Boners are all about blood flow. So your heart — the organ that pumps blood — has to be in tip-top shape for you to have A-plus erections. Anything that puts strain on your ticker, like being overweight or smoking, also tends to take lead out of your pencil.
Testosterone is the second factor that’s crucial to a strong erection, and there are plenty of weird things that screw with its production. All the items on this list can mess with your manhood:
Consuming sugar, whether in a slice of cake or a can of soda, causes an uptick in your blood’s glucose levels, which stimulates the release of the hormone insulin. That torpedoes your body’s testosterone production, making it tougher for you to get it up, shows a study from Irish and American researchers. This sugar-insulin-testosterone connection also explains why your T levels spike and you tend to pitch a tent first thing in the morning—when you haven’t eaten for hours.
2. Lack of sleep
Sleeping five hours a night (or less) for a few days was enough to sink testosterone levels by 10 per cent among a small group of healthy young guys, found a study from the University of Chicago.
Sleep is essential for testosterone production. And so, if you’re not getting enough of it — around eight hours a night — don’t be surprised if you erection seems groggy, the study suggests.
3. A baby in your bedroom
Snoozing in close proximity to your newborn — like if you have him or her in a bassinet in your bedroom — lowers your testosterone production by seven per cent or more, shows a study from Notre Dame and Northwestern University. You might think sleep disruption is to blame. But there’s evidence that hormonal shifts caused by spending the night next to your tyke triggers the drop in T, the study authors say.
4. Spending time indoors
Vitamin D plays an important role in testosterone production. Fail to get enough D from sun exposure or your diet, and your body’s T levels can plummet by 20 per cent or more, shows research from Germany and Austria. On the bright side, just 15 minutes of midday sunlight on your bare arms and legs is enough to get your daily D dose, notes a report from Harvard Medical School.
Multiple components of your drink of choice — from the hops in beer to the congeners in wine and liquor — infuse your libation with “estrogen-like substances” that appear to lower your testosterone, shows a study from the University of Oklahoma. Fortunately, you need to drink a lot — probably more than two drinks a day — to experience a slump in your wiener, explains resources from the University of Wisconsin.