Below the Belt Bellwethers
We men are known to lavish all sorts of attention on our private parts, yet we’re reluctant to take them on a ride to the doctor’s office. For reasons that don’t need explaining here, we’re simply not eager to have some guy in a lab coat poke around in our boxers. There are so many better places to go.
But issues of sexual health, troublesome as they are on their own, can also be barometers of overall physical fitness. An equipment problem may not just be an isolated issue but a symptom—a warning sign. So let’s take a look at four of the most common maladies afflicting men’s sex lives and consider what systemic conditions can potentially be behind them. As always, our goal here at MSN Health & Fitness is not to scare but to make you aware.
Libido naturally diminishes as men age. Testosterone, the hormone primarily responsible for sex drive, begins to decline in the body by about 1 percent every year beginning around the age of 30. This is perfectly natural, though healthy men can take steps to boost libido at virtually any time in life. “There is no age beyond which sex drive is not possible or therapeutically helpful,” says Dr. David Plourd of the Naval Medical Center in San Diego.
However, a drooping libido can also indicate an unhealthy body or mind. Most notably, low testosterone is a symptom of excess body fat, since fat both inhibits testosterone production and breaks down testosterone already in the system. Depression, anxiety and stress can each reduce libido, as can excessive alcohol intake.
Note that sexual drive and erections are discrete physiological matters: Libido is determined by testosterone, while erections are dependent on blood flow and nerve sensitivity.
- Tumors on pituitary or hypothalamus
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Sedentary lifestyle
What to do:
- Improve your diet and exercise
- Reduce abdominal fat
- Consider talking to a shrink
- Get a blood test
No one is sure why some guys rush the end zone, but it’s an issue for about 40 percent of all sexually active men. That’s a lot of red-faced fellas. While psychological factors (performance anxiety, associations with early sexual experiences) are assumed to be part of the problem, researchers believe there is a strong physiological link. Sometimes premature ejaculation flags an explicit biological problem that needs to be addressed, especially when the condition arises suddenly.
- Inflammation of the prostate
- Inflammation of the urethra
- Nerve damage from a physical trauma
What to do:
- Get examined by a urologist
- Ask about treatment with SSRI’s
- Consider talk therapy or sex therapy
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