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By Serge Kreutz (2010)
Optimal sexual function needs an integrated approach that combines an overall healthy lifestyle, the right exercise, possibly donating blood, appropriate nutrition, very few, but wisely chosen supplements, possibly sexuality-enhancing medications, an appropriate psychological approach to life and sexuality, and right partner choice. Just as in the case of a car where you can't decide whether the engine or the gasoline is more important, you can also not determine which of the above-listed elements for optimal sexual function is the most important, or which can be neglected. For optimal sexual function, they are all needed.
OVERALL HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
According to my traditional approach, if you are concerned with sexual function, the first step you take if you are smoking is to stop that habit. Nicotine is, among other unkind things, a strong vasoconstrictor with prolonged effect, and what you need for an erection is vasodilation, not vasoconstriction. Nicotine interferes with other bodily functions as well, which makes it a multiple culprit in erectile dysfunction.
Another pleasure poison to be avoided in favor of improved sexual function is coffee, and, for that matter, anything that contains caffeine. Like nicotine, caffeine is a vasoconstrictor, impeding the corpus cavernosum's capacity to fill with blood (the event that causes erections... and the less restricted this function the better an erection). You should be aware that caffeine is not only found in coffee and black drinks like Coca Cola. Caffeine is added to most soft drinks, even to orange drinks.
A substance closely related to caffeine, named theobromine, is found in tea and chocolate. If you would like to try a convincing test on how poisonous chocolate can be, feed a 100 or 200-gram bar to a small dog. Chances are the dog will not survive the experiment. (Chocolate won't work this way with your neighbor's wife, though.)
On the other hand, since the times of Montezuma, chocolate has the reputation to be an aphrodisiac. The puzzle's solution is that while the theobromine in chocolate is not good for erections, the phenylethylamine which chocolate also contains is probably pro-libido.
Only mature men will likely feel the anti-erection effect of chocolate, while on younger men, the libido-enhancing effect may be more prominent (if it does indeed exist). Mind you: Montezuma reached an age of only 40 years.
Caffeine, tea, and chocolate, should be off-limits when using yohimbe, even for younger users. They clearly aggravate the many unpleasant side effects of yohimbe, such as tachycardia (accelerated heartbeat) and palpitations (irregular heartbeat). But since I have been using tongkat ali, I anyway no longer recommend yohimbe.
General exercise, especially weight training exercise, is not only good for the cardiovascular system and for maintaining muscular mass and strong bones. Exercise also helps to keep one's testosterone levels up and well-maintained testosterone levels are usually associated with a healthy libido.
If you have the time (about an hour a day), you can increase the size and improve the function of your penis through a penis exercise program. The cheapest such program (30 US dollars) is available at www.MensPride.net, which includes videos of all exercises.
Most men are not aware that penile tissue can be trained just as one's biceps' muscular tissue. It's somehow an embarrassing topic, so few books have been published on the topic, and it's also not picked up by your TV health and fitness programs, or by generally circulating magazines.
Specifically designed tools can be used in penis exercise, but the same effect can be achieved with hand techniques, and there is less risk of injury. The principle aim of these exercise programs is to extend penis size, for both the flaccid and the erect state of the male organ.
Alternatively, because tongkat ali stimulates the synthesis of testosterone in a man's testicles, and because increased testosterone synthesis is associated with increased testicular and penis size, high-dosage tongkat ali can cause hypertrophy (oversize) of male sexual accessories (penis, testicles, chest hair, athletic build). While tongkat ali has been traditionally used in Malaysia and Indonesia for penis enlargement, there also is a scientific basis for its use for this purpose. For information on a scientific study on the effect of tongkat ali (eurycoma longifolia by Latin, scientific name) on male sexual accessories, see the following link:
Increasing penis size with tongkat ali
Donating blood is a good deed not just for altruistic reasons. It is also beneficial to a man's own body, especially a man's sexual function.
