A healthy sex life is important to a man’s overall well-being, but a lot of things can get in the way of it. Although erectile dysfunction is sometimes rooted in an underlying health condition, one of the main culprits behind an unperky pecker is stress. When a man is chronically stressed, his body is pumping out the hormone cortisol, which has a negative impact on the production of testosterone. The male sex hormone is crucial to a healthy libido and the ability to achieve erections; a decrease in testosterone inhibits proper erectile function. And besides, nothing kills "the mood" like anxiety. An important component of penis care, then, is stress management.

Causes of Stress

In 2012, the Mayo Clinic along with the life insurance company Aviva USA conducted a survey of over 2,000 men to identify the leading causes of stress in their lives. They were:

- Finances: 34% of men reported this as their main cause of stress

- Family and Relationships: 17% reported these as primary stressors

- Job Stability: 12% reported this as their main cause of stress

- Fast-Paced Life: 10% of men were stressed out most by this

- Health: 8% of men attributed their stress to health concerns

Managing Stress

There are many steps that men can take to manage stress. Even when stress is linked to a situation in life that can’t be changed, it can be managed because stress is a way of responding to a situation, not a situation itself. People have considerable power over their emotional responses and, therefore, their stress levels. Take the following steps:

1) Identify stressors. The first step to managing stress is simply to take stock of what is causing it. Make a list.

2) Ask: What can be changed? When a man has identified situations that cause stress in his life, he can then get to work thinking about to what extent he can change these situations. Financial stress may be alleviated by budgeting; family and relationship stress may be soothed by family counseling or getting some extra help with the kids. Men can make another list of their options, being sure to keep them realistic. When situations can’t be changed, a man can pursue the following steps to manage his response to them.

3) Exercise. Getting in a mixture of cardio and strength-training exercise is sure to help people relieve stress. It’s also imperative for overall health, making it one of the best weapons in a man’s stress-relieving arsenal.

4) Meditate. Meditation is one of the most powerful forms of relaxation training out there, and research has proven its ability to alter both the mind and body. Seek out resources for self-study.

5) Take cleansing breaths. Really? Really. Take three deep breaths, inhaling for four seconds and exhaling for four seconds, making sure to completely fill and void the lungs each time. Do this several times a day. Have faith; this works.

6) Don’t be a macho man. The pressure on men to be competent, independent and in control can sometimes give them an inflated sense of just how much they should be able to take on. Men should be careful not to overfill their schedules and should not be ashamed to ask for help. No human being is completely self-sufficient.

7) Acknowledge accomplishments. Sometimes people get so overwhelmed with what isn’t going their way that they lose a sense for what they’ve accomplished. This can be disempowering, as acknowledging accomplishments reminds people that they have some control over their lives. Men can take note of things they’re proud of and remember that life is more than stressful event after stressful event; there’s a lot of good stuff peppered throughout as well.

Men may find that, after being proactive about their stress levels, erectile function makes a triumphant return. But penis health isn’t just about performance. Men can make further improvements in the downstairs department by using a penis health cream (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil) daily. Look for ingredients like acetyl L-carnitine and L-arginine, which protect nerve tissues (and therefore sensitivity) in the member and promote proper blood flow to the organ. Shea butter and vitamin E should also show up on the ingredient list, as these two moisturizers keep the skin supple and smooth.