home
RSS
Going with the flow for great sex
January 12th, 2012
07:46 AM ET

Going with the flow for great sex

Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs about sex on Thursdays on The Chart. Read more from him on his website, GoodInBed.

When you hear the words 'heart' and 'sex life' in the same sentence, odds are the speaker is probably talking about love. But your heart - or, more accurately, your cardiovascular system - actually has a lot to do with your ability to perform in the bedroom.

This concept was brought home to me recently when I caught up with my colleague, Dr. Madeleine Castellanos, author of a recent book dealing with male sexual issues. She reminded me that there’s no way we can talk about sexual issues like erectile dysfunction (ED) or other arousal disorders without talking about cardiovascular health.

"When you break it all down, everything in the body, including sex, is dependent on good blood flow," says Castellanos. "Our body's way of nourishing itself and keeping itself vibrant and alive is by carrying oxygen, hormones, and nutrients via the bloodstream to all tissues and cells. The more activity that a certain part of our body engages in, the more blood flow is directed to that area."

Although you might typically associate blood flow with your heart, brain or muscles, it's also a crucial factor in the way your genitals function. In men, blood flow to erectile tissue produces an erection and stimulates the prostate gland to start releasing pre-ejaculatory fluid. Blood flow also benefits women by increasing the clitoris’s size and sensation and by enhancing vaginal lubrication.

Good blood flow also affects our biggest sex organ - the brain - by ensuring proper flow of hormone signals back and forth from the brain to the genitals.

Often, a sexual issue like ED is the first sign that blood flow is impaired throughout the body, and a trip to the doctor’s office for a Viagra prescription could end with a diagnosis of atherosclerosis or another serious cardiovascular problem. A recent analysis of 12 previous studies, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found that men with ED are significantly more likely to have cardiovascular disease.

So how can you keep blood flowing optimally? Dr. Castellanos recommends addressing these three areas:

Arteries. When arteries become clogged, or 'hardened,' due to atherosclerosis, they can’t respond as well to the hormonal signals that occur during sexual arousal. As a result, “there may not be enough increase in blood flow to engorge the erectile tissues in either men or women,” says Castellanos.

Eat a balanced diet low in sugars (including fructose and high-fructose corn syrup), trans fats, high-glycemic carbohydrates, and salt to keep arteries in good shape. For more on eating for a healthy sex life, see my previous column on the topic.

Nerves. If your nerves aren’t working properly, you lose sensation and your body - including your genitals - doesn’t respond as well as it should. Diabetes and elevated blood sugar are the biggest threats to nerve damage, so keep blood sugar under control, eating smaller, more frequent meals, and limiting alcohol intake.

Tissues. Just as the advice 'move it or lose it' applies to our muscles, it also applies to sex.

"If you want to have good blood flow to your genitals," explains Castellanos, "you need to keep using them." In fact, people who have sex at least once a week are more likely to retain good sexual function as they get older.

If you’re following the steps above but want to do more to encourage proper blood flow, consider this: Your body depends on the molecule nitric oxide to keep blood vessels healthy and relaxed so that blood can flow through them.

"If you want more nitric oxide, you need more of the amino acid L-arginine," says Dr. Elizabeth Owings, a Missouri-based physician who is passionate about the benefits of L-arginine. Viagra and other members of a class of drugs called phosphodiesterase (PDE) inhibitors also influence nitric oxide - but they only enhance its effects. On the other hand, L-arginine helps your body produce more nitric acid, improving blood flow all over.

L-arginine is naturally found in protein-rich foods such as peanuts and walnuts, meats, seafood and legumes such as soybean and chickpeas, but you may need a supplement to give your sex life that extra boost.

Although more research is needed, some evidence suggests that supplemental L-arginine may have sexual benefits for both men and women. A 1999 study of men with ED found that those who took L-arginine for six weeks had greater improvement in symptoms than those who didn’t take this supplement. And a 2002 study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior showed that women who took a combination of L-arginine and the herb yohimbine experienced more signs of sexual arousal while watching an erotic film than those who took a placebo.

Dr. Owings recommends that healthy people try taking 5 grams of L-arginine a day and points out that this supplement appears to lack the side effects associated with PDE inhibitors, including visual disturbances and hearing problems. That said, some research does suggest that L-arginine isn’t a good idea for people with liver or kidney failure or cancer.

As always, it's best to talk to your doctor before taking any type of supplement. It may seem difficult, but sharing your concerns with a professional can help open an honest conversation about sex, and about health in general - and that's always a good thing.


soundoff (586 Responses)
  1. Digital Marketing Master

    http://www.onestopias.com/ias-books/redirect.asp?url=http://www.affordableranking.com

    May 10, 2021 at 21:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Seo Marketing Deal

    http://www.araibridge.com/?wptouch_switch=desktop&redirect=http3A2F2Faffordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 01:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Internet Marketing Jobs Near Me

    https://secure.closeoutcentral.com/BannerClicks.cfm?bcid=819&linkurl=http3A2F2Faffordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 02:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Content Marketing Market