A considerable number of men, especially those who actually view themselves as healthy, suffer from iron overload. No, not in the gym; the iron overload I am talking about is a condition of some inner organs, primarily the liver. The condition effects health-conscious but ill-informed subjects more than men who don't care much about their health, because health-conscious men are more likely to eat iron-fortified cereals (marketed mainly for kids) and other foods that are bought under the presumption that they support physical well-being. Health-conscious men are also more likely to be ardent consumers of multivitamin and mineral pills, many of which include iron.
Most multivitamin and mineral pills are a joke. At best they are useless and a waste of money. But in that they contain iron, if they do, they are much more likely to do harm than good to men. Men in developed countries seldom are iron-deficient. Their ordinary diet comparatively rich in meat provides more than enough intake of dietary iron.
Iron is a tricky mineral as there is no easy pathway by which the body could get rid of too high an intake. An excess of sodium and potassium can hardly pose a problem. The human body has a delicate system by which it balances sodium and potassium (the kidneys play a major role in this).
But an excess intake of bioavailable iron will just result in the body storing an excess amount of it in the liver and other organs. This produces symptoms quite similar to diabetes, including difficulties to achieve an erection.
Tests for iron overload are available in almost every medical laboratory. To check for iron overload, you actually need two tests, one for serum iron, and one for total iron-binding capacity. With the two tests it can be calculated to what percentage the iron-binding capacity has been utilized. A good level would be below 20 percent. If the saturation level is above 50 percent, treatment should be initiated immediately.
Treatment is easy as it just consists of bloodletting. Hospitals usually charge for the service. On the other hand, the Red Cross in practically any country of the world runs blood donation programs, which obviously are free for donors. If your blood iron saturation is not already below 20 percent, you should participate.
Don't be fat. Period. If you are, you can easily reduce weight by sticking to a low-carb diet. Using tongkat ali extract at the same time may help to lose weight as tongkat ali increases testosterone tone in both men and women, which helps to reduce adipose tissue and build lean body mass.
In general, to support sexual function, stick to a nutrient-rich diet that includes meat, fish, cheese, milk, and eggs. Choose non-starchy vegetables, fruit of little sweetness, and nuts.
Cheese is a food especially high in a substance called tyramine. Many foods contain tyramines; but the tyramine content is always higher when these foods are aged. Tyramine has a chemical similarity to a number of very important human neurotransmitters, particularly dopamine and norepinephrine. Both tyramine on the one side and dopamine and norepinephrine on the other side are metabolized by an enzyme called monoamine oxidase. Patients suffering from Parkinson's disease are given monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors in order to raise their dopamine levels. This is done because a pathological lack of dopamine is what causes the movement impairment typical for Parkinson's.
Non-selective MAO inhibitors, however, do not only raise dopamine levels by inhibiting dopamine metabolism; they can also disturb the body's ability to metabolize tyramine. The result can be that dopamine and norepinephrine receptors are stimulated by tyramine, causing a hypertensive crisis.
There is, however, another link between cheese, tyramine, dopamine, and libido that hasn't been studied much until now.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a major role in sexual appetite, as evident from the following scientific abstract:
I don't have strong evidence, but I do believe that cheese, at least in me, has some influence on the dopaminergic system, and through the dopaminergic system on libido.
In my twenties and thirties, I had been suffering terribly from migraines. They were so strong that in the attack phase they often blinded me for up to an hour (interference with blood circulation to the eyes). However, I almost exclusively had these migraine attacks when living in Germany. When I was in Africa or Asia, they only occurred very, very rarely.
I found out only after years (when cheese became more widely available in Asia) that these migraine attacks were actually triggered by the consumption of cheese. For some time, during my late thirties and early forties, I could provoke migraine attacks just by indulging in cheese for two or three days.
When thinking back, it appears to me that those times during which I suffered very frequent migraine attacks (when my diet included plenty of cheese) where also the times when my libido was the strongest.
As I said, the connection is somehow vague but not entirely without reason. From my migraine years I do know that cheese has an activating effect on the dopaminergic system of my brain. While migraine attacks now have become rare, even when indulging in cheese, I hope that eating cheese somehow exerts a positive effect on my libido.
At least it's not disruptive. And if it doesn't help, I don't mind so much: I still enjoy eating cheese for its taste, not its pharmaceutical properties.
