The holiday season is upon us, which means it is prime family time. From snuggling by the fire under holiday lights to kissing as the new year rolls in, the holidays are filled with potentially romantic moments, built-up even more by the media. Holiday movies are all about finding love and the pressure is on to make this time of year as happy-memory-filled as possible. So how can you properly enjoy the holidays with your loved one if you are suffering from erectile dysfunction? The holidays are actually a common time of year for men who don’t normally suffer from ED to suddenly experience an ED episode. In fact, it’s the time of year when ED medications are most purchased, which should tell you something about the good company you are in if you do experience ED. Luckily, we have a few strategies for you to amp up the romance even while dealing with erectile dysfunction this holiday season.
1. EAT RIGHT
From Thanksgiving through New Year’s, the average American’s diet takes a real hit with all the holiday specialty foods that abound–pumpkin pie, meat pies, candy apples, chocolates of all sorts, spiced cookies, gingerbread…the list goes on and on. This is in addition to big family meals on the holidays themselves, which generally include three courses of delicious, artery-clogging foods. No one is saying not to enjoy yourself on the holidays, but for those in between weeks, it’s a good idea to eat these foods in moderation. Cholesterol from foods high in saturated fats can build up in your arteries and prevent enough blood flow from reaching the penile region, which is actually one of the causes of erectile dysfunction.
2. MANAGE YOUR STRESS
Stress is a major contributing factor to erectile dysfunction for a variety of reasons. Firstly, when you are stressed, your body goes into a “fight or flight” mode, which is not the mode you want to be in when you are trying to achieve an erection. For an erection to be successful, you need to relax so that your nerve endings are able to respond appropriately to sexual stimulation. Stress can also lead to binge eating unhealthy comfort foods, which are in abundance during the holiday season and which can lead to clogged arteries. The holidays are naturally a time of stress, especially when dealing with family, finances, and preparing for the days of the holidays themselves. If you can find a way to lower your stress levels or set your stress aside while you are with your partner, you will have a much better chance of achieving an erection than if not.
Performance anxiety may also come into play during the holidays. There is so much pressure to perform romantically–including in bed, for some couples–when love and festivity are in the air. This pressure is only magnified when an abundance of holiday-themed romantic comedies come out each year, perpetuating a certain perspective on what the holidays should look like for couples. It’s good to remember that the media is not real life and not to let the hype and expectations interfere with your performance.
3. FOOL AROUND HOWEVER IT MAKES YOU AND YOUR PARTNER HAPPY
There are many ways to be sexual with your partner and they don’t have to include penetration. In fact, most women don’t orgasm from penetration, anyway! The most important thing is that you show your love in whichever way you and your partner find the most comfortable and enjoyable and that you make each other happy. If penetration is too stressful or just not happening this holiday season, that doesn’t mean you can’t be romantic or even enjoy sexual activities with your loved one. Don’t let erectile dysfunction dampen the holidays. Be creative and work together to enjoy this time in ways unique to you.
4. SEE A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
It is always important to get medical help if you notice a problem. One random episode of erectile dysfunction may not warrant a phone call to the doctor, but if this is a recurring problem, you definitely want to be seen. A medical professional will work to uncover the cause of your ED and will get you on a treatment plan so that you can feel better–sometimes quite quickly. At Apex Health Center, for example, we use safe and painless methods to treat ED without resorting to surgery or painful injections. The sooner you seek out help, the closer you get to healing.
The most important thing to remember is that the holidays are about spending time together in the ways that work best for you. There are so many ways to show your love, care, and appreciation for your partner aside from sex, and there are so many ways for sex to be enjoyed without penetration. You and your partner can have intimate, romantic moments even if you are experiencing erectile dysfunction over the holidays. And, as always, see your doctor if you are experiencing new or troubling symptoms.