A recent study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine from the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles showed that men who exercise more have better erectile and sexual function, regardless of race. In a related study from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, caffeine intake was associated with reduced levels of erectile dysfunction (ED), that is to say that men who drink the equivalent caffeine level of two to three cups of coffee a day are less likely to have erectile dysfunction than men who drink little or no coffee.
In the Texas study, researchers noted that men who consumed between 85 and 170 milligrams of caffeine a day were 42 percent less likely to report ED, while those who drank between 171 and 303 milligrams of caffeine were 39 percent less likely to report ED compared to those who drank 0 to 7 milligrams a day. This effect was true even among men who were overweight or obese or who had high blood pressure. The takeaway message seems to be that more caffeine equates to better erections, across the board.
For patients experiencing erectile dysfunction, applying the benefits of caffeine with a robust exercise program may yield positive results. In the study from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, the link between exercise and improved erectile function, and sexual function in general, was convincingly established. Approximately 3,000 men participated in the Cedars-Sinai study. They each reported their level of physical activity. Researchers then categorized each man’s level of physical activity as sedentary, mildly active, moderately active, or highly active. At the same time, the participants in this study also reported their sexual function, including the ability to have erections and orgasms and the quality and frequency of erections and overall sexual function.
The researchers in Los Angeles concluded that men who reported more frequent exercise had higher sexual function scores, regardless of race, when compared to men who exercised either less frequently or more modestly. They used an interesting measurement, which they called metabolic equivalents or METS, for the vigorousness of the exercise reported. They noted that men who reported more than eighteen METS per week, which reflected both the total time of exercise and the intensity of exercise, reported the best sexual function. A total of eighteen METS can be achieved by combining exercises with different intensities but usually is the equivalent of two hours of strenuous exercise, such as running or swimming, three and a half hours of moderate exercise, or six hours of light exercise each week.
So, men, let’s get with the program: Drink lots of strong coffee and exercise regularly and vigorously. The dividend will be better erections, more robust orgasms, improved quality and frequency of erections, and an overall elevation of satisfying sexual function.
Dudley S. Danoff, MD, FACS is the attending urologic surgeon and founder/president of the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Tower Urology Group in Los Angeles, California. He is the author of The Ultimate Guide to Male Sexual Health: How to Stay Vital at Any Age (Del Monaco Press, 2015) and Superpotency (Warner Books).