A Meaty Conversation About Your Meat
Back in 2009, researchers Cristina Gomes and Christophe Boesch uncovered an odd fact about chimpanzees. They trade meat for sex. Doesn’t that blow your mind to think that chimps also see the value in sexual trade, although there has been no confirmation of chimp prostitutes. Still, this raises an interesting question: what are you willing to give up for a better sex life?We’ve already discussed the inevitability of changing your diet and avoiding fast food, desserts, and high-carb, high fat processed foods—undoubtedly stuff we’ve loved a little too much over the years. The yield it brings is more energy, better blood flow and more testosterone.
However, many men want to know the truth about meat, and whether eating meat is just as unhealthy as eating desserts. If this is true, it would no doubt make many men reconsider their carnivorous diet, and in essence, exchange their meat for a better sex life. Or in more colloquial terms, exchange their animal meat for their man meat.
Meat and Overall Health
It’s simply not scientific to proclaim that there are no risks at all in consuming lots of meat, because scientific studies have consistently shown otherwise. According to Stanley Hazen, MD, PhD, the study’s co-author and vice chair of translational research for the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute, carnitine converts to a heart-damaging compound called trimethylamine-N-oxide by way of bacteria in the intestine. Increased carnitine levels led to hardened blood vessels and increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Another report by JAMA Internal Medicine stated that processed meat or red meat, can increase a person’s risk ofdeveloping type 2 diabetes. According to Dan Nadeau, MD, endocrinologist at Mary and Dick Allen Diabetes Center at Hoag Hospital in Irvine, California, just “3.5 ounces of red meat or 1.8 ounces of processed meat” everyday can lead to a 19% and 51% increase in diabetes risk.”
Most people would not argue with the fact that a high-meat diet, given its link with obesity and heart disease, is a bad idea, and have probably felt the effects of a giant steak dinner just hours after settling in.
However, some sources such as Valter Longo, the Edna M. Jones Professor of Biogerontology at the USC Davis School of Gerontology and director of the USC Longevity Institute, go one step further state that, high-protein diets for middle aged-persons resulting from meat AND dairy products can make a person twice as likely to die, and four times more likely to die of cancer.
So we know by now that eating an abundance of low-grade meat is always going to be a bad idea. Now we come to a tougher question…
How Does Consuming Meat Affect a Man’s Sexual Desire?
You will find some studies out there proclaiming the superiority of vegetables and fruits over a meat diet, including one by Michael Wasserman, of UC Berkeley’s Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management. The study involved Wasserman following a group of red colobus monkeys in Uganda’s Kibale National Park and discovered that after the moneys ate leaves of Millettia dura, a tropical tree containing estrogen-like compounds, and closely linked to soy, they had altered hormone levels which caused them to have “more sex and less time grooming.” The benefit was believed to come from an increase of estradiol, a sex hormone, and cortisol which is a stress hormone.
In theory, eating meat poses a slight risk to erectile function, in that it contains high amounts of saturated fat, which causes high LDL cholesterol levels, which restricts blood flow to the penis. This is the very reason men take Viagra and herbal supplements like Ephedrine, to restore blood flow.
While there are many reports and testimonies suggesting that men feel sexual and energetic benefits after giving up meat, there are no conclusive studies suggesting that men can function better without meat. The reason why vegetarians and vegans usually are healthier than meat eaters is because they report a greater intake of natural libido-boosters that come from plants, nuts and fruits, like zinc and vitamin B complexes. They’re also outnumbered by meat-eaters who are over-eating and not paying any attention to health effects. What we do know is that a diet high in natural vegetables and fruits is always going to have health benefits, and it will improve your prostate health and sperm quality. So by all means, increase your intake of vegetables, because there really is no downside.
The Protein Problem
On the other side of the coin, protein-deficiencies and vitamin deficiencies reported among meat-abstaining men are concerning. Vegetarian men may actually be lowering their sex drive because of low protein consumption that can easily occur if their diets are not well balanced and nutritionally planned. There are also concerns that vegetarians are not absorbing zinc well enough, if they eat an abundance of beans and whole grains, as indicated by nutritionist Ann Louise Gittleman.
The greatest sources of zinc, as well as B-vitamins and protein naturally comes from meat, dairy and shellfish. Without sufficient protein and zinc, producing testosterone will be difficult and as we’ve learned testosterone is the magic key to unlocking that youth-like libido you miss so much.