I have found eggs to be a food that supports sexual function, and I am supported in this assessment by both popular believe and solid science. I don't have to go into detail regarding popular believe. Eggs are credited with giving sexual prowess to men on every continent.
As far as science is concerned: well, not only does egg yolk contain a good amount of almost all nutrients commonly sold as Multivitamins and Minerals; egg yolk also contains lecithin, and lecithin as nutrient is utilized in the production of the male ejaculate (not the sperm). Indeed, my own observation suggests that it is quite effective to that end. When I reduce eggs as part of my daily diet, my ejaculate volumes seem to drop. See the following URL for ejaculate analysis data:
Egg yolk is rich in cholesterol. Dietary cholesterol is also a precursor of most hormones. Cholesterol in part is converted into pregnenolone, pregnenolone into DHEA, and DHEA into testosterone and estrogens.
Nuts are typically high in several nutrients, which are credited with enhancing sexual function: vitamin E, the amino acid arginine, the mineral zinc, and the lignan-type phytoestrogen secoisolariciresinol.
Vitamin E is an, albeit weak, vasodilator.
Arginine is an amino acid that is used by the body to form nitric oxide.
Nitric oxide works as the primary neurotransmitter facilitating erections. Theoretically, pure l-arginine, taken as nutritional supplement, should support the erectile response. However, this doesn't seem to work as it should. I have experimented myself with various dosages of arginine (up to twenty grams a day). I have tried single small and large dosages shortly or a few hours before sex, and I have tried regular dosages stretched over a day (stacking). My own experience is that at best, arginine supplementation is ineffective. A worse possible scenario is that supplementation with pure arginine is counterproductive. Sometimes I felt as if arginine supplementation would actually hinder erections or make them more difficult to achieve, rather than facilitate them.
This lead me to believe that there is something wrong with the delivery method of arginine, when consumed as synthesized health supplement.
And this is something, which would not be unique to arginine. Take for example the trace mineral selenium. You could consume it as synthesized selenium in capsule form, or you could get your selenium from nuts, primarily brazil nuts. You can clearly overdose selenium supplementation with the selenium form found in capsules. However, if you consume the same amount of selenium in the form of brazil nuts, no adverse effect will occur which does prove that the delivery method is of some importance.
It's the same with vitamin E and vitamin C. The vitamin E and vitamin C found in nuts and fruit is clearly superior to the synthetic versions. But you won't read much of this on the Internet, because the profit margins from selling fruit and nuts are much, much lower than those from selling you some encapsulated inferior product. 98 percent of the supplements sold over the Internet are at best useless. They are healthy only from the perspective of the profit margins of the salesmen.
Nuts are also a decent source of zinc, which is needed for hormonal balance as well as the production of seminal fluids. Other options for getting enough zinc from food would be the consumption of shellfish, especially oysters, or of animal innards, such as liver. But shellfish are often polluted to too high a degree to be appetizing and innards don't appeal to me, taste-wise. And between nuts and supplement capsules, the former provide the better form of bioavailable zinc.
In general, you want to be careful with phytoestrogens. The isoflavonoid type has been shown to impair sexual function. Secoisolariciresinol, on the other hand, is a phytoestrogen that probably has a pro-sexual effect on men. It binds with sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). SHBG bound to secoisolariciresinol is no longer available to bind with testosterone. And, as the theory goes, this will lead to more unbound, "free" testosterone in a man's body. Only unbound, free testosterone can exert its effect of increasing libido and sexual function.
I do feel that a diet rich in nuts supports sexual function, though I obviously can't determine whether it's primarily the vitamin E, the arginine, the zinc, or the secoisolariciresinol, or a combination of the four, or some other constituents commonly found in nuts.
But nuts do have a long-standing reputation to support sexual function, and this reputation does match my own observations. Furthermore, if you follow a low-carb diet, nuts are the best way to ingest fiber without getting too many carbs. You need a certain percentage of fiber in your diet for healthy bowel movement.
