Our daily lives can be stressful. One way to help yourself stay healthy and feeling good is to strive towards finding a balance between the stressful stuff and playtime. We encourage you to take every opportunity to make healthy lifestyle choices to keep you feeling good and strong. Having a sense of balance in your daily life can support you making choices about your sexual behavior that keep you healthy.
Eating a balanced diet contributes to your sexual and overall health. The more knowledgeable you are about nutrition, the easier it will be to make healthy choices for youself. Be careful about how much fast food, processed foods, fried foods, diet and regular soft drinks, and desserts you consume. Try to make sure you have fresh vegatables and fruits at least two meals a day. Drink lots of water. If you tend to get obsessive about your diet and exercise, remember that having some healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, nuts, and eggs can contribute to overall health.
There can be enormous pressure on gay/queer-identified men to be fit. This may lead some MSMs to excessive exercising and may make others too intimidated to venture into a gym. Exercise is an important part of staying healthy and can be done in many forms: walking, running, biking, swimming, yoga, tai-chi, weights, dance, exercise classes, exercise videos, or hiking. We encourage everyone to include moderate exercise during your week. Explore different options until you find one or more that bring you joy and get your heart pumping.
Getting enough sleep each night can be an important part of feeling good and staying healthy. Sleep helps your body recover and rejuvenate after a long day of work, working out, hot sex, and/or staying out late with your friends. A lot of people have to juggle school, multiple jobs, relationships, friendships, and time for exercise. Life can be very busy but its important to build in a daily schedule that allows your body and mind time to rest.
To counteract the many stressors of daily life, some guys build in focused time for mindfulness activities. This can include meditation, prayer, yoga, qigong, or simply being out in nature. Consciously taking time away from the busyness of daily life can bring a sense of peace and calm. Unplug from your electronic devices and try out one of these activities to see what works for you.
Smoking Tobacco and E-Cigarettes
Smoking tobacco harms nearly every organ of the body, causing many diseases and hurting the overall health of people who smoke. Long term smoking can impact your sex life including contributing to erectile dysfunction. Reducing the amount you smoke or totally quitting has immediate and important long-term benefits for smokers and the people who love them. Consult with your medical provider about the most effective ways to cut back or stop smoking.
Many E-Cigarette products contain chemicals known to be harmful but do not contain any warnings. Be wary of the manufacturers claims that e-cigarettes are a good option for you.
Work is a necessity for most of us and can be stressful. Some people have to work several jobs and others may hate their work or have a hard time letting go at the end of the day. Finding ways to destress and have fun each day is important to having a balanced life. Exercise, hanging with friends/loved one, hobbies, and mindfulness activities are some options to try.
Finding ways to communicate your needs and connect with your sexual partners can be an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Sex can be many things to many people. There is no standard measure of what enjoyable sex is. However, we encourage all MSMs to understand and communicate their needs, including consideration of safety, while being open to understanding what brings pleasure to their sex buddy/partner.