Stay Loose to Keep Hard

Have you ever lost your wood when you wanted it most? Be honest. NEVER? Well then, you obviously haven’t lived through the slings and arrows of infertility.
You’ve heard me say before that stress kills your love life. My favorite analogy is the caveman being chased by a woolly mammoth. Who wants to have sex when your “fight or flight” nervous system is in high gear? Believe me, those trusty sex organs know the drill and do their best to get out of the way during flights from mortal danger. Funny thing is, they respond similarly to other, less threatening forms of bodily stress. And this is the pickle that we can find ourselves in as we scurry around doing what we do every day.

Don't pickle your pickle.
Don’t pickle your pickle.

Pickling the Pickle
It seems evolutionarily counterproductive that trying to have sex can make having sex harder. But alas, it’s true. A recent study from Korea examined the sexual performance and perceived stress of infertile men during and outside of “that time of the month,” that is, when their partners were fertile. And, you guessed it; they observed large differences in stress and sexual performance between fertile and non-fertile periods of the month. Here are the juiciest findings from the study:
•    Half (51%) of men reported erectile dysfunction during fertile periods of the month
•    In 1/5 men with erectile dysfunction, the problem was significant
•    Relationship stress was 50% higher during fertile vs. non-fertile periods
•    6% of men with erectile problems took pills to help things out
Candy Coated Stress
Let me also point out that these men were medically evaluated for the study and all deemed “normal.” In addition, those with other risk factors for erection issues were excluded from the study. So, even among young, robustly healthy men, infertility can wreak havoc on sexual performance. A butterball of a mammoth but a mammoth nonetheless.
I can only imagine what other kinds of “mammoths” are out there, subtly dousing the fire in our loins. For now, my best advice is: Just say no to stress.

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Dr. Paul Turek, Medical Contributor

View posts by Dr. Paul Turek, Medical Contributor
Dr. Paul Turek is an internationally known thought leader in men’s reproductive and sexual health care and research. A fellowship trained, board-certified physician by the American Board of Urology (ABU), he has received numerous honors and awards for his work and is an active member in professional associations worldwide. His recent lectures, publications and book titles can be found in his curriculum vitae.

1 Comment

  1. Harry deCaboFebruary 20, 2015

    Few people realize how common erectile problems occur in the bedroom because it tends to be an issue few men like to talk about. The fact is that most men have had this happen to them in their lifetime. We should not be ashamed of it, but be open to discussion on how to better avoid it.

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