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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Are There Any Foods That Help With E.D.?

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I just read your article about erectile dysfunction and I agree with your answer. I, too, do not have as good of an erection as in the past. I am 56, and it seems that it started at about 50 years old, like your article said. There is no problem with having sex once, but that second erection often does not happen. My question is: Without drugs, is there any type of food I can eat to help get a harder erection? Just wondering, because I will not use drugs.

Great question. As I have noted in previous columns, erectile dysfunction (E.D.) is something that most men experience to some degree as they age, but many either can't or don't want to take prescription medications for E.D., because of side effects, cost, a commitment to holistic health remedies, or other reasons. I am not aware of any foods that have been scientifically proven to enhance erection, so I went back to Mark P. Behar, PA-C, who works at Milwaukee Health Services Inc. and volunteers at Brady East STD (BESTD) Clinic and who provided the answer in the column you reference.

Behar says, "A web search for foods to enhance erections will result in lots of 'hits;' however, anecdotal evidence ('testimonials') that claim effectiveness in the absence of rigorous scientific study must be questioned. The Catch-22 is that only pharmaceutical companies and governmental grants support such research, but if there is no potential economic benefit, then it probably won't get done. So we can't really know whether herbs or foods will be as effective as prescription medications like Viagra for enhancing men's erections. We can test certain non-prescriptive treatments, based on how the medications work. Are there any foods or herbs that safely relax smooth muscles? Or anything that safely dilates blood vessels? And will such non-medicinals improve erection firmness? I leave those answers to those who wish to surf the web."

I agree with Behar that, unfortunately, much of the research that gets done about health issues is related to the profit-making potential of the remedy being investigated, which leads to a lack of information about non-drug treatments for many health issues.

All is not lost for those looking for drug-free ways to work with the changing capacity of their bodies, however. I recommend the book All Night Long: How to Make Love to a Man Over 50 by Barbara Keesling as a great resource for massage techniques, sexual positions and other ways to increase blood flow to the penis in older men without drugs.

Want Laura to answer your questions in SEXpress? Send them to
laura@shepex.com. Not all questions received will be answered in the column, and Laura cannot provide personal answers to questions that do not appear here. Questions sent to this address may be reproduced in this column, both in print and online, and may be edited for clarity and content.

Laura Anne Stuart has a master's degree in public health and has worked as a sexuality educator for more than a decade. She owns the Tool Shed, an erotic boutique on Milwaukee's East Side.

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