Preventing erectile dysfunction


Dear Dr. Jenni,

I read about the naturopathic Viagra guy last week and I have a similar question. Rather than wait for erectile dysfunction to plague me, I want to practice preventive medicine. Do you have any suggestions on how I can prevent this from ever happening to me?

No offense, while I do fear cardiac disease and diabetes and all these other things, if those are going to get me, they’ll get me. But if I get erectile dysfunction, my love life will totally end!

Preventive ideas please, doc?

—Keeping healthy and horny

Dear Keeping,

To answer this question, I encourage you to think about your body as a whole, connected system. I hear that you fear ED more than cardiac or diabetic conditions, but oftentimes disease and illness cause and contribute to ED. Therefore, caring for your health as a whole is a good game plan.

Basically, how can you maintain a healthy lifestyle that facilitates strong, fluid blood flow? Some ways to do this include daily exercise, avoiding smoking, limit heavy drinking and keeping a good diet. Fatty foods and hydrogenated oils can create high LDL cholesterol levels, blocking circulation, including pathways that feed the penis. If you are comfortable adhering to a Boulder nonbioengineered diet — otherwise known as the organic, whole food diet — this will help prevent you from ingesting pesticides, toxic chemicals and hormones. For example, bovine growth hormone, found in non-organic dairy products, carries numerous xenoestrogens. This can be a problem for men because it can interfere with proper testosterone levels.

Lastly, if we stay in the same vein of thinking systemically, then good whole health includes relationship health. If ED does occur for neurological or psychological reasons, it doesn’t mean your love life is totally over. You are working with your whole body and brain.

Dear Dr. Jenni,

My daughter is turning 15 next month. I think it’s time to have the big sex talk with her. This is scary for me, because I come from a Baptist background and never had these conversations with anyone. But I want her to know about pregnancy and how to prevent it. And while I don’t want to scare her into thinking sex is this awful thing, I don’t want her having it, either. How should I approach this conversation?

—The Talk of Terror

Dear The Talk,

First ask yourself, do you think sex is an awful thing? If the answer is no, then ask yourself why. That will give you the material for explaining how sexual intercourse can be a beautiful act of intimacy, while at the same time, it’s important to enter into it safely and consciously.

I also suggest that before talking to her, outline on paper what are your values and why you hold them. If you can communicate to her your wish to abstain from sex because it’s important to your value system, then she may better be able to understand and follow your wish. You probably know that teenagers are rebellious beings, so prepare to cover the whole gamut of possibilities of keeping her safe from pregnancy and STDs. Again, since this is a foreign talk, I encourage you to write down your key points to cover in the conversation. You can have those notes with you, and even share them with her. It will demonstrate that you are prepared and concerned, and coming from a place of love. And don’t forget the beautiful pieces of sex, and how it’s something sacred to share with someone special.

Send questions for Jenni Skyler, Ph.D., to drjenni@theintimacyinstitute. org. Skyler is a sex therapist and board-certified sexologist who runs The Intimacy Institute in Boulder,



Send questions for Jenni Skyler to drjenni@