Anything that promotes whole body health can enhance optimal functioning in the bedroom. Like any other sophisticated machine, your body is at its best when none of its relevant aspects are ignored. To get your temple in prime operating condition, there are several aspects of body and soul to consider.
One indisputable reason to keep the arteries clear and the blood flowing smoothly is that a strong heart steadily pumping blood has a direct relationship to the strength of blood flow throughout the body. In both men and women strong blood flow to the genitals increases sexual arousal and (in men) intensifies the vitality and endurance of erection. Clogged arteries and sluggish blood flow result in decreased blood to the genitals and diminished arousal for both genders. If the blood flow is weak, so will be the performance.
A Healthy Diet
Most “Better Sex Diets” focus on the health of your heart and include a lot of fruit & vegetables, grains, legumes and moderate amounts of meat. In only 6 weeks the Better Sex Diet can reportedly increase your sexual vitality, potency and health, never-mind likely adding much-desired years to your (sex) life.
Popular myths have long included the power of aphrodisiacs over sexual prowess. Taking their name from Aphrodite (the Greek Goddess of Love), since time immemorial men and women have been in search of foods, formulas and functions that have the power to stimulate sexual desire and enhance performance. In the epic tale of Casanova the legendary lover extraordinaire is believed to have eaten as many as 60 oysters each day. As much as he enjoyed oysters, however, Casanova always insisted that women were his true cuisine.
Today, medical science and the charting of chemical processes have joined the more mystical knowledge about aphrodisiacs. In the case of oysters, not only are the sea-dwelling mollusks reminiscent of female genitalia, they are also rumored to be powerful aphrodisiacs thanks to their high concentration of zinc, iron and dopamine. In more recent news, word has spread about the libidinal effects of grapes, blueberries, eggs, cereal and vanilla ice cream.
What all of these foods have in common, in addition to fueling the aphrodisiac rumor-mill, is the perceived effectiveness of particular vitamins and nutrients in stimulating various sexual boosts. For example, the vitamins in eggs can supposedly reduce performance anxiety and premature ejaculation, the calcium in vanilla ice cream purportedly makes orgasms more powerful, and the folic acid in cereal keeps arteries clear, enhancing blood flow to the right places.
While it’s popularly thought that certain edibles can improve sexual health, nutritionists remind us that many of the legends were launched in an era when the human diet wasn’t as complete, and that too much of any particular vitamin or nutrient can have a negative effect on the body.
An Active Lifestyle
The importance of overall health for the promotion of sexual benefit is also evident in the development and maintenance of hormone production. While it is true that estrogen determines the development and function of female sex organs, testosterone powers the sex drive in both men and women. When the senses encounter sexual stimuli they are passed to the limbic lobe of the brain, thought of as the body’s 'pleasure center'. The limbic lobe sends signals via the nervous system to the pelvic region. Blood vessels in the genitals are prompted to dilate, admitting a rush of blood that inflates both male and female erectile tissues and increases sexual excitement.
The tissues then close off to prevent the blood from flowing out of the area. The result is erection and all the other signs of sexual exhilaration. Simultaneously, the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine are released, sending messages of pleasure and arousal throughout our bodies. This chemical cascade is responsible for healthy libido and sexual function and can be negatively affected by age, illness, stress or injury.
It is important to note that cardiovascular function is also improved by regular exercise. The promotion of a strong, repetitious heartbeat sends a surge of blood into your body’s intricate web of blood vessels and lowers the risk of plaque formation in artery walls that can slow blood flow and increase the blood pressure necessary to keep it flowing. Beyond a strong cardiovascular system, experts agree that a balance of body, head and heart contribute to a healthy sex life.
Numerous studies link exercise to increased sexual function through physiological enhancement in muscle strength, tone, endurance and body composition. "Adults who exercise regularly not only have increased levels of desire, but also enhanced ability to perform sexually and greater sexual satisfaction," says Cedric Bryant, PhD, chief exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise.
The release of endorphins during and after exercise sessions are also known to ease depression and anxiety. Stress relief and increased self esteem result in elevated mood and increased confidence, and contribute to the natural invigoration necessary for increased libido and stamina. The benefits of physical fitness are also known to improve self-image and perceived desirability.
A study done by Harvard School of Public Health examined the exercise regimens of 31,000 male health care professionals. Of the participants, those who were sedentary were 30% more likely to experience erectile dysfunction than those who exercised regularly. The University of British Columbia recently undertook a study relating to women and exercise that found those who exercised for 20 minutes per day experienced greater sexual responses than those who did not.
Specialists suggest that it is important to sexual health not to over-do the workout. In the same way that too much of one vitamin can have negative consequences on the body, too much exercise can decrease testosterone levels in both sexes and diminish sexual appetite.
A Healthy Mind
If we believe, as suggested by therapists that sex is, first and foremost, a psychological issue then we have to pay some attention to ourselves beyond diet and exercise. Doctors suggest that psychology is so powerful that pleasure is increased by removing the mental blocks that limit our ability to sense pleasure at its fullest.
The physiological human animal is an experiential and sensory beast; we are continuously aroused by ideas and images that stir our sexual imaginations. Just as partners for reading or recreation require a shared interest in specific books or sports, so do sexual partners need to have mutual interests. But the opportunity to indulge healthy sexual fantasies might be only a conversation away. By communicating your desires to your partner, and acting on the games that have been running around in your head, the shame or guilt attached to the ideas will likely vanish by letting them out of the mental cage, not to mention take on new life as you explore them with your partner.
Another aspect of a healthy mind is being able to unwind from the mental fatigue caused by the stresses of life. Bouts of mental exhaustion, caused by a stressful work life, a heavy week of school, or one of life’s other trenches, can result in decreased sexual appetite and negative effects on self-esteem and confidence. In terms of managing mental stress levels, some techniques include: getting an adequate amount of sleep, soaking in a hot tub, meditation, yoga and just about any other pass time that allows us to get our mind off the stresses of regular life.