Christmas is a time for decadence and enjoying yourself. ’Tis the season of mulled wine, mince pies, and relaxing. The week or two over the festive period can always get a bit out of control - but how much damage does it do to your body and sexual health?
Although in reality, a few weeks of letting yourself go is unlikely to do much harm, it might if those seasonal habits become year round ones. And there are even a few instances when the risk of erectile dysfunction (ED) might be on the near horizon. But it’s not all bad: if you’re experiencing ED, the festive spirit might make getting hard a bit easier.
Turkey, pigs in blankets, roast potatoes and all the trimmings - there’s no denying that the food is one of the best parts of Christmas. But what are all those delicious calories doing for your body?
Everyone expects to put on a couple of pounds through the festive season, and the key is to shed those in line with your resolutions in January. In the short term there’s unlikely to be any impact of eating too much on erectile dysfunction, but if you struggle to lose those pounds, you might face a problem.
Atherosclerosis, where arteries become clogged up, is one of the most common causes of erectile dysfunction. Eating too much fatty and unhealthy food is a big cause of this condition.
With celebration comes booze, and with booze comes ED - more often than you’d think. Alcohol is one of the biggest reasons behind men experiencing erectile dysfunction, and it can have both long and short term impacts.
Alcohol is a depressant, so even if it boosts your mood for a short time, it’s actually slowing your body down. Most importantly, it reduces blood flow to the penis, making it more difficult for you to get an erection - you might have heard of it referred to as “whiskey dick” or “brewer’s droop”. This is the way you’re most likely to experience ED over the festive period, so make sure you drink in moderation, for the sake of your, and your penis’s, health.
Longer term heavy drinking can cause more serious ED, too. Over a long period of time, alcohol damages the blood vessels around the penis. This reduces your ability to get an erection, and can mean more permanent damage than the temporary phenomenon of brewer’s droop.
It might be cold out, but that doesn’t stop people dipping outside for a cigarette. And as alcohol consumption increases, so does social smoking. This is another factor which increases your risk of atherosclerosis as it thickens your blood, making it harder for blood to flow to your penis.
Although smoking in any capacity is bad for you and your loved ones, it’s unlikely to cause you erectile dysfunction with the immediacy that binge drinking can - although it might leave you coughing and spluttering your way through sex. Make sure any smoking tendencies don’t grow into a bad habit and cut it out of your life come New Year.
No one wants to leave their house over Christmas - this is not a time designed for exercise! You’d be forgiven for putting your slippers on and lazying on the sofa for a few days - but beware these lazy days don’t cascade into abandoning your exercise routine altogether!
Less exercise goes hand in hand with all the negative impacts of eating unhealthily - namely, an increased risk of experiencing atherosclerosis and ensuing erectile dysfunction. Make sure those New Year’s resolutions include getting back on the treadmill!
Christmas isn’t exclusively bad for your penis, though. Getting to spend time at home, away from the stresses of work, and take some mental time off, can do wonders. Stress and anxiety are prominent psychological causes of erectile dysfunction, and some dedicated time to spend with your partner can reduce those problems.
Your festive diet might not be great for your health, but you shouldn’t encounter erectile dysfunction immediately from it - unless you’re one for binge drinking. Although all these habits can do damage in the long term, there’s not much harm in having a few days of R&R. Just make sure you get back on form with your New Year’s resolutions!