Gentlemen, start your engines!
There’s a problem with how modern, western society is built up. And it’s working against us. We’re stressed out. We’re increasingly socially isolated from each other. We are the most medicated adult cohort in human history.
Our sedentary lifestyles, status-seeking culture, and improper food intake (which leaves us feeling sick, anxious, and depressed) are hitting us right where it hurts: Our sex lives. But you can learn how to deal with stress, how to boost testosterone, and start having better sex.
It might sound like an over-promise/under-deliver kind of headline straight off the cover of a men’s magazine, but I’m going to systematically help you achieve all of these three goals — all in one, big, beefy article. Gentlemen, start your engines!
Chronic stress keeps our cortisol (a major stress hormone) levels high and is a major drain on our sex drive and overall sense of vitality. So in order to boost our testosterone levels and maintain a healthy sex drive, we have to address the elephant in the room first.
I’ve identified four key areas that seem to have the biggest effect on how stress shows up in our lives. These are the four major pillars that deconstruct stress in our lives.
How to deal with stress…
Having trouble sleeping? Chronic tension in your neck, back, and body? Feeling irritable and anxious? Not after putting some work into these four areas of your life. Here’s how to deal with stress to make your daily life easier.
1. Prioritize better sleep.
A long-term lack of sleep is one of the fastest ways to get stressed, upset your hormonal balance (low quality sleep can reduce your testosterone levels in as little as one week), and mess up your immune system.
Studies have shown that people who consistently sleep for less than six hours per night are more prone to craving high-fat, high carbohydrate foods (leading to an even bigger downward spiral in messing with your testosterone levels).
Before you start stressing out about your lack of sleep, take solace in the fact that there are things that you can do to prioritize higher quality sleep more often.
2. Stop working at least two hours before bed.
Night time is for rest. You have no qualms about plugging in your cell phone when it needs to recharge, so why do you feel guilty taking time to allow yourself to recharge? If you’re self-employed and/or work from home often, make a mental commitment to let go of work at least two hours before bed.
3. Stick to no technology after 10 PM.
Not only should you avoid doing things that make your brain think it’s still expected to be in work-mode, you should also get off of any and all digital devices near your bedtime (ideally at least an hour before you plan on falling asleep). This means no phones, tablets, laptops, or whatever else gets invented. No digital light. It messes with your sleep patterns and upsets your dopamine production to be staring at a blue light so close to bed time.
Yes, there are apps/programs/blue light blocking glasses that keep you from “ingesting” blue light with your eyes, but just the act of being on a digital device keeps your mind in a “I need to be ‘on'” mode and messes with your sleep. So, no tech.
Trust me, your day to day stress levels will thank you. Instagram and Facebook won’t miss you. Just go to bed.
4. Journal out any thoughts on to paper.
Do you find that your mind starts racing as soon as your head hits the pillow? Mine definitely does. Keep a journal/notepad on your bedside table so that you can brain dump any random thoughts that come to you close to bed time.
You get the benefit of externalizing your internal thoughts (and being free of them, so to speak, since they live outside of you now and you get to let go of them) while also having something to record your thoughts with that aren’t a digital device. Win-win.
Are you afraid that you’ll forget a really good idea, or lose something that you need to remember for later? Remember the old Chinese proverb: “The palest ink is better than the best memory.”
5. Keep your room at a cool temperature.
We sleep better in cool rooms. Cool means cool, not freezing. You shouldn’t be shivering and going into a hypothermic state. Just cool enough that you can sleep naked and feel grateful that you have a blanket draped over your body.
6. Read fiction.
Reading before bed is a great way to become more sleepy, but you have to be reading the right thing.
If you’re reading a non-fiction book that you can justify as something that benefits you in your career path, then you’re not really resting… you’re just being sly about working right up until you turns the lights off. When going about picking your bedtime books, aim for entertainment, not education.
7. Keep your phone out of your bedroom.
I already mentioned keeping your digital devices out of your bedroom, but this is so important (and so often ignored) that it deserves its own section. Having your phone within arms reach of your pillow keeps you stimulated, stressed, and generally feeling shittier. We aren’t machines. Our brains need down time.
Ideally, keep your phone out of your room entirely and use a dedicated alarm clock if you need to wake up in the morning at a certain time. If you can’t be bothered to buy an alarm clock, then at least plug in your phone (in airplane mode) across the room in an outlet that you would have to stand up to get access to.
The harder it is for you to get to your phone from your bed, the more resistance you’ll have to getting up and checking it while you’re trying to sleep.
