Home > Lifestyle > Man > Your health Updated 04 March 2014 Male sexual health – more than just getting it up It's vital to understand the inner workings of your sexual organs and that a healthy sex life does not begin and end with an erection. 4 iStock Follow us Facebook » Ask CyberShrink » Receive Health tips » Test Your sex toy IQ » All the tests you'll ever need 8 strange things your body does Male sexual health is a complex issue – and one that is often taken for granted. Complications in this department can have repercussions not only for their love lives and self-confidence but for their overall health as well.Because a man’s sexuality is crucial to his perception of masculinity it is vital they understand the inner workings of their sexual organs and how a healthy sex life does not begin and end with an erection.Regular sex versus ageingStudies show that men over 50 have a longer life expectancy if they have at least two orgasms a month while heart attack victims apparently survive longer if they regularly have sex. The natural process for the ageing male is that once they hit 40 years old their blood vessels start to age, becoming furred with fatty deposits that can affect blood flow to the penis, putting men at risk for erectile dysfunction.Fatty tissues build up and the consequential hardening of arteries is the result of obesity, high blood pressure, lack of exercise and a diet high in saturated fats. With time, a man’s testicles may also not be able to produce as much testosterone, making it difficult for the penis to become rigid.A good exercise routine – inside and outside the bedroom – is key to longevity.Get your sleepWhile we sleep our bodies perform maintenance and repair to cells and tissues – including those of the sexual organs. Throughout the night, healthy men experience erections that are thought to be crucial to the health of the penile tissue. If a man doesn’t sleep well and misses out on the REM phase (a cycle during sleep where blood vessels are widened), the tissue around the penis can become deficient of oxygen and nutrients causing damage and affecting the ability of the penis to become rigid. Men who do not have normal erections during sleep often have difficulty sustaining erections when they are awake.Men who no longer experience morning erections should consult their doctor. Don’t stressWith each sexual encounter the Luteinizing hormone is released – it is central to sexual appetite and drive. Fear of failure and anxiety over sexual performance causes the production of adrenalin, which can affect a man’s ability to maintain an erection. This will in turn lower of the production of the luteinizing hormone – a vicious circle caused by anxiety and reduced intimacy. So if your member is not rising to occasion as much as he should, don’t make it worse by worrying about it, rather visit your doctor – sooner than later.Cardiovascular healthThe common health conditions that affect erections also cause heart attacks and strokes and in fact 90% of men with erectile dysfunction have risk factors for cardiovascular disease – the number one killer in the western world. Studies suggest that in a group of men with penile artery disease, 50 to 75% will also have the early stages of blocked arteries around the heart. An erection therefore plays a central role in a man’s health as it is an excellent visible indicator of what is going on in the rest of his body. When there are problems with sexual appetite and performance, a direct link can be made to health, especially cardiovascular health. Men should learn to address the source of these problems by focusing on how their lifestyle influences their cardiovascular system.Sex, sex and more sexSex is a healthy, necessary and natural part of life – it helps to keep the body vital, improves sleep, helps to reduce anxiety and increases self-confidence. Studies indicate that men who enjoy active sex lives are generally in good physical and emotional health. The right foods and regular exercise are powerful tools in keeping the cardiovascular system in optimum health – and the healthy functioning of that "all-important organ".By making a few simple lifestyle changes, men can prevent and reverse conditions that diminish health and hardness – at any age. Erex for Men press release More in Lifestyle Men's health: staying on top of your game More: ManYour health advertisement Read Health24’s Comments Policy Comment on this story 4 comments Comments have been closed for this article. Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Loading comments... From our sponsors Keep an eye on your vision Which skin products are better, ‘medical grade’ or ‘over-the-counter’? Win 1 of 6 R5000 cash prizes Win Skin Renewal voucher Live healthier Exercise benefits for seniors » Working out in the concrete jungle Even a little exercise may help prevent dementia Here’s an unexpected way to boost your memory: running Seniors who exercise recover more quickly from injury or illness When sedentary older adults got into an exercise routine, it curbed their risk of suffering a disabling injury or illness and helped them recover if anything did happen to them. 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