I have, on several occasions, pointed out that most supplements are entirely useless. In my opinion, a healthy person (man or women) should only consider one herbal supplement, tongkat ali, especially if the aim is to improve sexual function. While the primary action of the herb is to raise testosterone levels, it has many other health-supporting properties as well (ant-cancer, stimulates weight loss). One can check independent scientific articles on eurycoma longifolia (the scientific name of tongkat ali) at the Medline library at
Tongkat ali is suited for a long-term sexual enhancement strategy, not only because of its effect on libido. Because tongkat ali raises testosterone, it also contributes to giving men a sexually appealing physique, and not just for the body overall. Tongkat ali also increases penile and testicular size, which improves a man's chances to bring his female partner to penile-vaginal orgasms. But first on the improvement of a man's general physique.
The British Journal of Sports Medicine, a leading scientific source on performance optimization for athletes, reports that tongkat ali extract significantly improves muscle mass. You can read the abstract of the scientific study on the website of the British Journal of Sports Medicine. On the following page, scroll down to the abstract with the number 007. Please be aware that the scientific, Latin name of tongkat ali is Eurycoma longifolia jack.
And how does tongkat ali increase the size of the penis and the testes? Testosterone is primarily synthesized in the Leydig cells of the testes, and increased Leydig cell activity is what causes penile and testicular size gains during puberty. Leydig cell activity, and not circulating testosterone, also maintains penile and testicular size. This is why bodybuilders who use anabolic steroids or simply supply exogenous testosterone always experience penile and testicular shrinkage. Even though their bodies are awash with testosterone or synthetic equivalents, their Leydig cells have been virtually shut down through a negative feedback cycle (circulating testosterone inhibits testosterone synthesis).
Tongkat ali increases testosterone on an entirely different pathway. Tongkat ali is not a testosterone analogue. This means, tongkat ali also doesn't inhibit testosterone synthesis in the Leydig cells. Exactly the opposite is the case. Tongkat ali stimulates the Leydig cells to synthesize more testosterone than they normally would, and tongkat ali inhibits the negative feedback cycle that inhibits testosterone synthesis.
Thus, tongkat ali not only promotes muscle growth and libido but also causes penile and testicular enlargement. However, one has to be aware that tongkat ali is a root that contains only a very small percentage of active ingredients. For a standard dose, 50 grams of root would be needed, and body builders often even use 100 gram of root a day. However, what is often sold in the US is root powder in capsules. Of these, one would need a full bottle of 100 capsules for a single dose.
Phosphodiesterase inhibitors such as Viagra and Cialis are obviously a necessity for men at advancing age. But phosphodiesterase inhibitors only work on sexual plumbing, not on sexual wiring.
Apart from tongkat ali, dopaminergic drugs, too, can improve libido as well as orgasmic excitement. The member section of this domain contains many articles on the use of other medications to enhance sexual function.
Women can contribute a lot to optimal sexual conduct by making sure that they provide proper vaginal tightness. This is easily engineered through the use of sirih leaves.
You only live once, and sexual satisfaction really is the only good reason to be alive rather than dead. I believe it is wrong to forego optimal sexual satisfactions for fear of contracting a deadly sexually-transmitted disease, or for moral considerations. Your sexual desires are non-negotiable. Go and pursue them.
If your primary concern is great sex, I'd include an appropriate partner choice in the prescription. Obviously, if your partner is young and beautiful, this is conducive to great sex. But it's not enough. There should be a specific mix between faithfulness and naughtiness. Sigmund Freud once noted that for a woman to be loved, her faithfulness at least sometimes must be subject to doubt.
Everyone knows what profound effect jealousy has on one's sex drive. The right dosage of jealousy is a better aphrodisiac than any pill.
This is not to advocate blind promiscuity. Sex is best with a partner with whom one has a relationship of love, not of fuck-and-go. And love can only properly blossom if there is a certain degree of exclusiveness. The doubt concerning a woman's faithfulness does not have to be massive to provide the right mixture between faithfulness and naughtiness. How much of each is the right mixture for a particular man will of course depend on that man. The set points are different from person to person.
Please note that in the paragraph above, I spoke of a "certain degree". I do not believe that granting genuine exclusiveness to just one woman in a man's life is in accordance to the biological design of the male character.
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Copyright Serge Kreutz