Men: How To Have More Sex
Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on April 20, 2010 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Men, you aren’t having as much sex as you want to.
No matter that you think about it more than 10 times a day, whether you’re married or single approx. 75% of all men polled are having sex less than 2 times per week.
If you’re lucky.
For whatever reason – emotional, medical, or otherwise (being stranded on a desert island counts) – a good deal of you aren’t having much sex at all. And you want to!
For the man who feels like he just isn’t getting IT, here’s a guide to finding out why he’s not, and what he can do about it.
How Often Do Men Think About Sex
Apparently, a lot. According to the Kinsey Institute ,54% of men think about sex everyday or several times a day, 43% a few times per month or a few times per week, and 4% less than once a month (Laumann, Gagnon, Michael, Michaels, 1994). When the UK-based Telegraph published a research study that showed the conventional man thinks about sex 13 times throughout the day, many people were baffled. That’s 4,745 times a year.
And according to an American poll, men aren’t having nearly that much sex.
Actual Frequency Of Sex
Back to The Kinsey Institute – founded as the Institute for Sex Research at Indiana University in 1947 by Dr. Alfred Kinsey, which studies human sexuality and human sexual behavior. In an American survey taken by the institute, men were asked about their sexual activities. Accordingly, they aren’t having sex as much as they think about it:
– 18-29 year olds have sex an average of 112 times per year, 30-39 year olds an average of 86 times per year, and 40-49 year olds an average of 69 times per year (Piccinino, Mosher, 1998).
– 23% of non-married men reported they have never had sex in the past year, 25% reported only a few times in the past year, 26% reported a few times in the past month, 19% reported 2-3 times a week, and 7% reported 4 or more times a week (Laumann, Gagnon, Michael, Michaels, 1994).
– 1% of married men reported they have never had sex in the past year, 13% reported only a few times in the past year, 43% reported a few times in the past month, 36% reported 2-3 times a week, and 7% reported 4 or more times a week (Laumann, Gagnon, Michael, Michaels, 1994).
– 13% of married couples reported having sex a few times per year, 45% reported a few times per month, 34% reported 2-3 times per week, and 7% reported 4 or more times per week (Laumann, Gagnon, Michael, Michaels, 1994).
So it’s clear that men think about sex more than they’re having it. Since that’s the case, it begs the question: Is sex really necessary?
How Necessary Is Sex?
Pfizer, the makers of Viagra – that libido enhancing prescription drug that caused a sexual frenzy – undertook a global study in 29 countries, interviewing 26,000 people aged 40 to 80. Among their findings their study found that, indeed:
* 83% of men and 63% of women say sex is important in their lives.
Aside from the fact that it’s how we maintain our species, and that it feels so good, it appears that yes, sex is quite necessary. There are many health benefits to having it.
Health Benefits Of Having Sex
In 1997 The British Medical Journal published a Queen’s University study that showed “mortality risk was 50% lower in men with high frequency of orgasm than in men with low frequency of orgasm”. In other words, men who orgasmed more lived longer than men who didn’t.
Aside from generally living longer, sex has been related to some other very important health enhancement:
– Reduced risk of heart disease: In the same study, researchers found that by having sex three or more times a week, men reduced their risk of heart attack or stroke by half.
– Boosted immunity: Psychologists at Wilkes University in Pennsylvaniaa says individuals who have sex once or twice a week show 30% higher levels of an antibody called immunoglobulin A, which is known to boost the immune system.
– Protected prostate: – A study published by the British Journal of Urology International says that men in their 20s can reduce by a third their chance of getting prostate cancer by ejaculating more than five times a week.
– Pain-relief: Immediately before orgasm, levels of the hormone oxytocin surge to five times their normal level. This in turn releases endorphins, which alleviate the pain of everything from headache to arthritis to even migraine.
– Improved sense of smell: After sex, production of the hormone prolactin surges. This in turn causes stem cells in the brain to develop new neurons in the brain’s olfactory bulb, its smell center.