Vegetarians state the necessity of eating additional foods with high protein, such as peanut butter, brown rice, nuts, and oatmeal, as well as pumpkin seeds for zinc.
“Know Your Cuts of Meat!”
On the other hand, meat-eaters would rather get their protein and zinc from animal sources but with an asterisk. Organic lean meats and fish are the preferred choice by men who want high protein but are concerned about possible health effects of eating low-grade meat—and eating too much of it. In addition, grass-fed animals are the nature lover’s choice, as this means they have not been pumped full of drugs and hormones, nor have they been exposed to an abundance of artificial chemicals.
Processed meat, including sausage and bacon, are among the most unsafe meats to consume. Even conventional red meat, which is unprocessed, comes from factory farming, and it’s difficult to ascertain how safe the livestock is to consume.
However, organic meat, poultry and fish can provide nutritional content when eaten in moderation. These essentials include:
- Vitamin B12
- B3 (Niacin)
- B6 Iron
- Omega 3
- DHA and EPA
What you ultimately decide to eat is up to you, but balance is always strongly encouraged. Bear in mind that if you take blood pressure medication, a high meat-diet could be the culprit and ridding yourself of a great portion of low grade meat could help you wean yourself off. Buying higher quality meats is definitely recommended, as this will help reduce the amount of synthetic hormones that your body takes in from unhealthy livestock practices.
Try to change your diet in steps and make note of how you feel after each step.
- Switch to high-grade lean meats and limit portions, while doubling a variety of vegetables.
- If you are overweight consider not eating meat until you can make progress in slimming your waist line. A man with a 42-inch waist is 50% more likely to suffer erectile dysfunction than one with a 32-inch waist.
- Create an exercise regimen and stick to it, so you can rule out obesity as the primary cause of ED. According to a Harvard study, just 30 minutes of walking per day can result in a 41% drop in risk for ED. A sedentary lifestyle could be causing all or most of the damage, and your meat-intake could actually be a red herring.
- Eliminate dairy for a temporary time, but make sure to take a multivitamin or eat fortified foods to counteract the B-12 deficiency.
- See a doctor to get your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides tested. Chances are, erectile dysfunction is indicative of a vascular problem, since it is directly related to heart function.
So no, good sex and strong erections are not about what you eat, but how well you balance your diet with essential nutrients. Remember, there is always a trade off for good sex in life. With just a few compromises in diet, you may find yourself enjoying a much better sex life without the need for hormone replacement therapy, supplements, or any other risky business.
Learn from the chimps, my friend who always seem to be getting some action.
The Most Important Organ: The Brain
It is only when a man reaches his mid forties that he finally sympathizes with a woman and comes to understand her stubbornly emotional view of sex and attraction. If the environment and the mindset isn’t right, then producing and maintaining an erection will not come naturally and may be difficult—all the more so if he is eating poorly, as we previously discussed. Even if a man passed the age of 45 is reasonably healthy, he still may need some additional waiting time for becoming fully erect, without proper emotional stimulation.
Simply put, life has caught up to him and now that testosterone levels have decreased, there must be a good reason for sex, and the excitement of the emotional experience will help to activate physical arousal and efficient blood flow.
Use It or Lose It
It is true that when men are younger and testosterone is booming, fewer outside influences are important, whether that’s healthy dieting or emotional connection. The body coasts for a few years having excessive energy that is the benefit of youth. However, when testosterone levels become compromised more attention must be paid to the psychological as well as the physical process.
It’s easy to forget in youth that arousal is a multi-step process, considering that erections tend to come out of nowhere. However, arousal always starts in the brain. The Reticular Activation System connects the brain stem and cortex, and when aroused we experience an increase in alertness and attention. Glands are activated by the endocrine system and so oxygen and glucose flows increase. Pupils are dilated for better eyesight and systems that are not of immediate concern, like digestion or immunity, are temporarily “powered down.” The Sympathetic Nervous System handles sexual arousal, as well as a heart rate and breathing increase and perspiration as a means of cooling.