    It’s difficult to find experienced people in this particular topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

    https://www.supergriptires.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 05:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Local Marketing Consultant

    http://www.hostfive.com/go/?url=http://www.affordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 05:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Digital Marketing Orange County

    https://lvnews.org.ua/external/load/?param=https://affordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 05:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Video Marketing Jobs

    http://judeofascism.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 05:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Internet Marketing Agencies Near Me

    Your style is unique compared to other people I've read stuff from. Many thanks for posting when you've got the opportunity, Guess I'll just book mark this page.

    https://magicalmex.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.affordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 08:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Social Media Marketing Jobs

    I'm more than happy to uncover this great site. I wanted to thank you for ones time just for this wonderful read!! I definitely liked every bit of it and I have you saved to fav to look at new stuff on your website.

    https://www.masterplanner.com/cgi-bin/verLogin.pl?url=https://www.affordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 11:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Video Marketing Job

    I love looking through an article that will make men and women think. Also, many thanks for allowing for me to comment!

    https://www.thespotshop.us/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 12:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Internet Marketing Services

    http://www.hottystop.com/cgi-bin/at3/out.cgi?id=62&trade=http://affordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 13:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Social Media Marketing Agency Orange County

    Great site you have here.. It’s hard to find quality writing like yours nowadays. I really appreciate people like you! Take care!!

    http://vt.obninsk.ru/forum/go.php?http://juicycalls.com

    May 11, 2021 at 14:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Internet Marketing Specialists

    After I originally left a comment I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now whenever a comment is added I recieve four emails with the exact same comment. Is there an easy method you can remove me from that service? Thanks a lot!

    https://coreblog.pl/?wptouch_switch=mobile&redirect=http3A2F2Fppcpostfalls.com

    May 11, 2021 at 14:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Digital Marketing Pro

    Hi! I could have sworn I’ve been to this web site before but after browsing through some of the posts I realized it’s new to me. Regardless, I’m certainly delighted I discovered it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back regularly!

    https://www.samuelboller.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=masternearme.com

    May 11, 2021 at 15:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Content Marketing Firms

    I couldn’t refrain from commenting. Perfectly written!

    http://fivestardrywall.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=online-website-marketing.com

    May 11, 2021 at 16:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Art Van Repair

    https://sh.shulcloud.com/track.php?id=4c5c111e733449a9a439790f0d4b1431&url=https://fleetrepairshops.com/handicap-van-repair-shop-near-me

    May 11, 2021 at 19:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. barcelona jerseys

    I have read so many articles concerning the blogger lovers
    but this paragraph is in fact a good post, keep it up.

    May 11, 2021 at 19:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. nearest rv repair shop

    I truly love your website.. Very nice colors & theme. Did you create this site yourself? Please reply back as I’m trying to create my own blog and want to find out where you got this from or what the theme is called. Kudos!

    https://hr.pecom.ru/bitrix/rk.php?goto=https://ocrvcenter.net/rv-step-repair-near-me

    May 11, 2021 at 20:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. rv remodeling companies near me

    You should take part in a contest for one of the highest quality blogs on the net. I am going to recommend this website!

    http://neurostar.com/en/redirect.php?url=https://ocrv.fun/rv-repair-shop-valley-glen-california

    May 11, 2021 at 21:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. oranges for sale near me

    https://www.erc.ur.ru/include/links.php?go=https://ocrvcenter.biz/rv-bathroom-repair-near-me

    May 11, 2021 at 21:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. solar installation orange county

    You're so cool! I do not think I have read through a single thing like this before. So nice to discover another person with original thoughts on this subject matter. Seriously.. many thanks for starting this up. This site is something that is required on the web, someone with a little originality!

    https://moshtix.com.au/v2/ForceDesktopView?callingUrl=https://ocrv.art/utility-van-collision-repair-paint-shop-near-me-orange-county

    May 12, 2021 at 02:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Dodge Sprinter Service Centers

    http://openforbusinessmagazine01.businesscatalyst.com/Redirect.aspx?destination=https://fleetvehiclerepairshop.com/cargo-van-conversion-shop-near-me

    May 12, 2021 at 02:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Sprinter Van Service Near Me

    There's certainly a great deal to find out about this subject. I like all the points you have made.

    http://www.digitalstage.jp/go/r/r.cgi?t=https://fleetautorepairshop.com/sprinter-van-body-shop-near-me

    May 12, 2021 at 03:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Cua hang may tinh PC

    Link exchange is nothing else however it is simply placing
    the other person's weblog link on your page at proper
    place and other person will also do similar for you.