So if men who have sex, and namely orgasms, are outliving their brother’s who aren’t, what’s the reason for less – if any at all – sex?
Why Men Aren’t Having Enough Sex
Apparently, size doesn’t seem to matter: The Journal of Urology puts the average penis size at 5.08 inches, while the International Journal of Impotence Research puts it at 5.35 inches. So the average penis that isn’t getting it is larger than the penis that is – and therefore insecurity doesn’t seem to play much into not being able to have enough sex.
The real culprits are much more pronounced.
For many men, a modern hectic lifestyle is to blame. Stress, lack of exercise, poor diet and sleep all contribute to a lowered libido – and less sex.
10 Reasons Men Don’t Have Enough Sex – And Their Treatments
Stress – Financial stress, illness, poor diet and lack of sleep can all increase stress. While stress can be managed, it’s the unhealthy management techniques that can do the most sex drive damage: fighting with one’s spouse, turning to drugs and alcohol all contribute to lack of sex.
Healthy management techniques include: exercise, sleep, talk-therapy
Relationship problems – Lack of emotional closeness can wreck the sex drive. Without a certain level of intimacy, affection – and therefore sex – are difficult to achieve.
Treatments include: Individual and relationship counseling
Drugs and Alcohol – While a few drinks may be used by some to get rid of inhibitions on a date, sex can actually reduce erectile function. Many men are unable to “get it up” when inebriated, and have difficulties maintaining an erection.
Treatments include: Substance abuse programs, individual and couples counseling
Lack of sleep – Fatigue will drain a man of his sex drive. And in this day and age, more and more men are working late and suffering from insomnia.
Treatments include: talk-therapy, exercise, diet and lifestyle changes
Medications – Many prescribed medications can cause side-effects – among them, loss of libido. Common complaints by men include dampened desire, inability to have or maintain an erection, or achieve orgasm. Drugs that can cause these side-effects include: antidepressants, antihistamines, blood pressure drugs, oral contraceptives, anti-HIV drugs, synthetic progesterone-medroxyprogesterone, finasteride or chemotherapy.
Alternative treatments can include natural therapies, see below.
Obesity – In a country where over 65% of all Americans are overweight – and a staggering number of that percentage being obese – weight is a major player in lack of sex. The causes for this are low self-esteem, and simply difficulties in having sex. Add to this the health complications that being overweight can cause, and an obese man’s body is more concerned with staying alive than anything else.
Treatments include: talk-therapy, exercise, diet and lifestyle changes
Body image – Like women, men also suffer from poor body image. More specifically: many men worry about their penis being of inadequate size.
Treatment includes: talk-therapy, individual and couples counseling
Low testosterone – Testosterone is the hormone responsible for the level of a man’s sex drive. If the testosterone levels dip too low, libido is likely to decline.
Treatment includes: medication, diet and lifestyle changes
Depression – Depression can cause lack of sexual desire, and so can the medications used to treat it.
Treatments include: medication, individual talk-therapy, diet and lifestyle changes
Erectile dysfunction – Erectile dysfunction or ED is the inability to achieve or sustain an erection suitable for sexual intercourse. Problems with erections may stem from medications, chronic illnesses, poor blood flow to the penis, drinking too much alcohol, or being too tired.
Treatments include: medication, diet and lifestyle changes
While many of the above can be changed with appropriate emotional and lifestyle changes, some sexual dysfunction can be more challenging to handle.
Medical Disorders Affecting Male Sexual Function
A double edged sword, some medical issues can cause painful erections and sex – as well as inability to achieve orgasm. This pain can cause a man to loss sexual desire, as the pain makes sex unpleasurable.
Two disorders that can affect a man’s sexual functioning and fertility are:
Peyronie’s disease is a condition in which a plaque, or hard lump, forms on the penis. The plaque can develop into a hardened scar, which reduces the elasticity of the penis in the area affected.
While it can heal without treatment, in some cases the disease can be permanent. This can cause a painful, bent penis during erection. Of course, it can also cause emotional anxiety, which affects desire.
