We are starting off Men’s Health Week by tackling the subject at the forefront of most men’s minds: the penis. We checked in with local doc and nationally recognized expert, Dr. Aaron Spitz, a board-certified urologist and author.
Specifically addressing what men need to know (and do) to obtain maximum penis health, Dr. Spitz gave us permission to share his Five-Step Plan for Maximum Penis Health, excerpted and abbreviated for length, from his book, The Penis Book: A Doctor’s Complete Guide to the Penis – From Size to Function and Everything in Between.
The Penis Book
I have devoted my entire professional life (and a good part of my private life) to promoting penis health, culminating in this five-step plan to provide you with the essential tools you need for your tool.
Step 1 is all about the four-letter word that’s on the tip of everyone’s tongue. That’s right: F-O-R-K. What you eat affects the health of your heart and the blood vessels that pump blood to the penis. The key to a man’s heart truly is his stomach, and the key to a man’s penis is his heart.
- The key to eating for your penis is eating for your circulation. The penis is all about bloodflow, and what science has taught us is that the key to bloodflow is an amazing molecule called nitric oxide. The chemical formula is NO (nitrogen and oxygen), which is easy to remember. This amazing molecule not only makes your penis arteries open like garden hoses, it actually nourishes and strengthens them. NO is made by healthy foods, and it’s actually destroyed by unhealthy foods.
- Fortunately, eating well is not complicated. All the good NO-boosting food has been grouped together in one special place in the grocery store where it’s easy to find. It’s called the produce section . Vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, and whole grains are all NO boosters. Some boost NO more than others. Some are better raw, others better cooked.
- It’s also important to chew your food. In this fast-paced world, smoothies and juices get you out the door, but you actually need to slow down and chew, just like your mom told you to. It turns out there are bacteria hiding out in the crevices on the back of your tongue that must react with your saliva in order for you to absorb the NO you need. And chewing makes you salivate. Blending also breaks down the fibers in fruits making it easier for you to absorb more sugar than you would if you just ate them.
Step 2 steps it up with sexercise. When you exercise, your blood vessels release chemicals that strengthen the health of your penis. Although it’s not a muscle, your penis is surrounded by muscles.
- Inactivity actually increases your risk of becoming impotent by 10 times. Being sedentary also causes you to accumulate toxins in your blood that destroy NO. Furthermore, it leads to obesity, and the fat cells also create toxins that sap NO and cause your bloodflow to deteriorate. Exercise and weight loss go hand in hand if you eat right (see Step 1). Exercise clears your blood of inflammation and toxins and it stimulates your tissues to release more NO, which increases bloodflow to the penis.
- Regular exercise has been proven to prevent and reverse erection problems.
- There is an actual exercise that can pump up your pumper. Although the penis is not a muscle, it is surrounded by muscles in your pelvis. They have awesome names like bulbospongiosus and ischiocavernosus (much cooler than abs or quads, don’t you think?). These muscles squeeze the base of the penis, which reinforces the erection by preventing venous leakage and increasing the pressure inside the pumped-up penis chambers. It’s that squeeze that makes it throb. This boosts your pud to stud-level hardness. These muscles contract as a reflex during sex, but you can also work them out with specific squeeze maneuvers called Kegel exercises. The squeeze is simply the movement you make when you are trying to stop yourself from having a bowel movement or from peeing. It’s not squeezing your butt or crunching your stomach.
Step 3 is going offline. Your big head is connected to your little head, and the sensations and images that enter your brain from streaming pornography actually can make Mr. Happy not so happy and even confused after a while.
- Your brain on porn is like your brain on drugs. Studies show that the prefrontal cortex, the same center of the brain that causes addicts to seek drugs, can cause you to seek porn. What’s the big deal? The problem is burnout.
- In the age of streaming porn, 25 percent of young guys ages 16 to 21 have erectile dysfunction and low desire, and more than 10 percent have trouble ejaculating. These troubles are directly correlated with how much porn they are watching. The younger a kid is when he sees porn, the greater the chance he won’t enjoy sex when he gets older.
- The good news is, even if you have gone to the dark side and you are having trouble with your light saber, the Force can once again be with you. Your brain is amazingly resilient, and if you give it some time, it will bounce back. If you are suffering from the effects of porn, the best thing to do is quit cold turkey.
Step 4 is detox. Drugs, alcohol, and certain medications, including steroids, can leave you hanging. Get the hard facts on how what you put into your body affects your hardness.
- One of the worst poisons for your penis is a cigarette. Long depicted as sexy, the cigarette has finally been revealed for the poison stick it truly is. The toxins in the smoke don’t just choke your lungs, they get into your bloodstream and damage your blood vessels. These free radicals not only directly attack the walls of the blood vessels, they shut down your precious NO. Cigarettes cause your arteries to harden and form plaques and even your blood to clot.
- Alcohol is a depressant. As your blood alcohol levels rise, your sexual arousal actually drops, and you may even find it harder to climax. Too much, too often catches up with you. …if you really overdo it you can damage your liver, which boosts your body’s estrogen levels. This shuts down your testosterone and kills all that courage you thought was in the bottle. Alcohol is also a nerve toxin, and too much can destroy the nerves that stimulate your penis. As if that weren’t enough, excess alcohol also knocks out the NO in your blood vessels, directly hurting the bloodflow to your penis.
- Marijuana use is a tricky subject. The science is limited, and the studies aren’t nearly as clear-cut as with cigarettes and alcohol.
- Cocaine, amphetamines, and ecstasy, often used to enhance sex, eventually result in higher rates of erectile dysfunction, lower levels of pleasure, and difficulty reaching climax.
Step 5 is all about how you snooze or loose. Mr. Happy needs sleep, or he becomes Mr. Grumpy. Uninterrupted sleep is important for the health of your nerves, blood vessels, and testosterone production—all of which are critical for maximum penis health.
- Sleep causes your testosterone to surge, and it promotes healthy nerves and circulation to your penis. Lack of sleep leads to problems with sex drive, erections, and even orgasm.
- Maximum penis health requires a minimum of 7 to 9 hours of sleep for most guys, even more if you are a teenager. You can’t make it up on the weekends, either; your body doesn’t work that way. Power naps are great the day after a long night, but they don’t allow the same production of testosterone your penis relies on.
Curious what else Dr. Spitz has to say? The book is available through all major retailers and most local bookstores in paperback, ebook or audio format.