We all know that one of the most enjoyable ways to boost health is to have more sex!  Here are six secrets to sexual health that may increase your libido, and make Valentine’s Day become Valentine’s month.
 
1. Get some sun where the sun don’t shine! Lacking enough of the sunshine vitamin might deflate men’s sexual prowess. Research from the land of love, Italy, showed that low levels of vitamin D were very common in men with erection difficulties. Men who were D-deficient were 32% more likely to have erectile dysfunction than men with enough vitamin D. The sunshine vitamin fights free radicals that reduce the natural chemical responsible for blood flow (nitric oxide) that’s vital for erections. 1
 
2. Stay clear of candy hearts. Another reason to limit sugar: eating sugar raises your blood’s glucose levels, which increases the hormone insulin. Increased insulin can sap your body’s testosterone. Lack of this important hormone can make it more difficult for both men and women to become aroused. 
 
3. Who knew? Probiotics promote your sex drive. Taking beneficial bacteria may help to get you in the mood. At least in mice research, taking probiotic-rich yogurt gave them "a sexy swagger" that resulted in the male mice inseminating their partners faster and having bigger testicles, and the females giving birth to more offspring.  2
 
4.  Reconsider your urge to run. If you are a long-distance runner, your testosterone levels may be below average, reducing your sex drive. Research from the University of BC found that running distances of 64 kilometers each week, long-term, can drop your testosterone production by as much as 17%, especially if you continue endurance running after age 40. (It also affects bone density.)   3
 
5. Discover a new erogenous zone. Although most adults know the obvious areas for sexual arousal: genitals, mouth, nipples (both male and female), nape of the neck and inner thighs, there are a few other body parts that you may be neglecting. According to surveys, Canadian research published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine found that forearms, ears, scalp, navel, feet (including toes) and the small of the back may also be erogenous zones that deserve touching.  4
 
6. Has sex become a pain? If you are a woman who has lost interest in intercourse because it’s painful, you may have vulvodynia. Discomfort or burning pain in the vulvar area with no obvious cause (like a yeast infection or herpes) affects over 15% of women. Although the cause is not known, treatments for vulvodynia range from an anti-inflammatory diet to Kegels (exercises that strengthen the pelvic area) and ointment used before sex to numb the area.

 
1. (Erin Michos, MD, Johns Hopkins University, November 2015)
2. (Scientific American, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, May 2012)
3. (UBC Library, Kerry Mackelvie, 2009)
4. (The Journal of Sexual Medicine, Volume 11, Issue 7, May 2014)

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