Of course, when you’re young and horny you usually don’t stop to consider what actually triggers sexual arousal—usually it’s something very subtle that activates the five senses:
Perhaps just a touch, or an erotic sight or sound can trigger arousal. In some cases, just the smell that makes a man recall something from his past can be enough to trigger arousal. A recent study by Richard Ronay and William von Hippel discovered that young men don’t necessarily have loads of testosterone to give away—but rather, testosterone is still elevated by external stimuli. The study, conducted by the University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Australia, reported that the mere presence of an attractive woman elevated testosterone and even physical risk taking in young men. The increase in risk taking was attributed to the elevated levels of testosterone.
This draws attention to the old adage, “Use it or lose it.” In other words, a man who has decided that he can’t get aroused, and simply ages “gracefully” is intentionally under-producing testosterone and becoming accustomed to the life of a sexless trout. He might well be training his body not to be sexual, rather than seeking out more opportunities to be stimulated and to be aroused.
Performance Anxiety—The Silent Killer
Performance anxiety is one of the most brutal opponents in men over 45, and not merely because it beats down a man’s ego. It’s so much more than that, because performance anxiety directly contributes to the proper arousal process. David Barlow, PhD of Boston University conducted a study on cognitive factors that influence sexual arousal.
Barlow examined the between anxiety and sexual arousal. Respondents reported that men with and without sexual problems responded differently to controlled experiments using anxiety-inducing threats of mild electric shock. The men who had no problem with erectile dysfunction thought they would get shocked if they weren’t full aroused so they concentrated more on the eroticism of the scene. They experienced greater sexual arousal overall. On the other hand, the men who had sexual problems were so overly focused on the negative outcomes that they weren’t able to respond to the erotic cues. One theory volunteered by Barlow is that men who are experiencing ED are not always aware of how aroused they are, while men who occasionally get ED, are unfazed by it. They view it as a short-term issue, not a long-term problem.
Stopping the Aging Process Naturally
Another critical point men often forget is that ignoring the problem doesn’t make it go away—in fact, not enjoying one’s self can actually quicken the aging process, shortening the length of each DNA strand. Stressful life experiences have been linked to accelerated telomere shortening, which is an indicator of cellular aging. Shorter telomeres have been linked with premature death, chronic diseases, and other aging problems, according to studies by Dr. Owen Wolkowitz at University of California, San Francisco.
Therefore, all of these studies indicate that while most cases of erectile dysfunction are physically based, there is an emotional component that is not being properly addressed. Men over the age of 45 don’t have the luxury of spontaneous erections caused by very subtle mood changes. They require more advert arousal and focus on eroticism to produce a lasting erection.
You might even think of this as the Fountain of Youth Fantasy. As long as you keep thinking of yourself as a sexual being, with a strong appetite, and taking measures to keep filling your mind with sexual thoughts, you may start to notice an increase in libido and erection strength—provided you are also addressing nutritional deficiencies.
Experiences That Produce Sexual Arousal
Focusing more attention on the arousal process, with plenty of foreplay—and pre-foreplay—might be the recipe for a more passionate night. Remember that pre-foreplay, meaning the things you are willing to do get into bed with someone you like, is a greater part of the process when you hit your 40s.
Some recommended experiences include:
- Adrenaline pumping fun like scary movies, thrill sports like theme parks or skydiving. Anything that gets your heart pumping in a positive way can help you become more sexually aroused shortly after.
- Massage, physical and erotic; massages are not only excellent for stress relief, but with the addition of a sensual massage (delivered by your partner) you can to re-focus your attention on the eroticism of the moment and the subtleties of the sensation. Slowing down and “hyper” focusing on each moment is a great way to get the libido back.
- Look at your partner longer; no seriously! A study by Helen Fisher, an anthropologist at Rutgers University, actually discovered that when people looked at their lover for a period longer than 30 seconds, their brains actually started producing dopamine, a libido booster, which we have spoken of before. In Tantric Sex and Sensate Focus, couples are actually encouraged to stare into each other’s eyes for moments on end as a means of focusing their sensual and sexual desire.
- And remember, always make proper time for sex. Rushing the process only breeds performance anxiety and it’s self-defeating.
Understanding the need to be proactive in sexual foreplay is literally half the battle against erectile dysfunction. Without the knowledge and the mission firmly in mind to take better care of your body, and to give proper focus to erotic thoughts, your body adjusts to your lifestyle of no sex. It’s time to retrain yourself to fall in love, and to fall in lust, with the act of sex—as much an emotional journey and a physical release.