    May 12, 2021 at 07:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. RV Blinds California

    http://virtualpubfootball.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=youtube.com/channel/UCCWA5o3d2u11KvEjA3wLVUA/videos

    May 12, 2021 at 07:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. 2009 Stuck Intake Dodge Sprinter Repair

    https://domaindirectory.com/servicepage/?domain=boxtruckrepairshop.com/sprinter-van-mechanic-shop-near-me

    May 12, 2021 at 08:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. RV Upholstery California

    I was able to find good advice from your articles.

    https://www.govirtua.com/fr/redirect.php?r=http3A2F2Fyelp.com/biz/ocrv-center-anaheim-2

    May 12, 2021 at 09:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. rv inspection service near me

    http://weekly.chosun.com/protect_weekly/redirect.asp?url=https://ocrv.rocks/rv-repair-shop-fountain-valley-california

    May 12, 2021 at 10:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. best rv repair shop near me

    https://hr.pecom.ru/bitrix/rk.php?goto=https://ocrvcenter.biz/rv-repair-shop-riverside-california

    May 12, 2021 at 12:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. furniture repair orange county ca

    Pretty! This was a really wonderful article. Many thanks for providing this information.

    http://big5.jobcn.com/gate/big5/ocrv.world/rv-repair-shop-arcadia-california

    May 12, 2021 at 12:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Concrete Lincoln NE

    Appreciation to my father who shared with me concerning this
    blog, this web site is genuinely awesome.

    my site Concrete Lincoln NE

    May 12, 2021 at 13:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. oc vacuum

    Greetings! Very helpful advice within this article! It's the little changes that will make the biggest changes. Many thanks for sharing!

    http://www.cnxz.cn/redirect.php?url=https://ocrv.us/rv-repair-shop-perris-california

    May 12, 2021 at 14:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. rv technician near me

    https://www.pfizer.es/redirect.aspx?uri=https://youtube.com/watch?v=sa3icKSONpc

    May 12, 2021 at 15:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. RV Furniture Los Angeles

    This website was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I've found something that helped me. Kudos!

    http://www.travel4you.com/cgi-bin/hi.pl?language=en&codjobid=CU2-98939c9a93J&codobj=CU2-98939c9a93J&url=http://youtube.com/channel/UChUH5GdtSzHx6V02C90mnfQ/videos

    May 12, 2021 at 15:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. windshield repair orange county

    https://www.wrasb.gov.tw/opennews/opennews01_detail.aspx?nno=2014062701&return=https://youtube.com/watch?v=m3_Mx2MHh7w

    May 12, 2021 at 15:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. orange county trailer supply

    I was able to find good advice from your content.

    http://m.caijing.com.cn/member/logout?referer=https://ocrv.vip/rv-repair-shop-upland-california

    May 12, 2021 at 16:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. camper furniture replacement

    https://abenteuerteam.de/redirect/?url=http://youtube.com/watch?v=F8bq0owQFXw

    May 12, 2021 at 16:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Concrete Lincoln NE

    Hi there to every single one, it's truly a pleasant for me to visit this web page, it
    contains important Information.

    My homepage – Concrete Lincoln NE

    May 12, 2021 at 20:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. RV Alignment California

    http://www.potthof-engelskirchen.de/out.php?link=http://www.yelp.com/biz/ocrv-center-anaheim-2

    May 12, 2021 at 20:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Concrete Lincoln NE

    This is a topic which is near to my heart... Take care!
    Where are your contact details though?

    Check out my web page Concrete Lincoln NE

    May 13, 2021 at 04:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. rv collision repair near me

    https://agenciapara.com.br/email_tracking_links.asp?c=20417-11e6fc96ab4947513b60214735e999e0-4228887&h=https://youtube.com/watch?v=ZHUFNkLBHms

    May 13, 2021 at 05:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. semi truck polishing near me

    http://meteorite.lamost.org/modules/links/redirect.php?url=https://youtube.com/watch?v=PMlGBtbaJVI

    May 13, 2021 at 05:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. RV Dashboard California

    I have to thank you for the efforts you've put in writing this website. I really hope to view the same high-grade content from you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my very own site now 😉

    http://www.railroadresources.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=facebook.com/ocrvcenter

    May 13, 2021 at 05:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. show biz

    It's actually very complex in this full of activity life to listen news onn Television, therefore I only use internet for
    that reason, and get the most up-to-date information.

    May 13, 2021 at 09:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. bus ac repair

    Spot on with this write-up, I absolutely feel this web site needs far more attention. I’ll probably be back again to see more, thanks for the information!

    http://www.wastedhumanity.com/KGl_pBE7LiY

    May 13, 2021 at 11:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. motorhome supplies near me

    https://crimea.rtrs.ru/go/?q=https://youtube.com/watch?v=KGl_pBE7LiY

    May 13, 2021 at 14:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. upholstery places near me

    http://ichikawa.genki365.net/gnki02/common/redirect.php?url=https://ocrvexperts.com/rv-flooring-repair-near-me

    May 13, 2021 at 16:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Sprinter Repair Orange County

    http://yumi.rgr.jp/puku-board/kboard.cgi?mode=res_html&owner=proscar&url=commercialrepairshop.com/sprinter-van-restoration-shop-near-me&count=1&ie=1

    May 13, 2021 at 16:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Repair Dash Ac Vents Sprinter

    https://orphus.ru/redir.php?https://ocrvfleetservices.com/sprinter-van-frame-repair-shop-near-me

    May 13, 2021 at 16:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. bus repair shop

    I love it when individuals come together and share views. Great site, continue the good work!

    https://www.acuite.fr/journee_evenementielle_redirect?url=http://youtube.com/watch?v=Uj3i59uq4Zc

    May 13, 2021 at 20:03 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

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.