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 "Brewers Droop"

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Alcohol and Other Erection Killers

With frat houses throwing major parties on weekly basis, beer drinking on college campuses is at an all-time high.

Of course ... there's something that also has increased on the campuses as well...

Brewer's Droop

That's the quaint term for what can happen when you try to make love after drinking far too much.

Alcohol may be a sexual lubricant, decreasing inhibitions between the sheets, but too much of it can decrease your sex performance and your desire.

Erection Difficulty

Of course, there are other reasons for a man to lose that desire or his ability to achieve or maintain an erection. In medical terms, it is known as erectile dysfunction (ED) and it's a common condition. Research shows more than 50% of men over 40 experience erection problems at some time. By 2025, it is estimated that more than 300-million men worldwide will have ED, and it can strike at any age.

The intimate nature of the problem means that the vast majority of sufferers - around 90% of men - have been reluctant to seek any form of erectile dysfunction treatment. That is changing as doctors recognise the importance of discussing sexual functioning with patients and providing opportunities for men to talk about problems. This is important, because erectile problems can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition such as diabetes and vascular disease.

Erection Aids

In the past, medical treatment was restricted to injections into the penis or vacuum penis pump devices, which were not popular due to the inconvenience and physical discomfort involved. Effective oral treatments have been introduced, the first and most well-known being Viagra, though there are others (see information on the right). In less serious cases, erectile dysfunction can simply be a result of long-term stress that is not handled well. In 500 Health Tips, award-winning British health writer Hazel Courtney and nutritionist Gareth Zeal say learning to deal with stress can restore sexual desire and function.

They offer a variety of tips that include exercise, because it releases feel-good endorphins in the brain. Exercise shouldn't be overdone, though. The authors point out that while some men find strenuous exercise enhances sexual desires, others find it does the opposite. You may also need to learn to laugh more, they say, because laughter also releases endorphins. Other tips include learning to breathe more deeply and not to worry unduly about a low sex drive. That may be easier said than done, but worrying on its own without tackling the causes, will only worsen the situation.

Courtney and Zeal also point out that smoking constricts blood flow, which is essential for proper erectile function. And men who use large amounts of marijuana or steroids may also suffer erection problems. A lack of vitamins, in particular C, E, A and B, and the minerals zinc and selenium can cause a low sperm count and lack of sex drive. Men on antidepressants or sleeping pills may lack these nutrients.

When it comes to foods, the authors say that anyone with erectile problems would "do well to consider a cholesterol-lowering diet". It may be true that research is proving more and more that saturated fat is not nearly as bad for our health as we have been led to believe, but clearly an excess of it isn't a good idea either, and not just for sexual health. Among foods they suggest you avoid are sausages, meat pies and related products; foods high in sodium-based salt and sugar substitutes such as aspartame.

Their advice on possible aphrodisiacs comes disguised as "friendly foods", as well as herbal remedies (see more information below). Some may not seem that friendly. Garlic and onions, for example, may boost his passion but quell yours if he breathes fumes all over you. New research does support the aphrodisiac properties of onions. A Daily Mail report last week quotes Argentinian university biochemist Pasquale Potenza (whose family name just happens to mean "potency") as saying the red Tropea onion from southern Italy contains nitric oxide, the active ingredient in Viagra.

Drew Voight

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