Thought about leading a healthier lifestyle but haven't gotten around to
doing it? Here's a possible incentive: Experts say people who are mentally and
physically fit are more likely to have good sex lives.
"If you feel good about yourself, you are in a better position to feel
good about relationships, including your sex life," says Karen Zager, PhD,
a psychologist in private practice in New York City.
"When one is not feeling well, and is exhausted, it can certainly have a
negative impact on the quality of one's sex life," says Saralyn Mark, MD, a
senior medical adviser at the Office on Women's Health.
By Theresa O'Rourke
Tired of touchy-feely friendships and being the vulnerable one in
romance, a new breed of steely female is beating guys at their own
I'm at a sake bar watching a man get drunk on an ice-cold woman. He
shamelessly admits he can't stop thinking about her. "Really," she
says, devouring a fat slice of tuna in one tidy bite. "That's
interesting." Her raw beauty recalls a young Debbie Harry. He soldiers on:
Why in God's name is she single? What brought her...
This may all seem intuitive, yet many people find the road to a fitter mind
and body to be bumpy, especially if it involves losing weight, starting an
exercise program, reducing stress, or getting enough sleep.
One big reward, though, is to look and feel better -- arguably a plus for
good romantic and sensual activities.
While there is no proven connection between a balanced diet and bedroom
performance, a poor diet can cause health problems that can possibly interfere
Studies show animals that get too few calories tend to have weakened immune
systems, says John Allred, PhD, professor emeritus of nutrition at Ohio State
University. He says illness can be a big hurdle for pleasurable
"If you have heart disease, then you might be taking medication that
would inhibit sexual activity, or you might be afraid to have a heart
attack," says Allred. "If you have the flu, a high fever, or just don't
feel good ... any of these things would be a turn-off."
Mark Kantor, PhD, associate professor of nutrition and food science at the
University of Maryland, agrees, saying, "You will feel sexy if you look and
A way to do that is to eat an overall balanced diet and to exercise each
day. The two go hand-in-hand, says Kantor, as demonstrated by today's obesity
problem, in which people eat too much food and aren't active enough.
Move That Body
Being physically active can be a natural Viagra boost, according to the
American Council on Exercise (ACE), which recommends 20 to 30 minutes of
moderate exertion a day.
"Men and women who exercise regularly are going to have increased levels
of desire," says Cedric Bryant, PhD, ACE's chief exercise physiologist.
"They're going to have enhanced confidence, enhanced ability to achieve
orgasm, and greater sexual satisfaction."
If that isn't motivation enough to work out, consider this: Researchers have
found that there is a correlation between waist size and a man's odds of having
erectile dysfunction (ED). The larger the man's waist size, the greater his
chance of having ED (because of a higher risk of underlying cardiovascular