A man, quite rightly, is known for his appreciation of tools, their proper maintenance, and their most effective use.
Which makes it that much more shocking that we fail to properly maintain our own carnal implements, be they mini-drivers or diamond-studded 12-inch drill bits.
From puberty onward, our tools suffer all kinds of self- and outward abuse, from overexcitement in tight Levi’s to weekend-long binges with women from whom we caught everything but their names.
The result, long term, can be a dulled edge, a balky ball bearing, a flexible extension for the wrench when only a rigid one will do the job.
But here we are with tool-saving tips—eight of them, in fact—that can keep you sharp well into your master-craftsman days. And you’d better pay heed: If you’re not careful, the woman in your life just might invoke the inviolable rule of tools, the scariest and most accurate one of all: “If you want something done right, hire a handyman.”
Avoid Penis Shrinkers
In a study conducted at the University of Kentucky, researchers found that when asked to rate their sex lives on a scale of one to 10, men who smoked averaged about a five—a far cry from nonsmokers, who rated theirs at nine.
One reason, of course, is that smoking is a known cause of impotence. And there’s some evidence that smoking affects erection size.
In one study, researchers found that smokers’ penises are significantly smaller than nonsmokers’.
“In addition to damaging blood vessels, smoking may cause damage to penile tissue itself, making it less elastic and preventing it from stretching,” says Irwin Goldstein, M.D., a urologist at the Boston University medical center. We have yet to hear a better reason to quit.
Get a Vasectomy
If you’re finished producing offspring (or you’re sure you don’t want kids), consider investing in permanent renovations at the sperm factory.
“The risk of a contraceptive failure can be a big source of anxiety for some men, especially those who’ve had a birth-control disaster—or a scare—in the past,” says Karen Donahey, Ph.D., director of the sex- and marital-therapy program at Northwestern University.
That anxiety can, in turn, lead to erection problems—and cause the same vicious circle that makes performance anxiety such a mood killer.
But if there’s no sperm, the risk of pregnancy is beyond minuscule: A properly performed vasectomy has an effectiveness rate of 99.9 percent. And at $1,500, it’s a bargain compared with college tuition.
Fire Your Mistress
It’s common for men who start having affairs to stop having erections—so common, in fact, that doctors who treat erectile dysfunction often ask their patients if they’re getting any action on the side.
Unless your wife knows about, approves of, and participates in your new sex life—in which case, we’d like to meet her—you’re bound to feel at least a little guilty about it when you’re with her. Guilt can turn to anxiety, and that can kill an erection.
Lose Your Fat Gut
Besides the monastery, having diabetes is the quickest route to a lifetime of celibacy.
In fact, more than 50 percent of all men with diabetes are impotent. The disease hits the penis with a double whammy. It accelerates the process of arterial disease, and it slows the transmission of stimuli along nerves throughout your body. And, trust us, a numb penis is not a happy penis.
Staying trim is the best way to avoid diabetes. If it’s too late for that, be vigilant in checking your blood sugar (talk to your doctor about the best methods).
Men who are sloppy about controlling their levels have 70 percent more erection problems than those who stay on top of it, according to a recent Italian study.
Stop Running Into Hard Objects
One vigorously misplaced thrust is all it takes to rupture the corposa cavernosa, the elongated “erectile chambers” that run the length of your penis.
Don’t believe us? Try aiming your erect penis at the trunk of a tree—it’s roughly the same density as your partner’s pubic bone.
A complete rupture will require surgery within 24 hours to stanch internal bleeding and reduce the risk of permanent damage. A partial tear isn’t as serious, but it may cause problems later on. As the linings of the corposa heal over with scar tissue, they lose their elasticity—leading to curvature, pain, and eventually impotence.
By some estimates, more than a third of impotent men have a history of “penile trauma.”
To protect yourself, be careful when she’s on top. That’s the position most likely to cause damage.
Related: The 4 Most Dangerous Sex Positions
Skip the Taxi
Start walking. In one recent study, researchers found that men who walked just 2 miles a day had half the rate of erection problems of more sedentary men, says Dr. Goldstein. (Twenty minutes of jogging or 30 minutes of weight training will work, too.)
Deposits that clog or stiffen penile arteries can wilt an erection faster than Greta Van Susteren.
“Guys tend to think of their arteries as simple pipes that can become clogged, but there’s a lot more going on than that,” says Laurence Levine, M.D., a urologist at Chicago’s Rush-Presbyterian Medical Center. “The linings of those blood vessels are very biologically active areas where chemicals are being made and released into the bloodstream.”
The more you exercise, the healthier, cleaner, and more flexible those linings become.
Yawn a Lot
As far as your body’s concerned, yawning and getting an erection are practically the same thing.
They’re both controlled by a chemical called nitric oxide. Released in the brain, it can either travel to the neurons that control mouth opening and breathing, or go down the spinal cord to the blood vessels that feed the penis. Sometimes it does both (that’s why a big yawn can cause a tremor down under).
We don’t recommend foreplay with your mouth hanging open. But allowing yourself to yawn now and then throughout the day may help prime the neurochemical pathways that lead to good, sturdy erections.
Related: This Man Tells You What It Is Like to Experience a 14-Hour Long Erection
Fall Asleep After the Last Thrust
We know: You hate to give up on one minute of postcoital pillow talk, but ultimately you’re going comatose for her. Your penis needs as much shut-eye as it can get.
Every night while you sleep, you have between three and five hour-long erections. You probably noticed this phenomenon the last time you had to pee at 4 a.m