A healthy sex life can increase your confidence, reduce stress, and help you sleep better at night. But problems with stamina or other sexual performance issues can be both frustrating and embarrassing.

Prescription drugs can help improve erection quality and sexual performance by increasing blood flow to the penis. Prescription erectile function drugs include:

  • sildenafil (Viagra)
  • vardenafil (Levitra)
  • tadalafil (Cialis)

But as with all prescription drugs, they come with some risks. According to the Mayo Clinic, erectile dysfunction drugs can lead to flushing, headaches, visual changes, upset stomach, and nasal congestion. Also, they can have dangerous effects for men taking nitrate drugs or blood thinners, or those with heart problems and diabetes.

Natural solutions may not present the same risks or drug interactions, and some, such as the first two, may actually improve overall health.

1. Quit Smoking

Smoking could be to blame for your sexual dysfunction — not to mention a higher risk of cancer and unpleasant breath. Smoking can impair circulation, increase your risk of suffering from erectile dysfunction, and decrease your sperm count and viability.

2. Get Fit

Being overweight and failing to exercise can both impact your sexual performance, so get moving and get healthy. By fine-tuning your cardiovascular health, you could be building bedroom endurance as well. But refrain from riding a bike too much, as the constriction caused by a bicycle seat may cause temporary erectile dysfunction.

3. Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a treatment method of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) that has been practiced for more than 2,500 years. The practice of inserting small needles into certain points across the body is said to stimulate the nervous system and affect natural opioids and hormones.

Did You Know?
One small trial found over 68 percent of participants saw improvement of their erectile dysfunction symptoms with acupuncture.

4. Increase Zinc Intake

Zinc is found in many herbal male enhancement supplements, and with good reason. Zinc deficiency can lead to sexual dysfunction and decreased testosterone levels. But too much zinc isn’t good for you either.

Rather than supplementing, you may find your zinc levels are best regulated by eating foods rich in the important mineral, such as:

  • oyster
  • meat
  • fortified breakfast cereals

5. Boost L-arginine Consumption

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. L-arginine is an essential amino acid that can be converted to nitric oxide, which can help relax the blood vessels of the penis and increase blood flow and erection quality. It acts much in the same way current prescription drugs do. Soy and vegetables are good sources of L-arginine.

6. Consider Herbs

There are countless male enhancement products on the market. Some that are used in traditional medicine include yohimbine, Korean red ginseng, epimedium, and gingko biloba.

Makers of these products know that men take great pride in their bedroom performance, and are willing to spend accordingly. Do your research before breaking the bank on an herbal “cure.”

None of these supplements have gone through rigorous testing to prove their benefits or their risks. Also, some testing has revealed that these supplements contain far less of the active ingredients than reported. Be sure to check with your doctor before taking supplements or herbs.

If you’re looking to avoid the potential risks of prescription drugs, the lifestyle changes above may provide the best risk-free results. Plus, losing weight and quitting smoking can only stand to improve your sexual prowess.