The World Health Organization identifies sexual wellbeing not only as physical and social wellbeing in relation to one’s sexuality, but also in the areas of emotional and mental health (1).
With this in mind, it’s so important to consider men’s sexual health when it comes to considering their overall wellbeing.
In a 2016 study, it was found that around 1 in 2 Australians experienced at least 1 sexual issue over the last year (2). Let’s take a look at what men’s sexual functions are and the concerns associated with them, as well as tips in improving or maintaining sexual well-being.
A male’s sexual function is a complex process involving hormonal, neurogenic, vascular, and psychological factors coming together to transport sperm during ejaculation (3). There are different components that play a huge role in the body’s sexual function and any disruptions may lead to possible health concerns.
Libido, or sexual desire, is what drives the increase or decrease of sexual activities. However, conditions such as stress, anxiety, lack of physical activity, and incompatibility with a partner can change men’s libido (4).
Men’s sexual response can be seen through their erection, which is a response to arousing stimuli. It’s an essential part of men’s sexual health as helps in achieving the delivery of sperm through penetration. Issues in having or maintaining an erection is considered a dysfunction but it can also be a symptom of other problems in the body (5).
When a person experiences intense sensations during sexual activities, he or she may be experiencing orgasm. While orgasm and ejaculation are two separate aspects of men’s sexuality, they are related and often thought of as the same thing (6). Due to different factors, a man can have less sensation during sexual encounters that can lead to quick, delayed, or no orgasm.
The process of ejaculation involves the secretion of seminal fluids and the ejection of the fluid through the urethra (6). Disruption in sexual function during secretion can result in less or no fluids being released in the body. Dysfunctions can be seen with premature or delayed ejaculation (7).
These factors are interrelated and experiencing dysfunctions can affect one or a combination of the four. Men’s sexual dysfunction can also be caused by existing conditions, medication, and substance abuse which can be either by choice or not (8).
As sexual functions are interconnected with physical, emotional, psychological, and lifestyle factors. Addressing dysfunction may require one to take multiple steps to achieve the best sexual conditions. Here are some of the ways that can help with men’s sexual health:
It’s always good to seek advice from medical professionals on different concerns, whether it’s physical or mental issues. They are able to provide you with the diagnosis through different tests and medication if needed, as well as give advice specific to your concerns (8). There might be underlying conditions that need to be resolved first and can improve sexual health.
Sexual health is also a matter of a person’s social wellbeing. Being able to have open communication with your partner is one way to support men’s sexual health (10). Sexual concerns may be rooted in stress, pressure, and anxiety that is experienced at home, in school, or at work. It can also help to build intimacy in relationships that affect sexual activities.
Some of the pre-existing conditions which diminish men’s sexual functions come from lack of physical activities. It’s recommended to have at least 2 ½ hours of moderate physical activities (11). Also, consider trying to lose weight to lessen the risk of other illnesses, especially cardiovascular problems which are linked to sexual dysfunctions (9).
Smoking has been has been linked to different illnesses which can increase the risk of sexual dysfunction (8). Similarly, use of substances such as alcohol and drugs can also affect sexual health (12). Quitting or minimising its intake will help improve sexual functions and benefit the body as a whole.
A well-balanced diet is ideal not only for men’s sexual health but for his total wellness. Eating properly not only makes one healthier but helps promote a more positive mindset and confidence. A study observed that the effect of nutrition can have a direct impact on certain sexual dysfunction in men (13). A Mediterranean diet is encouraged and is composed of mostly fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and lean meats (8, 14).
By choosing the right food, we can get the nutrients that the body needs. There are also other nutrients that contribute to male sexual health. An example of this is Ashwagandha.
This shrub is known in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for promoting healthy libido and supporting healthy sexual function. Studies suggest that Ashwagandha may improve male fertility as it boosts testosterone levels (18) Zinc is an important mineral for male fertility. Zinc deficiency is associated with low testosterone levels, poor sperm quality and increased levels of male infertility. To improve sexual performance a supplement intake of both zinc and ashwagandha is recommended (19).
Looking for quality supplements for men’s sexual health and other concerns? Vitable vitamins have a supplement subscription service to support your health goals. Create your own daily vitamin pack from a selection of vitamins curated for your needs. Vitamin delivery by Vitable ships custom vitamins in Australia and even outside the territory to support your healthy habit.
*Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. Vitamin and/or mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet.