We’ve talked at length on this blog about how your
environment can impact your ability to achieve and
maintain a healthy erection.
Your emotional environment, even without clinical depression and anxiety, can prevent you from getting it up.
Your financial or social environments can cause stress and ruin your performance.
And several aspects of your physical environment can also have a negative impact on your erectile performance…
Like the presence of pesticides on the food you eat.
Pesticides are poisons: chemicals designed in a lab to kill bugs that eat crops. Some pesticides are designed to prevent bugs from reproducing.
Although initially hailed as a way to allow people to produce more food and feed more people, later research has found that putting poison on our food wasn’t the brightest idea we’ve had as a species.
Here are some of the ways those poisons can mess with your bedroom mojo.
Acetylcholine esterase (ACHE) is a neurotransmitter this is intricately involved in the erection process.
It’s what carries the message of a sexually stimulating experience to your endocrine system, instructing it to start producing the various hormones and chemicals that help you achieve an erection, reach orgasm and ejaculate.
Two whole classes of pesticides – each consisting of dozens of types and brands – inhibit cholinesterase production in your body, which in turn makes you less able to break down acetylcholine (source).
With that neurotransmission system out of order, your body doesn’t make the connection between sexual stimuli and sex.
No matter how hot your partner is, as far as your glands are concerned you might as well be watching Bugs Bunny cartoons. They don’t get the memo.
The tunica albuguinea is a layer of fibrous connective tissue in your penis.
When you get an erection, this collagen-rich tissue constricts the dorsal vein of your penis, preventing blood from leaving until you’ve orgasmed or otherwise lost your erection.
Damage to this tissue can prevent that constriction, and allow blood to leave your penis so your erection becomes weak or nonexistent.
If you’ve been paying attention, you know what I’m going to say next: certain pesticides reduce the elasticity of those tissues and prevent them from doing their job.
Picture an old pair of underwear with the elastic so worn out it doesn’t snap back, and you’ll get an idea of what these poisons can do to your penis.
You already understand how testosterone plays a huge role in male sexuality, and how a reduction in testosterone levels can wreak all kinds of havoc with your sexual health.
In recent years, science has begun to understand that pesticides play a role in this.
They’ve noticed that sperm and sexual health in men has been declining for over fifty years (average male sperm counts are just 60% of what they were in 1940) and they’ve spent several of those decades scratching their heads trying to figure out why.
Turns out, part of the why is pesticides (source).
Research at the University of London’s Center for Toxicology has found that 30 of the 37 most widely used pesticides can block or mimic male hormones, including testosterone.
When blocking testosterone, they either prevent you from producing it or they prevent the hormone from doing its job.
When mimicking testosterone, they take the place of testosterone in the system, preventing other hormones from responding to testosterone appropriately.
In either case, the end result is the same – less testosterone impact and reduced sexual performance.
As if damage to your unit wasn’t bad enough, it turns out some pesticides can damage your testicles and reduce sperm production and vitality.
Specifically, the pesticide dieldrin affects your Leydig cells, even in low concentrations – like the amounts found on most conventionally grown produce (source).
Leydig cells are found next to the testicles seminiferous tubules, where they produce testosterone. Damaged Leydig cells mean less testosterone. Less testosterone can means weaker erections.
Bottom line: pesticides are bad for testosterone, and thus bad for your sex life.
In what may be the least surprising surprise of the 21st century, science has discovered that routinely ingesting poison is bad for the human body – and that routinely ingesting pesticides is bad for male sexual health.
That’s the bad news.
The worse news is that pesticides are unavoidable in modern life.
You can buy organic fruits and veggies, or raise them in a garden – but livestock eats feed sprayed with pesticides, and some of those pesticides end up in the meat.
You can’t rinse off bread, and the grains that go into that loaf still have pesticide residue on them. And if you live in a rural area, you’re probably breathing in pesticides on a regular basis.
But there is some good news.
You can’t entirely eliminate pesticides from your environment but you can take steps to reduce how much you take in.
For humans, pesticides aren’t like cyanide or mustard gas. They don’t instantly damage you. They build up like mercury or arsenic, slowly and subtly damaging your system.
Slowing that build-up can help protect your sexual health.
Here are some of the most effective ways to do that:
-Always wash produce before eating. Don’t just give it a quick rinse. Rub with your fingers or a brush under running water. Dry it afterward. This will rub more pesticide off the produce.
-Buy certified organic products whenever possible. This can take some doing, since “organic” isn’t strictly regulated. If you can, use a vendor you know you can trust.
-Grow your own produce or harvest it from local u-pick vendors who don’t use chemical pesticides. Obviously, this only works if you use only organic pest repellants in your own garden.
-Peel off the outer layers of produce you eat, especially leafy vegetables like spinach, lettuce and kale.
-Eat a variety of foods. Different foods are sprayed with different pesticides, so a varied rotation mean you’ll be less likely to overload on any one pesticide.
Know which foods are the most hazardous. Produce that carries the most residue include strawberries, apples, grapes, celery, peaches and spinach.
Produce with lower levels of pesticides include sweet corn, onions, pineapples, avocados, cabbage, eggplant, kiwi and mushrooms.