems. Exercise is an important part of increasing confidence and libido, which in turn affects your sexual performance in bed. 

Research has also found that losing weight can increase sex drive and testosterone in middle-aged men.

Read more: Men's Sexual Health Exercises: Powerful Stamina In The Bedroom

  1. Aerobic exercises can help improve blood circulation, which helps prevent erectile dysfunction. 
  2. Doing cardio routinely can also improve your stamina in bed. Lifting weights increases testosterone and help strengthen different muscles that you need to perform sexual intercourse.
  3. Yoga is another great option to help boost your cardiovascular system while making you more flexible to create a more enjoyable sexual experience. 

Stop Smoking

Smoking has long been seen as a significant cause of sexual dysfunction. Many studies have found that a majority of men that suffer from erectile dysfunction are smokers.

Smoking can reduce the quality and amount of sperm produced as well as damage the arteries that carry blood to the penis.

Men's Sexual Health Supplements

While there are several causes of sexual problems, sometimes it could just be a simple vitamin deficiency. Let's take a look at some of the best men's sexual health supplements.

  1. L-arginine: L-arginine is an amino acid that helps produce protein in the body. It also converts into nitric oxide, an important chemical for improving blood flow to the penis. According to one study, L-arginine combined with pycnogenol creates a significant improvement in sexual performance.
  2. Vitamin B3: Also known as niacin, this helps create energy for more invigorating sexual activity. It also helps improve blood flow.
  3. Vitamin D: This vitamin is essential for maintaining healthy immune function as well as strong bones and muscles. It is also important for sexual health. When Vitamin D levels are low, it correlates with impaired male sexual function. It is also important for overall mental health, which is important for maintaining sexual health.
  4. Vitamin E: Vitamin E plays a crucial role in producing testosterone and improving sperm function by increasing blood flow and oxygen to the penis.
  5. Zinc: Zinc helps increase testosterone levels as well as aids digestion, metabolic function, and cell growth.

How Does Aging Affect Male Sexual Health?

Testosterone is one of the chief factors linking men's sexual health and aging. It's the primary male sex hormone produced in the testes.

Testosterone production peaks after puberty in men and stays level until 30 to 40 years old. After that, its levels drop by about 1.2% annually.

That decline in men's T levels, in turn, can cause or contribute to sexual health woes, which were mentioned above.

Frequently Asked Questions About Men's Sexual Health

Still have more questions? Here are a few more FAQs about men's sexual health.

1- What Is a Sexual Health Screening?

This is the process of getting tested for sexually transmitted infections. This may involve taking blood or urine samples, swabs from the urethra, or possible examinations of the genitals.

2- Is Masturbation Healthy?

Masturbation is normal and will not harm your mental or physical health. It is a natural part of healthy sex life and can be done alone or with a partner.

3- Can I Drink Alcohol With ED Oral Medications?

Yes. Although there isn't a bad interaction between alcohol and pills like Viagra, it's important to note that excess alcohol is never good for you. It's best to keep consumption to a minimum.

4- How Long Should My Erection Last During Sex?

There isn't a universal answer to this question, and it depends on the person. For most men, the goal is to maintain an erection until both partners are satisfied. If you experience an erection for over three hours (priapism), you should seek care immediately.

5- What Is Considered Premature Ejaculation?

There isn't a standard time that is considered premature ejaculation. However, it is defined as "ejaculating sooner than desired, before or shortly after penetration." If you experience this, see a doctor for your best options.

What's Next?

Maintaining optimal men's sexual health is an ongoing process — not a singular event. It's important to stay healthy by exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, and seeing your doctor regularly.

If you are experiencing any sexual issues that are causing you distress, make sure to get in touch with your physician asap. Also, check out our blog for more information on the matter.

This article is written for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information provided in the articles cannot and should not replace advice from a healthcare professional. Talk to your healthcare provider about any physical or mental health concerns or the risks and benefits of any treatment or medication.