Having a good sex life is not difficult.
One needs to get the basics right -- eat, sleep, exercise and communication, says andrologist and sexual health consultant Dr Chirag Bhandari.
Physical changes that our bodies go through as we age, has a direct effect on our sexual health.
There is a change in hormones, neurological and circulatory functions which directly influence sexual health.
Apart from this, your lifestyle, sleeping, eating and sexual habits also play a big role in maintaining sexual heath.
Lack of proper care and improper habits can cause problems like erectile dysfunction, infertility, low testosterone etc.
A good sexual life is important as it does a lot more than simply provide pleasure.
An orgasm is known to help increase oxytocin levels in your body which also improves a person's mood.
Sex reduces stress, depression, increases self-confidence and also keeps the heart in good shape.
Not just young couples, good, healthy sex is beneficial among middle-aged and elderly couples as well.
However, in order to fully satisfactorily enjoy sex and its benefits, one must have good sexual health.
In our fast paced lifestyle that is defined by work, stress and lack of intimacy with our partners, it is difficult to maintain good sexual health.
This becomes the cause of several sexual health problems in both men and women.
If you can identify and take care of your sexual health at the right time, you can get things rolling in bed.
Here are some simple ways in which you can satisfy yourself and your partner to have better sexual health:
1. Talk more about sex
Talking about sex is the first and foremost way to have better sexual health and in turn better sex.
Talking about sex and spreading awareness about sexual health will give you a reality check about your sexual problems.
Often we don't talk about sex thinking it is something only happening to us and will be embarrassing to talk about it with anyone. However, it is vital that we share our discomfort with our partners and doctors.
Only certified and experienced medical practitioners can help out and cure sexual problems.
Good communication also includes telling your partner about your fantasies, preferences and dislikes in bed.
Healthy and open communication about methods, pleasure etc is essential for maximum satisfaction. It increases intimacy and ensures that both partners enjoy good sexual health.
2. Exercise (along with Kegel exercises)
Exercise improves metabolism and keeps you in good shape.
This means an improved libido and good energy. It also helps in uplifting one's mood and reducing stress.
Regular physical exercise -- both cardiovascular and weight training -- is advised to keep all hormones properly balanced in the body which is essential for good sexual health.
When you are in a good shape you feel more confident in bed and perform better due to increased self-esteem.
While exercising one should also include some kegel exercises, which are basically pelvic floor exercises.
These can be done by both men and women and help in strengthening the pelvic muscles.
Kegel exercises mainly involve contracting the muscles one would use to control peeing. This can be done anytime -- while you're sitting and working, waiting in a queue etc.
3. Eat well
Intake of proper food is very important when it comes to maintaining good sexual health.
Certain foods like garlic, onion, bananas, chilli and pepper can help increase blood flow which is also better for sex.
Foods that reduce hypertension can also boost your sexual performance.
Simularly, foods rich in vitamin B help in balancing hormone levels in the body and improve the nervous system, thus reducing stress and enhancing performance.
4. Get rid of bad habits
Research conducted by various medical institutes around the world claim that more than 50% of sexual problems in all genders are caused by the consumption of alcohol and smoking.
Smoking is known to be one of the major factors contributing to impotency in men. Such stimulants narrow blood vessels, cause erectile problems.
Other than that, these habits lead to a reduction in libido and cause tremendous mood swings.
Cutting down on alcohol and smoking is one of the first steps one should take while trying to cure themselves of any sexual problem.
5. Sleep more, stress less
Sleeping late and engaging our minds at work even post midnight is a common habit most of us have.
Lack of proper sleep and wake up schedule interferes with the circadian rhythm, badly affecting hormonal levels. This causes mood swings, stress and a forever-tired body.
When one is stressed and feeling under the weather because of lack of sleep, intimacy and sex is just out of question.
Proper sleep can make or break a good relationship.
One must also take steps to reduce cortisol and adrenaline levels that get increased due to stress. An hour of peaceful yoga or mindful meditation can work wonders and restore your energy levels.
6. Seek help
This is simple, but important, advice.
If you are facing any sexual problem and do not know how to get yourself cured of it, please consult a doctor.
We often ignore sexual problems because of fear of embarrassment or lack of proper knowledge, but when it comes to any health issue, a stitch in time saves nine.
Keeping a problem untreated for long is not good for you and your partner.
When you seek help, doctors make sure that you are listened to in a private environment.
Thanks to advancement in medical science and technology, there are procedures that can treat all problems including erectile dysfunction, impotency, premature/painful/delayed ejaculation, low libido etc.
So there is no need for worry. Do not hesitate to seek help.
7. Sex therapy
If required, consult a sex therapist.
There are therapies for individuals as well as for partners meant to help you re-connect to yourself and to your partner.
Sex therapy provides medical, psychological and interpersonal solutions to problems.
If you and your partner have a problem communicating what you require from each other, sex therapy can be a good way to connect and increase satisfaction in bed.
Emotional troubles, which many a times come in the way of pleasurable sex, can also be treated with scientific methods.
Often partners can not provide satisfactory orgasms and therefore one should also masturbate in order to satisfy oneself.
Masturbation in men is also known to help with longevity. One can practice lasting longer on their own so that they last longer with their partners.
Masturbation improves hormone levels, de-stresses and is also beneficial for good sleep.
9. Spice things up
Regular sex in the same positions and with same methods can become monotonous and can be a reason for low libido.
Trying new techniques, lubricants, vibrators can help not just in uplifting the mood but also help in solving problems.
Different ways of lovemaking act as stimulants for better orgasms and can be very satisfactory. Talk to your partner and try things you haven't but have always wanted to.
Explore and find new ways of pleasure.
10. Give yourself and your partner time
Understanding what works and what doesn't takes time.
If you and your partner are trying to quit smoking or better your everyday habits, don't immediately expect to see its result on your sexual health.
Things take time. Even when communicating with your partner, take your time to understand and try things out.
Age also affects sexual health so remember that you need to be stress free, patient and consistent in your daily habits to have a good sexual health.
Having a good sex life is not difficult. One needs to ensure to get the basics right -- eat, sleep, exercise and communication.
If you are able to maintain a good lifestyle and find time for intimacy and personal connection with your partner, you can ensure to have a better sex life.
Dr Chirag Bhandari is the founder of Institute of Andrology and Sexual Health, Delhi and Jaipur.