And you’re not alone. According to a report, 45 percent of men believe they don’t last long enough in bed, and another survey found that 71 percent of men wish they had better sexual stamina. But wishing, hoping and freaking out about how long you can last only makes matters worse. In fact, experts estimate that stress and performance anxiety account for up to 20 percent of all erection problems. In other words, a self-debilitating mindset shuts you and your mini-me down—literally.
Sure, we can tell you to relax and assure you that your partners don’t want you to last longer than you already are, but what will help is tweaking your diet. Eating foods that have been proven to counteract anxiety can make it easier to relax when it comes time to do the deed. Here, some healthy staples to add to a “love you long time” diet.
You know that tired—yet relaxed—feeling you get after Thanksgiving dinner? It's all thanks to the tryptophan in the holiday turkey. Tryptophan helps the body produce the feel-good hormone serotonin, which has been shown to quell anxiety. To boost the meat’s calming effects further, pair it with a high-glycemic carbohydrate, like a white potato. Canadian researchers found this combination of nutrients eases anxiety most effectively. Bonus: Potatoes are a great source of potassium, a nutrient that can get rid of bloating, helping you look leaner and more muscular in bed.
A warm cup of chamomile may ironically be what you need to keep her awake. In fact, this tea provides a doubling soothing effect: We often associate feeling warm with a sense of relaxation, and chamomile contains compounds that bind to the same brain receptors as drugs like Valium, easing feelings of angst. In one eight-week trial, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center researchers gave patients with generalized anxiety disorder either a chamomile supplement or a placebo. They found that the chamomile group had a significant decrease in their anxiety symptoms, while their herb-free counterparts did not. If you’re not a fan of chamomile, fear not! There are a number of other teas that are natural remedies for anxiety and can help you relax during your romp.
There’s no denying your early emissions are the root of your between-the-sheets anxiety, but a lack of B-vitamins—nutrients that keep nerves and brain cells healthy—could be elevating your stress even further. Not only are avocados rich in stress-relieving B vitamins, but they’re also a source of monosaturated fat, which has been shown to aid blood flow to the entire body—including the penis. Bonus: The healthy fats in the creamy green fruit have also been shown to quell hunger and aid weight loss—talk about a multitasker!
You’re not imagining it: Eating chocolate really does make people happier—and less anxious. According to researchers, cacao — the primary ingredient in dark chocolate — increases levels of the mood-boosting hormone serotonin. In one 30-day trial, participants who consumed a daily chocolate drink (equal to 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate) reported feeling calmer than subjects who didn’t sip the chocolaty beverage. So next time you’re on a date, skip the calorie-laden dessert cart and nosh on some dark chocolate and a plate of fresh fruit back at your place. Your date is sure to love the effort you put in, and eating the dessert will help you feel more relaxed about your upcoming performance.
To ensure your swimmers don’t make a premature exit, add more wild salmon to your diet. The fatty fish is a good source of omega-3s, which have been shown to decrease anxiety. In one 12-week study, students who took 2.5 milligrams a day of omega-3 fatty acids had less anxiety before their exam than participants who received a placebo. But that’s not all: Omega-3 fatty acids also aid the production of nitric oxide, a key chemical involved in maintaining erections (which is why salmon is one of the foods that helps fight erectile dysfunction). Plus, additional research has found that cutting back calories and sticking to a Mediterranean-style diet rich in produce, fish, whole grains and healthy fats (like omega-3s) can improve erectile function in men with metabolic syndrome.