Men have to work extremely hard at achieving and maintaining a high level of health. There’s blood pressure, cholesterol, prostate and colorectal factors to consider. For some, it’s time to correct unhealthy eating, drinking and smoking habits. And then there’s the poor guy who has to search the living room closet for that old, dusty bathroom scale.

That’s a lot for a guy to concentrate on. Another key component of a healthy lifestyle is perhaps not meant to be discussed at the family dinner table:  Sexual health. According to a board certified urologist and director of the Los Angeles Boston Medical Group, Dr. Barry Buffman, there are definite psychological and marital benefits to a healthy sexual relationship. In an interview with Men and Health: It’s a Guy thing, Buffman says, “There’s a very good correlation in outcomes if you look at success in the bedroom with success at the board room and success on the field.”

It’s not just psychological health, such as self-esteem, that can benefit from a healthy sexual relationship. Buffman, who has experienced over 20 years of private surgical practice, specializing in sexual dysfunction, oncology, laser and trauma, says it has been well documented that men will have healthier prostate glands and hearts with a good sex life. Other benefits include a better brain function and sleep pattern. To be blunt, Buffman notes, “It’s been cited numerously, in even the lay literature over the last 15 years, that a man will not live a normal life expectancy without frequent sexual expression.”

Buffman has seen patients in several age groups, from 18 and younger (with parental permission) to one man at the ripe old age of 104. “At any age group, whether it’s young or old, specifically starting with the younger population, their greatest fear is ‘am I the only person you’ve seen in this age group, am I very strange, am I very weird?’” Buffman says men 45 and older, a large segment of the population, some in their second and third marriages, are concerned about social, psychological and physical issues. He says men can be concerned about whether sex can be detrimental to their health.

On the other side of the coin, men who aren’t lucky enough to have a healthy sexual life can experience unpleasant side effects. Buffman says when a man doesn’t have sexual confidence and function, it makes a big dent in his social assertiveness. “It all comes down to the confidence level. The effects on that are clear. The emotional, mental and psychological effects are abundantly seen with regard to anxiety disorders, severe depression and being withdrawn from social interaction.” Physically, sex has been shown to be a stress reducer. And, according to Buffman, literature suggests frequent ejaculation may lead to a lower incidence of prostate cancer.

When it comes to sexual issues, men need to take the initiative. Buffman says men need to realize there is a problem and seek the right consultative services. Buffman says he doesn’t believe the average practitioner, in the average medical practice, has the luxury to gather information about a patient’s social and psychological history. “Most of the time, the patient has to take the can opener and take the lid off the physician’s head.”

Los Angeles Boston Medical Group: