Simple Steps to Sexual Health
posted: 07/07/2006 12:00 am
Dear Dr. Myrtle,
Are there any relatively simple things that I can do to improve my sexual health?
There are some fairly easy and inexpensive things that you can do that help your whole body be healthier. As you improve the functioning of your blood vessels, nerves, and general exercise capacity, you’ll very likely notice a difference in your sexual responsiveness, since sexual liveliness depends on healthy blood vessels, nerves and a robust exercise tolerance. None of them are hard to do, so get to it!
- Eat 2 to 3 ounces (56-84 grams) of chocolate per day.
Why? Dark chocolate increases your good cholesterol and lowers your blood pressure.
- The chocolate must be 70% cacao solids or higher. (No white or milk chocolate allowed.)
- Eat a little before meals to help suppress your appetite .
- Split into 2 servings during the day.
- Take 1000 IU Vitamin D per day.
Why? Vitamin D is anti-inflammatory, and reduces inflammatory diseases (rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis) and some types of cancer (breast, skin). New research is showing that 1000 IU Vitamin D is a good baseline dose, particularly if you are not in the sun as a part of your daily routine. (Note: if you have a calcium metabolism disorder or sacoidosis, consult with your health care provider first.)
- Look for higher dose formulations (500IU - 1000IU) without calcium! Vitamin D comes in little pills, while the calcium adds the bulky pill size. You can take a smaller pill of calcium and swollow it separately.
- Take your Vitamin D with cereal every morning. Stick your bottle next to your cereal box to help you remember.
- Check out the vitamin manufacturer on-line at www.consumerlab.com. They test vitamins to make sure they have the correct ingredient and amount, and that contaminants (such as lead and mercury) are not in your pills.
- Use a biofeedback tool to strengthen your pelvic floor.
Why? A strong pelvic floor keeps urine from leaking out during laughing, coughing or jogging. Also, women with stronger pelvic floors experience stronger orgasms. Biofeedback tools are vaginal weights that you use to help you do resistance exercises for your pelvic floor muscles. Using these tools is more effective at strengthening your muscles than just “doing your Kegels”.
- Lie on your back when beginning your exercises--it helps to take the weight off of your pelvic floor, and leads to earlier success.
- Put your exercise tool next to your toothbrush to remind you to do your exercises every day.
- Never push out when exercising your pelvic floor muscles (unless you get specific instructions from a birthing coach). You’ll always want to focus on letting your tummy drop down/inside (aka suck-in-your-gut), which helps the pelvic floor muscles work more effectively.
- Engage in 20 minutes of intense exercise BEFORE engaging in sexual activity.
Why? Intense exercise primes women’s arousal system. If women are sexual after 20 minutes of exercise, their perception of pleasure and sexual performance are enhanced. This is particularly effective for women who experience low sexual desire or low arousal.
- You must exercise to the point of breaking a sweat. (Walking is great, but it has to be fast!)
- Taking a quick shower after exercise can leave you feeling fresh and clean, AND reduces the time necessary to take your clothes off.
- If your partner isn’t interested, go ahead and have an orgasm anyway!
- Break a sweat for 30 minutes, 5 days per week.
Why? Women who engage in strenuous exercise (pre-menopausal or post-menopausal) have better overall health, plus they report having more orgasms. Women who have more orgasms report more sexual satisfaction.
- Do the stairs in your office building during lunch time or during any break time.
- Find every set of stairs in your life--there are more than you think once you start looking.
- Go up the stairs, and take an elevator down. Going up is safer for your body.
- Walking is easier on your body than jogging, so work on the walking part, then walking for longer periods of time.
- Start a walking group in your neighborhood. 30 minutes goes by fast when you’re enjoying a chat with friends.
- If you walk in the dark, remember how hard it is for drivers to see you: put a light on your back belt or pack to help them see you further off.
Putting these behaviors into your life can add a little zip to your self-pleasuring.
Steinberg FM et al (2003) Cocoa and chocolate flavonoids: implications for cardiovascular health. J Am Diet Assoc. Feb; 103(2):215. Grassi D et al (2005) Short-term administration of dark chocolate is followed by a significant increase in insulin sensitivity and a decrease in blood pressure in healthy persons. Am J Clin Nutr. Mar;81(3):611. Grassi D et al (2005) Cocoa reduced blood pressure and insulin resistance and improves endothelium-dependent vasodilation in hypertensives. Hypertension Aug;46(6):398. Polivy J et al (2005) The effect of deprivation on food cravings and eating behavior in restrained and unrestrained eaters. Int J Eat Disord. Dec;38(4):301. Holick MF (2006) High prevalence of Vitamin D inadequacy and implications for health. Mayo Clin Proc. March;81(3):353. Heaney RP (2006) Nutrition and chronic disease. Mayo Clin Proc. March 81(3):297. Di Gangi Herms AM et al (2006) Functional imaging of stress urinary incontinence. Neuroimage. Jan 1;29(1):267. Meston CM & Gorzalka BB (1996) Differential effects of sympathetic activation on sexual arousal in sexually dysfunctional and functional women. J Abnorm Psychol. Nov;105(4):582. Penteado SR (2003) Sexuality in healthy postmenopausal women. Climacteric Dec;6(4):321.
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