Enjoy a healthier sex life with these simple precautions.

Practice Safe Sex

Thirteen million Americans have a sexually transmitted disease (STD), and the more sexual interactions you have, the higher the risk of contracting one. Use condoms to guard against herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and other STDs, as well as unintended pregnancy.

Talk to your Doctor about an STD Test

Doctors differ on the guidance they give male patients when it comes to STD screenings. Most do not recommend an annual test, but if you’ve had unprotected sex with more than one partner in a year (male or female), be honest with your doctor, and talk to him or her about getting an STD screening. Some doctors will want to conduct an HIV test as well.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Once you desire to have a child, the health of both partners is equally important to the success of conceiving. Studies show that obese and overweight men between age 20 and 30 tend to have lower sperm counts and poorer sperm quality than leaner men. It is believed that body fat—in particular abdominal fat—alters your levels of testosterone and other reproductive hormones.

Talk About Surgical Options

When you have finished having children or decide you don’t want any, you may want to talk to your doctor about a vasectomy, a simple surgery that severs the tubes that carry sperm into the semen. It is nearly 100 percent effective as a birth control method after a few months, and if circumstances change, it is reversible with another surgery.

Be Aware of Your Hormones

Although the hormone plunge is more dramatic in female menopause, men also go through a change, sometimes known as male menopause. Whereas female menopause marks the end of ovulation and a drastic plummet in hormones, the drop in male hormones (most notably testosterone) is more gradual. For men, changes in sexual function and desire, energy level, and mood are usually subtle and may go unnoticed.

Don’t Hide Your Problems

Premature ejaculation or reaching climax earlier than you would like is an occasional occurrence for any man. If it occurs regularly, talk to your doctor. Both physical and psychological factors could be at play, and your doctor will work with you to sort this out. The same goes for the inability to achieve erection. If you can’t reach and maintain erection, you may have erectile dysfunction (ED). Treatment might include therapy, medicines, or in some cases, fixing another condition, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, that might be hampering your ability to achieve erection.