The exact cause of Peyronie’s disease is not known, though it can be linked to trauma that causes bleeding inside the penis. Other possible causes of Peyronie’s disease include vasculitis, connective tissue disorders, and heredity.
Balanitis is inflammation of the head of the penis. Symptoms of balanitis include redness or swelling, itching, rash, pain, and a foul-smelling discharge. The pain and discomfort, as well as insecurity about odor, can cause a man to avoid sex.
This condition occurs most often in uncircumcised men and boys, who have poor hygiene. A tight foreskin can make cleaning underneath difficult, which leads to irritation and bad-smelling accumulations under the foreskin. Other causes can include dermatitis, candida albicans, and diabetes.
How To Restore The Sex Drive
Reducing stress allows a man to have normal sleep cycles, which in turn can help him to feel relaxed enough for sex. Exercise and diet can help alleviate stress, and achieve or maintain a normal weight. For the overweight man, reaching a goal weight can restore self-esteem and energy – essential to a man’s drive for sex.
Conventionally, medical doctors can prescribe testosterone shots to help a man desire sex. Naturally, there are many time-tested herbs that have been stimulating desire for centuries.
According to Richard P. Brown, MD associate professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University in New York City, “More and more people are turning to complimentary and alternative treatments for sexual dysfunction,”. These include herbs that have been used for centuries around the world, and unlike their conventional counterpart have no serious side-effects – and can be just as effective.
Herbs That Boost Libido
Turnera diffusa – Also known as Damiana, this shrub that grows in the hot climate of central America, has been used to boost libido for thousands of years. Damiana contains fragrant substances called terpenes, which may give this herb its helpful properties. Its leaves and stems are used medicinally, typically in a tea or powdered capsule form.
Ashwagandha – Ashwagandha is what’s known as an “adaptogenic” herb – a special class of herb that allows the body to protect itself against the damaging effects of stress (physical, mental and emotional). It helps control the level of cortisol, the “stress hormone” the body produces during times of extreme stress. The root of the plant contains withanolides, the main compound that give this ingredient its stress busting properties.
Muira Puama – Or Ptychopetalum, the bark and the roots of this Brazilian tree have been used to treat sexual dysfunction for thousands of years. In modern day, this herb is included in combination products as a remedy for sexual impotence.
Tribestan – Tribulus Terrestris is a hearty plant that grows in warm temperate and tropical regions around the world. It’s long been used used as an aphrodisiac in the Indian system of medicine, Ayurveda.
Epimedium – Native to Asia and the Mediterranean region, this is also known as Horny Goat Weed. This herb is a popular remedy for increased libido in Chinese medicine. Supposedly, a goat herder observed his goats unusually sexually active after eating the herb – hence its name.
Bois Bande – From the spice islands, this herb has been used to spice up sex lives for hundreds of years. Commonly infused into rum, it’s been said to be a local Caribbean secret only recently let out of the bag.
Ginko Biloba – The extract of the leaves of the maidenhair tree has been used therapeutically in Asia for centuries. Recently, Ginkgo biloba was happily found to be 84% effective in alleviating antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction.
Ginseng – The root of this plant is a traditional Chinese, Korean and Japanese treatment for enhancing sexual desire. Often taken for energy, this herb can help boost circulation and sexual performance.
Maca – A plant root, with origins high in the Andes mountains. It has been used for centuries since the Inca, mostly to increase energy, sex drive and stamina (its effects have been compared to Viagra!). Unlike many stimulants, though, it has no caffeine and therefore no buzz.
Many of these herbs can be taken alone, or safely combined in a formulation. They can be found in capsule, tincture, tea and pill forms.
It’s clear that most men want to have more sex. And they’re not getting it. Loss of sexual desire can stem from a number of ailments, mostly stress related.
While there are treatment options available for men who want to increase lost desire and boost sexual performance, there’s one treatment that stands out the most: reducing stress. A stress-less life can increase life span, and enhance quality of life. It can increase a man’s health and well being, and elevate his mood. And ultimately, reducing stress contributes to a positive outlook – key in having more sex.
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan