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7 Ways to Stay Sexually Healthy in the New Year

Sure, you hit the gym and eat clean—but are you really performing at your peak between the sheets? This year, step up how you get down with these seven tips for men’s sexual health.

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Everyone wants to know how to have great sex, but when you get hyper-focused on sex tips and techniques, you sometimes forget that sexual health and safety are just as important.

Here are the essential things you need to do in the new year to stay sexually healthy. 

1. Practice safe sex

This one should be a no-brainer, but it’s shocking how many people still don’t practice safe sex. Once you’ve behaved badly, it’s easy to keep behaving badly. But you can get back on the wagon and stay there. Bottom line: Let this be the year you finally get serious about using protection every single time.

2. Find your condom soulmate

One of the best ways to make safe sex easier is to find the right kind of condom for your body. All condoms are not created equal. A different size, shape, material, texture, or brand can make a world of difference.

I love the company Lucky Bloke, which aims to help men find higher-quality condoms. They provide a simple test to help you find the right size of condoms (hint: it involves a toilet paper roll), then offer detailed descriptions and reviews of dozens of specialty brands. You can even buy sampler packs, which will help you experiment with fit, shape, and ribbing.

3. Get tested

It’s also time to get your head out of the sand about your current STI status. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to STIs—especially not for your sexual partners. Plus, you can get tested cheaply (often for free) so there’s really no excuse. Make it a goal to get tested at least twice this year.

4. Examine yourself

When was the last time you performed a testicular exam? If you’re like most men, the answer is likely never. But like the rest of your body, your family jewels need regular check-ups. It’s best to do a self-exam once a month. After a shower is a good time to examine yourself, since your scrotum is relaxed. Check one testicle at a time, examining for any lumps, bumps, or irregularities.

If you already know you won’t remember to do your exam next month, you can download the Testicular Cancer Society’s Ball Checker App for free. It’ll give you a monthly reminder to spend some time with your testicles.

5. Quit smoking

You already know you need to quit smoking, but you may not know just how big of an impact smoking can have on your sex life. Smoking can make it much more difficult to get an erection, and it can make your erections weaker. It can also mess with your orgasmic timing and your ability to orgasm. The great news is that these side effects can be quickly and easily reversed by quitting.

6. Do your PC exercises

Your pubococcygeus muscles, commonly referred to as PC muscles, play a big role in your erections and orgasms. Like any other muscle in your body, the PC muscles can be strengthened. Toned PC muscles can help you develop better control over your erections and orgasms, and can give you stronger orgasms.

The next time you’re urinating, cut off your flow of urine before your bladder is empty. You’ll feel a slight “pulling up” sensation. Those are your PC muscles. (You want to make sure you’re not using your abs, butt, or thigh muscles.) The basic PC exercises are short pulses and long holds. Practice 30 short pulses, followed by 10 long holds. Gradually try to increase your hold time.

While you’re at it with your PC muscles, it’s great to exercise in general. Exercise benefits your sex life in so many ways—from making you more confident, to giving you more stamina, to helping you master tricky sex positions. People are always asking me for my top-secret sex tips, but the most effective ones are actually things you already know, like exercise. (For the record, sleeping, eating healthy, and reducing stress are also important.) Make this the year you stick to your exercise resolutions, and not just through January.

7. Practice enthusiastic consent

Enthusiastic consent is the idea that we should not only consent to the sexual activities in which we’re partaking, but that we should be enthusiastic about it too. We should actively desire it, not “just be OK with it”. Far too many people have sex in situations where they’re not fully on board. You can make the world a better place by making sure both you and your partner are excited about everything you do together.

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