In 2019, we debunked a lot of myths around penises.
We asked you to please not rub toothpaste on your dick to last longer in bed, as well as abstain from licking sexy pavement lichen to treat erectile dysfunction.
Other penile delights included investigating whether it’s safe to use teeth when giving a blowjob (be careful or you might end up with a necrotic dick) and if you should use penis cleaners (quick answer: no, your junk does not need a deodorant).
There are misconceptions around foods too (eating tomatoes will not make your pride of joy bigger), however, changing your diet can affect your body – including genitals, so it’s not all a sham.
With Veganuary in full swing, we’re reminded of an episode from Game Changers, a Netflix documentary about the benefits of plant-based diets, which found that men who ditched animal products had harder (8% increase) and longer-lasting erections.
Before you commit to a life-long vegan lifestyle just because you want to maintain a hard-on (though no judgement here) – let’s look at the facts.
Will going vegan make your erections harder?
Firstly, bear in mind that the Game Changers study only involved three men, which is a very small sample size.
Unfortunately, there hasn’t been enough research in this area to conclusively prove that veganism improves the strength of erections.
However, while your penis might not get harder, switching to veganism could help with other penile problems, explains Dr Diana Gall from Doctor-4-U.
‘There’s little evidence to suggest that veganism can lead to harder erections or prolong erections, however, a plant-based diet may improve erectile function if there are existing problems in this area,’ Dr Gall tells us.
‘Health conditions related to poor diet such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity are linked to erectile dysfunction.
‘If a man were to improve his diet with more plant-based products and fewer animal fats, he’ll likely see an improvement in sexual function.
‘Obesity is associated more with a meat-based diet and is directly linked to erection problems. Being overweight can cause a decrease in testosterone, damage blood vessels, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, all of which are associated with erectile dysfunction.’
Eating plant-based foods is not a cure-all for erectile dysfunction, but considering half of men in the UK aged between 40 to 70 years old have some level of ED, according to the Sexual Advice Association, it may well be worth considering a plant-based diet.
‘Diet certainly has a part to play in sexual function, although being vegan may not make healthy erections harder, it’s worth a try for those who are having problems getting or maintaining an erection,’ says Dr Gall.
‘A diet with whole foods and vegetables can improve overall sexual function by balancing hormones and improving blood flow and circulation which is important for arousal.’
Veganism isn’t the only diet that has been studied in relation to penile health and virility.
A study on Diet and Men’s Sexual Health from 2016, published in Sexual Medicine Reviews, found that erectile dysfunction ‘appears to lessen’ in men who follow a Mediterranean diet, while a Western diet found lower semen quality.
Overall, losing weight with the help of low-fat, low-calorie diets also helped with erectile function.
But the researchers point out that more research is required on the topic of sexual health and diets to present conclusive results.
If you’re determined on going vegan, there is one other change that you might notice.
Cutting out animal products could change the flavour and smell of your bodily fluids, such as semen.
‘The taste and smell of semen differ from person to person and you would have to consume a lot of certain types of food to change this,’ says Dr Gall.
‘As semen is alkaline it can have a bitter taste and so acidic foods such as fruit can help to reduce this bitterness.
‘As vegans consume a lot of fruit and veg it is possible that their semen tastes better or different from those who consume very little fruit and vegetables.’
The taste won’t change overnight.
Prostate fluid is made weeks or months ahead of ejaculation, so it’ll take a while for your body to switch over to plant-based sperm.
Whether you find veganism helps you maintain or strengthen a hard-on or not, chat to a medical professional before making drastic changes to your food intake – and to found out more about your unique situation.
There might be a specific reason why your soldier won’t stand at attention for as long or as sturdy as you hope.
Whatever you do, take care of your dick.