8. Slow down your movements.
Many people struggle with getting to sleep because what they do and think while trying to sleep gets in their way. If you lie down in bed and you frustratedly toss and turn and you think to yourself, “Here I go again… another night of having trouble getting to sleep. I’m so bad at this,” then you’ll inevitably prove yourself right.
There are certain instances where I believe in the power of behavioral therapy, and sleep is one of the major ones. So even if you believe, at an identity level, that you are someone who is bad at getting to sleep, just try something out the next time you’re trying to get to sleep.
Slow down your movements to an exaggeratedly slow pace and run a more soothing dialogue in your mind. If you have to turn over, turn over slower than you’ve ever turned over. If you have to itch your leg, have it take five seconds for your hand to reach that itch. Slooowwwww dowwwwwwn.
As for your inner dialogue, in a slow, calm voice, repeat thoughts along the lines of, “I’m so glad to finally be in bed… this is such a ridiculously comfortable bed, and I’ve been looking forward to being in it all day… I can barely lift my head I’m so sleepy.”
Slow down your movements and slow down your thoughts, and you might be nodding off faster than you have in years. Seriously, try it out.
9. Move often.
Remember, you are an animal. And animals feel cagey, stressed, and anxious when they aren’t allowed to roam free. If you have a job that is fairly inactive and you never exercise, it’s going to take a toll on your mental, emotional, physical, and sexual health.
Moving doesn’t have to be complicated. Walk in the morning for half an hour. Go to the gym a couple of times per week. Stand up and do ten air squats every half hour when you’re sitting at your computer for lengthy periods of time.
Keep it simple. Move your body. Your mood will thank you.
10. Play more.
One of the biggest differences in the average adult’s life compared to the average child’s life is the volume of time that we spend playing. Prioritize a sense of playfulness in your life. Crack jokes with strangers, play pranks on your friends and look for opportunities to laugh.
If you want to deep-dive and really prioritize play into your life, set a weekly play date in your calendar that is non-negotiable. Do whatever seems appealing to you. Play music with friends. Bounce on trampolines. Play tag in the park. Doodle in coloring books.
You know that it’s good for you, and you always enjoy it once you’re doing it. So do it.
11. Question your lifestyle choices and habits.
The cumulative effects of the above tips will only do so much if there are underlying lifestyle choices and habits that are keeping you stressed and anxious. Our emotions are intelligent. Our body is on our side. Our felt senses come online to warn us of certain things.
We might be getting the signal of “You aren’t happy in this relationship” or, “This type of work makes you miserable” or, “These friends are draining you more than they add anything to your life,” and we suffer to the degree that we ignore these vitally important signals from our body.
Do work that you love. Stop hanging out with people who drain you. And only remain in intimate relationships with those who cherish, honor, and love you as you can do for them.
How to boost testosterone…
Now that we’ve identified and addressed some of the major culprits of things in your life that are keeping you stressed (and how to undo or reverse them) it’s time to get even more proactive in our strategy. Here are the three biggest things you can do to boost your testosterone levels naturally.
1. Workout hard.
There was a time in my life when I decided that I wanted to put on a considerable amount of muscle in a short amount of time. In order to do this safely, I consulted with multiple personal trainers, doctors, and specialists to get their take on it. The general consensus (for me and my body type)? Lift heavy, infrequently, and increase my caloric intake.
One of the biggest benefits that I found from lifting heavier (i.e., setting personal best records on all of my major lifts) was an increased boost in my T-levels (which I also felt in my “dark sexual energy” reserves).
Focus on compound exercises (push ups, pull ups, deadlifts, and squats), lift heavier than you’re used to, and push yourself a little bit past what you tell yourself you’re capable of. You’ll boost your testosterone levels, increase your self-esteem, and feel capable of achieving what you once told yourself was unachievable.
2. Eat cleaner, healthier food.
The food that you consume plays a major role in how you feel. Whether you feel clear, effective, and alert versus foggy, sluggish, and tired can often be traced back to your diet and nutrition.
The highest leverage places I found to start are:
- Focus on eating an 80+ percent organic whole foods diet (plants, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, ancient grains, and limited amounts of grass fed meats and wild caught fish).
- Increase your fat intake (focus on healthy fats like coconut oil, avocado oil, raw nuts, and grass-fed butter).
- If there was a default diet I’d recommend for people to focus on when building up their testosterone levels, it would be to focus on generally consuming more: zinc, vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin B, flaxseed oil, nettle root, celery, cucumber, kale, spinach, radish, oatmeal (rolled oats/steel cut oats), garlic, pine nuts, pastured eggs, broccoli, blackberries and blueberries (but don’t overdo it on the berries).
(Side note: specifically for testosterone levels, you especially want to watch out for vitamin deficiencies with vitamin C, D, E, and A.)
