Get more intimate with your food choices
What to eat (and avoid) for more fun in bed
Jan 31, 2019 · Catherine Poslusny
Great sex is more than just great sex. The shared intimacy, pleasure, and physical activity can have a lasting positive impact on your mental and physical health (not that you need a reason to want a better sex life). So how do you go about having more – and better – sex? It may be as simple as making sure you’re getting enough of the right nutrients in your diet.
No, we’re not talking about aphrodisiacs, which have largely been debunked, according to certified sexologist Barbara Carrellas in an interview with Thrillist. “I don’t believe that the average person could eat enough of these so-called aphrodisiac foods to have any noticeable or provable effect on either sexual desire or performance.” Instead, she suggests that a “healthy, nutrient-rich diet” is the best path to improving your sexual desire and stamina. Eating the right foods gives your body the tools it needs to perform.
When you feel better, you have better sex. Making healthy changes to your diet can help you feel more energized and confident, as well as increase your arousal and stamina in the bedroom. While any health-conscious changes are bound to lead to better sex, some foods contain higher levels of specific nutrients necessary for a healthy sex life. Keep reading to learn which nutrients to add to your diet for a better sex life, as well as some foods that could be hindering it.
- Add nitric oxide – Nitric oxide plays a vital role in healthy blood circulation, which is critical for sexual performance and sensation for men and women. Increased blood flow to your sexual organs can enhance arousal and lead to a stronger climax, which is why nitric oxide–inducing drugs are commonly used to treat erectile dysfunction. Foods rich in nitric oxide include beets, leafy greens, celery, and dark chocolate. Additionally, watermelon, walnuts, almonds, and legumes (such as beans, peas, lentils, and chickpeas) contain amino acids that help your body increase nitric oxide production.
- Add vitamin D – A 2014 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that not getting enough vitamin D can increase your risk for erectile dysfunction. How can you avoid that? Your best bet is to soak up some sun (with sunscreen, of course). However, you can also add vitamin D to your diet by eating salmon, tuna, shrimp, and oysters. Plus, many brands of milk, orange juice, and cereal are fortified with added vitamin D.
- Add antioxidants – Upping the level of antioxidants in your diet is as easy as adding fruits and vegetables to your meals. These antioxidant-rich foods can help protect your cells from oxidative stress by destroying cell-damaging free radicals in your body, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Eating more fruits and vegetables can also increase your energy level and overall health, while decreasing your risk for a variety of diseases. Try adding blueberries to your breakfast routine. They are antioxidant-rich and support healthy blood flow, which, as we discussed above, can lead to better sex. [Link to tweet]
Adding healthy foods to your diet won’t help as much if you don’t cut out the parts of your diet that hinder your sexual appetite and performance. If you’re looking for more stamina, both in and out of the bedroom, try to avoid:
- Alcohol – While a couple drinks may help set the mood on date night, alcohol can hinder your bedroom performance in more ways than one. Alcohol is a depressant, meaning that it can dampen your sexual stimulation and make it more difficult to orgasm. As your body works to process the alcohol in your system, it diverts blood flow from other more pleasurable areas.
- Fast food – No one feels sexy after scarfing down a burger and fries from the nearest drive-thru, yet we do it all too often. “On any given day in the United States, an estimated 36.6% or approximately 84.8 million adults consume fast food,” said Cheryl Fryar, a health statistician at the CDC, in an interview with ABC Action News. We know that greasy, processed foods aren’t exactly healthy, but they can do more harm than just adding inches to your waistline. The high levels of sodium and trans fat found in fried foods can decrease male libido and make it more difficult to maintain an erection.
- Sugar – A high-sugar diet can zap energy levels and have a negative impact on your sex life. Eating too much sugar can negatively impact your cardiovascular health, reducing blood flow and causing inflammation (and making it difficult to maintain an erection). Additionally, a 2013 study published in Clinical Endocrinology found that eating large amounts of sugar in one sitting can cause a “significant reduction” in testosterone levels that may last for up to two hours.
- Overeating – Overeating is one of the top food-associated bedroom mood-killers. You may be eating all the right foods, but you’re still going to have a difficult time getting in the mood on a too-full stomach. Overeating can also lead to weight gain, lower energy levels, and decreased self-confidence. Instead of focusing on finding pleasure in the food that you eat, focus on the person that you’re eating it with. Shared meals can be a great source of affection and intimacy, and preparing a meal together can be a great way to set the scene for great sex.
You deserve to have an amazing sex life. Before turning to prescriptions, take a look at the simple changes that you can make to your diet to help both you and your partner have a better time in the bedroom. Start eating better, and you’ll find that your sex life may follow suit.