November 25th, 2010
11:13 AM ET
Happy Thanksgiving! My advice for today, folks, is to go easy on the turkey and save a little room for sex. Of course, by the time you read this, it may already be too late. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably well on your way to putting yourself into a food coma and any unbuttoning of the trousers is going to be to make room to breathe, not to get it on.
At Good in Bed we believe that your sexual health and your overall health are intimately connected, and that even if you’ve lost today’s battle of the bulge, it’s not too late to put “sexual fitness” front and center.
In his book on male sexual health, "The Hardness Factor," Dr. Steven Lamm cites a British study in which men who reported having three or more orgasms per week experienced 50 percent fewer heart attacks and strokes, compared with those who had less frequent orgasms.
Lamm’s book was inspired by the correlations he made in his own practice between the diminished erectile quality of his male patients and conditions such as obesity, high cholesterol, hypertension, depression, sleep disorders, diabetes, and heart disease.
According to Lamm, “On the surface, it looks as though the principal message of this study is that having sex reduces the incidence of heart attack and stroke and lets you live longer. In fact, just the opposite is true: being healthy allows you to have as much sex as you want.”
And there’s more evidence of the sex–health link: A recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that erectile dysfunction is often an early indicator of poor cardiovascular health. Researchers followed more than 2,300 men for an average of four years and found that men with ED had a 58 percent greater risk of coronary heart disease.
Whether you’re a man or a woman, not only is sex healthy, it also requires being healthy. So with that in mind:
Get moving to get busy. Whether you’re walking off the turkey or hitting the treadmill, regular aerobic workouts help to keep the blood flowing and the arteries producing nitric oxide, the life blood of sexual arousal. Men who don't exercise are much more likely to experience bouts of erectile disorder than those who do; women who don't exercise are more likely to experience arousal issues. And exercise also plays a major role in generating positive self-esteem, which is perhaps the most powerful sexual enhancer.
Eat to your heart’s content. A poor diet is a major contributor to problems such as high cholesterol, arterial plaque, high blood pressure, and heart disease, all of which inhibit blood flow to the genitals and affect both desire and arousal. Eat for the heart, and you're eating for your sex life, too. The omega-3 fatty acids found in certain fish oils help reduce artery-clogging plaque, therefore increasing levels of sexual arousal and response. Vitamins C and E are powerful antioxidant supplements that protect against free radicals and reduce fatty deposits in the blood.
Watch the wine. A drink or two before sex may help you relax and eases your inhibitions. But high alcohol consumption can also result in sexual dysfunction. From causing the loss of erections to preventing your ability to get or stay aroused, alcohol disables the natural sexual response of the autonomic nervous system.
And, finally, keep in mind that sex itself is healthy. Even a sexy kiss with your partner increases your heart rate, which enables you to more efficiently burn calories. A good sweaty session of sex can burn a couple of hundred calories.
So even if you’re feeling like Homer Simpson tonight, it’s not too late to make like Casanova tomorrow. Put Turkey Day behind you and get sexually fit.
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.