3. Use the two best natural supplements for better libido.
Hands down, the two best natural supplements for boosting your sex drive are maca powder and pine pollen. Whenever I want a boost in my sex drive (either for practical/sexual purposes, or for a boost in my creative energy, since sexual energy and creative energy are one in the same), I throw some maca powder in my morning smoothie, and I swallow three pine pollen tablets.
It almost feels like cheating. They are honestly the closest thing to a “limitless” drug that I know of in the world of natural supplements. I always have some on-hand for the weeks where I need a big creative push, or when I’m wanting to make sure I’m up for the challenge of a big weekend away with my partner.
How to have better sex…
While doing every single aforementioned step in this article will already improve your sex life, I thought I’d kick it up a notch and remind you of some of the most important preventative and proactive steps you can take in improving your sexual performance.
There are a ton of things that you can do to prepare yourself for a better sex life. You can figure out exactly what it is that you like, you can talk to your partner about your sex life more effectively, and you can strengthen your penis for more sexual confidence. But I’ll keep this short and sweet.
1. Cut out pornography.
The jury is not out on this one. It’s clear. Even a moderate amount of pornography consumption can mess with your mind, body, and erectile strength. Stop watching it. It’s setting unrealistic expectations for men (and women) and it’s pretty much the equivalent to fast food for sexual intimacy.
If you’re a heavy user, ween yourself off by committing to only viewing one actress’ work (no clicking around to multiple scenes with various actresses), and cutting it down to less than 20 minutes per week. If that’s too easy/difficult, then you can always download a site blocker (have someone else choose the password for you and don’t let them tell you what it is) to block it from your computer altogether.
Masturbation is awesome. It’s healthy, it’s natural, and all of the best lovers do it. There’s no better way to become an expert in your unique turn-ons (not to mention get an intimate relationship with your ejaculatory point-of-no-return) than to make masturbation a part of your regular habits.
Note: masturbating doesn’t mean that you need to orgasm/ejaculate frequently. Sometimes, simply sitting/lying down and touching yourself is the goal in and of itself.
3. Connect with your breath.
I’ve written several deep-dives on lasting longer in bed in the past, and across the board, one of the highest leverage things that you can do to slow down your ejaculatory response is to consciously reconnect with your breath.
Not only does connecting with your breath help you last longer, it also allows you to have more powerful orgasms. Why is that? Well, when your breathing is shallow and your body is clenched, your body unconsciously gets itself into a tense, anxious, compartmentalized state. This is a fancy way of saying that your head becomes disconnected from your body.
When you’re connected to your breath, you’re more aware of the sexual arousal and pleasure that you’re experiencing and so your orgasm (which happens in your brain, and not in your body) will be experienced as more pleasurable. Fancy that!
4. Stay present.
It doesn’t matter if you can last for an hour in bed if you lack presence while doing it. Women crave presence from their sexual partners. Because, ultimately, it isn’t what you do in bed as much as how you do it.
Are you just mechanically pumping away (yuck) or are you connecting to her physically, emotionally, and spiritually while opening her up with your sexual presence? Slow down, make eye contact, breathe deeply into your body, and actually BE there with her. Remember, you want to have sex with her, not at her.
5. Keep passion in the bedroom.
When it comes to sex, passion is the water that flows through the riverbed. A dry riverbed in itself isn’t that exciting to look at, but when the movement and aliveness of the water starts coursing through it, it becomes another thing entirely.
Allow your lusty desire of your partner to show itself on your face. Put them where you want to put them. Have a healthy degree of selfishness let itself bleed into your arousal. For most women, they would rather have a few minutes of deeply passionate, present, exciting sex than a few hours of ho-hum, in-your-head lovemaking.
Put another way, which of these would you find more exciting: 90 seconds in a speeding Formula-1 car on a race track, or two hours of puttering along in a golf cart that maxes out at 20km/h?
While the above analogy isn’t meant to give you license to only last for 90 seconds (because you can definitely do better than that), recognize that it is important (paramount, in fact) to allow your passion and presence to be a huge part of your sexual process. Allow yourself to be there, and enjoy yourself fully. Get out of your head, and into your body.
Not sure where to start? Start where ever is easiest. Or start where ever is most difficult (depending on your personality and motivation style).
If your lifestyle habits could use a tune-up, then start by optimizing your sleeping habits. Or start eating cleaner. Or go to the gym/exercise if you haven’t worked up a good sweat in a few days/weeks/months.
Sex and relationship coach Jordan Gray helps people remove their emotional blocks and maintain thriving intimate relationships. You can see more of his writing at JordanGrayConsulting.com.
This article was originally published at Jordan Gray Consulting. Reprinted with permission from the author.