Sex isn’t just about getting laid. You’ve got to take into consideration endurance, sexual performance, libido, intimacy and sperm quality. You might be hindering your sexual experience.
More and more young men are experiencing low testosterone levels and an overall decline in sperm count and sperm quality [3, 22].
Low levels of testosterone is medically termed as hypogonadism (testosterone <11.3 nmol/L) and can show up as common symptoms :
- Depression and impaired cognition
- Decreased stamina and strength
- Increased body fat and female pattern hair growth
- Sexual dysfunction – decreased morning erections, poor libido, difficulty achieving an orgasm, and difficulty achieving and maintaining an erection
Sexual dysfunction and male infertility are common, yet many men feel uncomfortable discussing it. The incidence of hypogonadism is rising in men under 60 years old, and in 2011, testosterone deficiency was found to be 30% of all men over the age of 40 .
Research show that men in “good health” have testosterone levels 10-15% higher than those who are obese, with chronic disease, taking prescription medication, or drink excessively . The following are 13 things men must avoid when it comes to sex.
1. Alcohol – Alcohol lowers testosterone levels and is a reproductive toxin . Consuming as few as five drinks per week can have a negative effect on semen quality and drinking four or more drinks per day can decrease testosterone and increase estrogen production .
2. Stress – Psychological stress can impair sexual motivation, function, performance, sperm density and sperm motility [15, 32]. Cortisol is the main stress hormone released from the adrenal glands that has an effect on the secretion of many hormones in the HPA axis (Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal) and reproductive organs .
3. Anabolic steroids – Profound hypogonadism in men under 50 years old was ten times more likely in anabolic steroid users . Anabolic-induced low testosterone is the most common cause of excessive hypogonadism .
4. Plastic – Soft plastic products such as raincoats, shower curtains, gloves, ingredients in personal care products, and food packaging contain phthalates that have been shown to decrease testosterone production [17, 28].
5. Smoking – Non-smokers have a 49% higher total sperm count and 37% higher sperm concentration than smokers . Those who smoke (especially >ten cigarettes per day) have reduced sperm density, motility, and antioxidant activity [19, 30]. Even smokeless tobacco and passive exposures have been shown to be harmful .
6. Idling – Motor vehicle exhaust and intermittent air pollution can negatively affect sex organs, sperm quality, and oxidative stress [2, 6, 20, 23].
7. Medications – Several medications can lead to sexual dysfunction and infertility. If you are on a medication that is impairing your sexual experiences, talk to your doctor about changing or decreasing your dose. Common pharmaceuticals that cause sexual dysfunction treat conditions such as:
- Depression, mood disorders, anxiety
- High blood pressure
- Kidney stones
- Urinary tract infections (UTI)
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)
8. Female orgasm – While physically, emotionally and mentally enjoyable (and encouraged), the female orgasm does not increase chances of conception . However, the time of intercourse and position definitely do. Peak fertility occurs two days prior to female ovulation and in a “gravity-assisting” position (i.e.,. Woman laying on her back or with legs up) [14, 26].
9. Infrequent sex – There it is! Infrequent sex or masturbation is NOT healthy. Daily ejaculation does not decrease semen amount or quality and is recommended .
10. Lubricants – Most commercial and other lubricants impair sperm mobility and fertility success (i.e.,. KY Jelly, Astroglide, olive oil, saliva) . If you are trying to conceive, use “sperm-friendly” such as Pre-seed and Conceive Plus .
11. Ganja – The THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) chemicals in marijuana can interfere with the production of testosterone, sexual desire, and sperm production for up to 2 weeks .
12. Tighty whities – High scrotal temperature decreases sperm quality . But tight undies aren’t the only way to heat your testicles, make sure to limit the following :
- Long periods in the sauna or hot tub
- Long distance cycling
- Sitting cross-legged
- Mobile phones in the front pocket
- Seated with electronic devices directly in your lap.
13. Eating fruits and veggies – Well, not quite! Fruits and vegetables are still healthy for your body, but a high intake of pesticide residues that can lower sperm count up to 49% . Make sure to wash and soak your produce in soapy water and rinse thoroughly before eating. Take care to avoid these 13 things to increase your sexual performance, sperm quality, and overall health.
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Photo: Flickr/ Julie Kertesz