Because what threatens his penis threatens your sex life.

Isadora Baum
April 18, 2018

Your partner’s penis might work magic in bed, but it’s also more fragile than you think. Certain habits and actions he does can increase his odds of having irritation or injury, or even develop a condition that results in erectile dysfunction. And since anything that threatens the health of his manhood also threatens your sex life, you need to know about them. Here are 7 sneaky culprits that can put his penis at risk—give him a heads up.

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Drinking too much 

Ever hear of whiskey penis? If not, you get the idea: When a guy downs too much booze in one sitting, he sets himself up for erection issues later on. Alcohol "can dampen mood and sexual desire and make it difficult to achieve orgasms,” Jamin Brahmbhatt, MD, urologist and sexual health expert at Orlando Health, tells Health.

Pounding back one too many on a regular basis can lead to long-term erectile dysfunction and a lack of interest in sex as well. “Sober men are more likely to have stronger erections, [and drinking] can also reduce intensity of orgasm and sensation,” says Dr. Brahmbhatt. Overdoing it might also result in STDs and pregnancies, he says, because when a man is drunk, he's not thinking clearly and taking safe sex precautions.

The CDC states that moderate drinking for men means consuming no more than 2 drinks per day. Anything beyond this number can increase his risk of sexual side effects, says Dr. Brahmbhatt.

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Masturbating aggressively

There's no shame in indulging in self-love. But some experts suggests that there is a cut-off point. "Excessive masturbation may contribute to erectile dysfunction by desensitizing you," Robert Glatter, MD, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Northwell Health and attending emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital, tells Health. That makes him less responsive to you, his partner, when it’s time to have sex, he says. Research also shows that some guys masturbate too roughly, causing skin irritation and chafing on a body part with skin that's already pretty thin to start with.

Not being cautious while grooming his pubes

A 2017 study published in JAMA Dermatology found that of the 66% of men who said they engage in some kind of pubic hair grooming, 26% experienced an injury because of it. If your partner shaves, waxes, or trims, remind him to be careful. "Excessive pubic grooming may increase the risk for bacterial and fungal infections, not to mention the possibility of developing cuts and open wounds," says Dr. Glatter. "This, in turn, may affect libido and testosterone levels, further reducing the desire to be intimate or have sex," he explains. Plus, it probably hurts. A lot. RELATED: Small Penis Syndrome Is Real, and Other Lessons We Learned From 'The Penis Book'

Packing on too many pounds

“It is commonly known that obese men have lower levels of testosterone,” says Dr. Brahmbhatt. Testosterone is the hormone that powers the male sex drive and sexual functioning, and having low levels of it can leave your partner unable to sustain an erection or even be interested in sex.

Being overweight or obese also puts him at risk of chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease, and those in turn can keep him from getting it up by constricting blood flow to the penis, among other ways. Anything that helps decrease the amount of fat in his body will help your partner's testosterone levels rise and his risk of chronic conditions fall, Dr. Brahmbhatt explains.

Having sex in a position that bends his penis

It's great when your partner gets really into the action in bed. But if he gets too carried away, his penis can suffer. “The penis does not have a bone but does have ligaments and tissue that can be overstretched, causing pain and bruising, [and this] can happen when the penis is injured during sex,” Dr. Brahmbhatt explains.

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The damage to his penis might be even worse than that—he could end up with a penile fracture. There's no bone in his boner; what breaks is one of the spongy tubes that carry blood to the penis. It's pretty rare, but the one sex position that seems to be responsible for many cases is woman on top, specifically reverse cowgirl, Paul Gittens, MD, urologist and sexual medicine expert, tells Health. “It can be dangerous, resulting in injury due to the angle of the entry, curve of the penis, and tilting of the vaginal canal,” he says.

A penile fracture is a possibility with any position that has your guy pulling all the way out—and instead then accidentally hitting his erect penis against, say, your thigh. It's crazy painful, so if your partner lets out a blood-curdling scream, you might have a penile fracture on your hands. Stop the action and head to the ER, so a doctor can treat it properly.

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Not eating nutritiously

Steer your partner away from the drive-thru: Foods high in trans fat and cholesterol, like fried foods, can leave him wilting. “These foods may cause inflammation in the blood vessels or atherosclerosis, which can impede blood flow to the penis,” says Dr. Gittens.

A diet with protein, good fats, and healthy carbs that goes easy on the sugar and processed junk is a solid guideline for your partner to follow. Dr. Gittens also suggests some specific choices. “Foods that may help with erections are those that have the ability to increase blood flow to the penis, such as watermelon, which [contains] l-citrulline, or beets, which are high in nitric oxide,” he says. “Maca root is also helpful for sexual function and erectile dysfunction; it's an adaptogen high in antioxidants,” which may boost performance, he says.

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Skimping on sleep

Not racking up solid zzz's on the regular can turn him into a grump—and also lower his interest in getting it on and mess with his performance when he does. "Not getting enough sleep may not only lead to loss of libido, but can also contribute to erectile dysfunction," says Dr. Glatter.

Staying up too late also has an effect on testosterone. "Lack of sleep is one factor that may significantly reduce testosterone levels, which is an important factor in erectile dysfunction," he explains. The solution is simple: Set a decent bedtime and clock in those 7-8 hours nightly.