Safe Sex: 22 Ways to Get Harder Erections Without Medication

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Things to consider:

Not happy with how hard your erections get? You’re not alone.

The key is figuring out whether you’re dealing with a one-off issue or if less than ideal erections are becoming a regular occurrence.

Either way, a combination of talking with your partner, making a few lifestyle adjustments, and forming new habits may help.

Start by talking to your partner

Talking to your partner is the only way to communicate how you’re feeling and what you’re experiencing.

Use this time to open up a discussion about any anxieties, discontents, or even boredom you may have about your current sex life.

Here are some tips to help spark a healthy, productive conversation:

Dissatisfaction with your sex life doesn’t necessarily mean dissatisfaction with your partner or relationship. Try to keep your mind from wandering toward extremes. Do your best to reassure your partner. A convo about your sex life likely doesn’t mean the end of this pairing; you may just need something new to spice things up.

Sexual behaviors are often learned from the media we consume. This includes both positive and negative depictions of sexual activity. Be aware that what you think sex is supposed to be may not be what you or your partner want.

Timing is important. This isn’t the time to multitask. You don’t want to risk making your partner feel unheard during a vulnerable conversation.

Try something new in the bedroom

Before you do anything too drastic or long term to your diet or lifestyle, try to spice things up with:

New positions. Try raising your partner’s legs on your shoulders when you enter, do it from behind while lying on your side or with your partner on their hands and knees, or have your partner keep their legs closer together to tighten the vaginal canal or anal area.

Sex toys. Handheld vibrators, penis rings, butt plugs, and anal beads can be a fun way to stimulate the penis, clitoris, or anus.

Other forms of sexual contact. Use your mouths to build excitement, either on each other’s genitals or other erogenous areas.

Different entry points. In a heterosexual relationship and only tried vaginal sex? Ask your partner if they’re interested in trying anal. Or if they’re willing to peg you with a toy. Pro tip: Bring plenty of lube!

Role-playing. Set up a situation or act as characters to help build an arousing story around your sexual encounter.

Focus less on sexual performance. Instead, focus more on identifying what type of touch feels the most pleasurable to you.

Eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.

The nutrients in many fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes help improve blood flow throughout your body — including your penis.

And blood flow to the penis is one of the keys to healthy and consistent erections.

Here are some foods that may help:

Fruits high in antioxidants and anthocyaninsTrusted Source, such as blueberries, can help protect body tissues and lower your risk for heart disease.

Dense, leafy greens with folateTrusted Source, like spinach, can help boost testosterone levelsTrusted Source.

Foods dense with B-12Trusted Source, such as fermented soy-based tempeh, can help support other bodily functions that contribute to erectile health.

Foods with L-arginineTrusted Source, such as oatmeal, can help relax your muscles and improve blood flow.

Eat less fatty, fried, and processed foods

Eating a diet that’s high in fatty, fried, or processed foods may increase your riskTrusted Source for conditions that can affect your sexual health and overall well-being.

These conditions include:

heart disease

high blood pressure

diabetes

You may find it helpful to:

Swap high-fat dairy products, like yogurt and milk, for low-fat versions.

Opt for oat or whole-grain cereals instead of processed ones.

Buy cheese whole instead of pre-grated.

If you’re usually pressed for time, you may find it helpful to keep salad greens and other easy-to-prep vegetables and grains like quinoa on hand.
Use simple whole foods like these to throw a quick, nutritious meal together, or even prep a meal or two in advance.

Not sure where to start? Consider the Mediterranean diet

Some researchTrusted Source suggests the Mediterranean diet can help with several underlying factors that may contribute to erectile dysfunction (ED).

Following this diet may help:

lower cholesterol

increase antioxidants

increase L-arginine levels

improve blood flow

If you aren’t ready to make the switch or want to gradually ease into it, start by eating more of the following:

vegetables like kale, spinach, and carrots

fruits like apples, bananas, and grapes

nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds

legumes like beans, lentils, and peanuts

tubers like potatoes and yams

poultry like chicken and turkey

eggs

dairy like cheese and Greek yogurt

healthy fats like extra-virgin olive oil and avocados

Cut back on your alcohol intake

Heavy alcohol consumption is associated Trusted Source with a higher risk of sexual dysfunction.

One or two drinks typically won’t hurt. It may even help lowerTrusted Source your risk for erectile issues.

But there’s a direct correlation between how many drinks you have and how often you have issues with sexual performance.

Feel free to drink more caffeine

Love coffee or tea? Great! Caffeine has been shown Trusted Source to improve blood flow and relax the muscles that help you get and keep an erection.

Try to keep it to black coffee, unsweetened tea, and caffeinated drinks without sweeteners.

Get at least 20 minutes of moderate exercise every day

Some research suggests that physical inactivity can have a negative effect on erectile function.

Just 20 minutes of exercise a day can help improve your circulation and aid in weight management — two key factors in overall erectile health.

Make time for a short walk or jog, or consider the following moves for an at-home workout:

planks

pushups

situps

squats

burpees

Watch how much time you spend cycling, though

Some research suggests the pressure put on the blood vessels and nerves in your pelvic area when biking can lead to ED.

More research is needed to know if there’s truly a connection.

If you bike a lot to work or just for fun, consider investing in a seat that takes some of the pressure off your perineum, where pressure may do the most damage.

All in all, maintain a healthy weight

Having excess weight or obesity can affect your sex drive and increase your risk for conditions that affect your sexual health, including:

type 2 diabetes

high blood pressure

high cholesterol

Eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise are key.

Make sure you’re getting enough sleep

Not getting enough sleep, especially as a result of sleep apnea and other sleep disorders, has been linkedTrusted Source to an increased risk of ED.

Losing sleep can also make you more likely to develop plaque in your arteries (atherosclerosis).

This can affect your circulation, and, in turn, make it more difficult to get and maintain an erection.

Here are some tips to make sure you get your six to eight hours a night:

Turn off all screens — including your phone, computer, or TV — at least an hour before bed.

Avoid caffeinated drinks after about 6 p.m.

Limit any daytime naps to an hour or so at most.

Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.

Consider taking a melatonin supplement about an hour before bed.

Keep your bedroom at around 70°F (21°C).

Do what you can to minimize or better manage your stress

Research suggests that psychological factors like stress and anxiety are often the culprit behind ED.

Stress and anxiety can also make you more likely to develop other conditions that have been linked to ED, including:

heart disease

high blood pressure

high cholesterol

overweight or obesity

alcohol use disorder

Try these tips to reduce stress:

Listen to music.

Light an aromatherapy candle or diffuse essential oils.

Keep a journal to write down your thoughts.

Make yourself laugh with a funny movie or stand-up comedy.

Try to cut back your nicotine use

Nicotine and other chemicals in vaporizers, cigarettes, cigars, and other products can damage blood vesselsTrusted Source and reduce the effectiveness of nitric oxide.

Nitric oxide opens up your blood vessels, allowing blood to flow through more easily when you’re erect. Impairing its effectiveness can make it more difficult to get and stay erect.

The earlier you quit, the lower your overall risk for developing ED.

You may be able to use an herbal supplement, but exercise caution

Herbal supplements aren’t regulated in the same way as food and medication. Many herbs can interact with over-the-counter and prescription medications, too.

It’s important to talk to a healthcare provider before adding any of the following supplements to your routine. They can discuss your individual risk for side effects.

 

-healthline.com