Maintaining Sexual Health as you Age: 10 Suggestions for Slowing the Male Biological Clock
As a man ages, a lot of changes happen to his body. It’s a gradual process that starts to pick up speed around the age of 40. In middle age and beyond, men are more likely to experience low testosterone, erection problems or an enlarged prostate, as well as heart disease, diabetes and certain kinds of cancer. Normal aging often means an increase in body fat, lower muscle mass, and decreases in hormonal levels. All of these factors can affect your ability to have an active and fulfilling sex life.
I wrote about these factors in my book, The Male Biological Clock: The Startling News About Aging, Sexuality and Fertility in Men. In it, I point out that although a woman’s biological clock stops ticking at menopause, the changes related to sexual health that happen to most men as they get older are usually more gradual.
So what’s a guy to do to stay healthy and sexually active — or, as I call it, to slow down the male biological clock?
Although not all of these suggestions apply to all men, here are 10 ways that I recommend for slowing your biological clock:
Maintain a healthy, balanced diet
Research shows that a high-fat diet and high cholesterol levels can lower testosterone levels and increase the risk of erection problems. On the other hand, if you eat right, your sexual health is likely to improve.
Moderate, regular exercise can help maintain or improve your sexual health.
If you’re even a few pounds overweight, it can sap your energy and reduce your sex drive.
Several studies have shown that men who smoke have lower sperm counts and their sperm are more likely to be abnormally shaped. Smoking also releases adrenaline and other chemical compounds that can interfere with your ability to maintain an erection.
Phase out anabolic steroids
If you’re taking anabolic steroids to “bulk up,” be aware that they flood the body with extra testosterone. They can damage your body’s natural testosterone production, sperm production and fertility.
Avoid hot tubs
Prolonged heat can damage sperm.
Avoid drugs and alcohol
Heavy long-term use of drugs or alcohol can damage fertility and sexual performance.
Check your medications
Certain medications, including antidepressants, can affect fertility or sexual performance. Be sure to check for side effects or ask your physician.
Reduce your stress levels
Even if you’re in peak physical condition, mental stress can wreak havoc on your sexual performance. Be sure to get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly and a treat yourself to a reasonable amount of downtime.
Get regular checkups
A yearly physical can allow your general physician or urologist to catch any conditions early rather than too late. Also, make an appointment if you notice any sudden changes in your health.
If you’re not following these guidelines already, doing so will absolutely make a difference in your sexual health, to say nothing of your general health and self-image. Remember that your sexual health is like a fairly complicated machine that requires care and maintenance. Because, no matter what happens, your biological clock is ticking.