Sexual Health in Man and Woman
Human beings are sexual beings. This is because we are created to fulfill the ultimate purpose of not just enjoying intimacy but to procreate. Therefore . the human body would undergo certain changes from birth, toddler , teenage ,Young adult and mature adult , middle age. And then geriatric years.
These changes are natural developmental processes, which culminate through the years of puberty, the onset of your sexuality becoming visible, up till you become fully aware of the presence, development and use of your sex organs.
Long before you had ever heard the word, “penis”, you were well acquainted with what has been called, “man’s favorite organ.” Boys discover their external sex organs in infancy. As they mature, their sex organs continue to develop as their understanding of the male reproductive systems also grows.
• Sex is an important part of life. For many men, thinking about sex starts early, often before puberty, and lasts until their final days on earth. On one level, sex is just another hormone-driven bodily function designed to perpetuate the species. On another, it’s a pleasurable activity. It’s also an activity that can help cement the bonds between two people.
• Sexual health refers to a state of well-being that lets a man fully participate in and enjoy sexual activity. A range of physical, psychological, interpersonal, and social factors influence a man’s sexual health.
• Optimal male sexual health includes sexual desire (libido) and the ability to get and sustain an erection (erectile function). Although physiology can affect both the desire for sex and the ability to have sex, mental health and emotional factors also play important roles.
• Male sexual health isn’t merely the absence of disease. Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to get an erection or to maintain it long enough for satisfying sexual activity. Many things can cause ED, including stress, depression, relationship issues, abnormally low testosterone, damage from urological surgery, and even cholesterol-clogged arteries. In fact, it is often an early warning sign for heart disease. ED can be treated with pills, injections into the penis, or devices. Men can also experience difficulties related to ejaculation, including premature ejaculation, delayed ejaculation, or the inability to experience orgasm upon ejaculation (anorgasmia). Male sexual health also covers the prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases and the assessment and treatment of male infertility.
Testosterone is the hormone that gives men their manliness. Produced by the testicles, it is responsible for male characteristics like a deep voice, muscular build, and facial hair. Testosterone also fosters the production of red blood cells, boosts mood, keeps bones strong, and aids thinking ability.
Testosterone levels peak by early adulthood and drop as you age—about 1% to 2% a year beginning in the 40s. As men reach their 50s and beyond, this may lead to signs and symptoms, such as impotence or changes in sexual desire, depression or anxiety, reduced muscle mass, less energy, weight gain, anemia, and hot flashes. While falling testosterone levels are a normal part of aging, certain conditions can hasten the decline. These include:
• injury or infection
• chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer
• medications, especially hormones used to treat prostate cancer and corticosteroid drugs
• chronic illness
Millions of men use testosterone therapy to restore low levels and feel more alert, energetic, mentally sharp, and sexually functional. But it’s not that simple. A man’s general health also affects his testosterone levels. For instance, being overweight, having diabetes or thyroid problems, and taking certain medications, such as glucocorticoids and other steroids, can affect levels. Therefore, simply having low levels does not always call for taking extra testosterone.
Talking about your sexual needs can help bring you and your partner closer together and promote sexual fulfillment. Try these tips for talking to your partner.
Women’s sexual health, like men’s, is important to overall emotional and physical well-being. And achieving a healthy and satisfying sex life doesn’t happen by magic. It takes self-reflection and candid communication. Although talking about sexuality can be difficult, it’s a topic well worth addressing.
Follow this guide to discussing women’s sexual health concerns and promoting sexual enjoyment
• Many people think that sexual activity is motivated by physical desire, such as the desire of the body to want sex, which leads to sexual arousal and then orgasm. Although this may be true for men, research suggests that women’s sexual motivations and responses may be more complex.
• For many women, particularly those who are older than 40 or who have gone through menopause, physical desire isn’t the primary motivation for sex. A woman may be motivated to have sex to feel close to her partner or to show her feelings.
• What it means to be sexually satisfied may differ for men and women, and even among women. For example, some women say the pleasure of sexual arousal is sufficient, while others want to experience orgasm. If you have concerns about your sex life, or you just want to find ways to enhance it, a good first step is talking with your partner.
Women’s sexual health: Start by talking about your needs
You may feel uncomfortable talking about your sexual experiences and desires; however, your partner can’t read your mind. Sharing your thoughts and expectations about your sexual experiences can bring you closer together and help you experience greater sexual enjoyment.
To get started
• Admit your discomfort. If you feel anxious, say so. Opening up about your concerns may help you start the conversation.
• Start talking. Once you begin the conversation, your confidence and comfort level may increase.
• Set a time limit. Avoid overwhelming each other with a lengthy talk. By devoting 15-minute conversations to the topic, you might find it easier to stay within your emotional comfort zones.
• Talk regularly. Your conversations about sexual experiences and desires will get easier the more you talk.
• Use a book or movie. Invite your partner to read a book about women’s sexual health, or recommend chapters or sections that highlight your questions and concerns. You might also use a movie scene as a starting point for a discussion.
Talk to him about it
When you’re talking to your partner about your sexual needs, try to be specific. Consider addressing these topics:
1. Time. Are you setting aside enough time for sexual intimacy? If not, what can you do to change things? How can you prioritize sexual intimacy?
2. Romance. Do you and your partner have the same definition of romance? Is it missing? How can you reignite it? How can romance set the stage for sexual intimacy?
3. Pleasure. What gives you individual and mutual enjoyment? Be open to hearing your partner’s requests and negotiating differences if one of you is uncomfortable with the other’s request.
4. Routine vs. rut. Has sex become too routine or predictable? What changes might you make? For instance, explore different times to have sex or try new techniques. Consider more cuddling, a sensual massage— depending on what interests you.
5. Emotional intimacy. Sex is more than a physical act. Remind each other that it’s also an opportunity for emotional connection, which builds closeness in a relationship.
6. Physical and emotional changes. Are physical changes, such as an illness, weight gain, changes after surgery or hormonal changes, affecting your sex life? Also address emotional factors that may be interfering with your ability to enjoy sexual activity, such as being under stress or feeling depressed.
7. Beliefs. Discuss your beliefs and expectations about sexuality. Consider whether misconceptions — such as the idea that women become less sexual after menopause — are affecting your sex life.
How to handle differing sexual needs
Sexual needs vary. Many factors can affect your sexual appetite, from stress, illness and aging to family, career and social commitments. Whatever the cause, differences in sexual desire between partners can sometimes lead to feelings of isolation or resentment. Talk to your partner about:
Your intimacy needs. Intimacy is more than just sexual needs. Intimacy also includes emotional, spiritual, physical and recreational needs. If your emotional intimacy needs aren’t being met, you may be less interested in sex. Think about what your partner could do to enhance your emotional intimacy, and talk about it openly and honestly.
There could be differences in sexual desire. In any long-term relationship, couples may experience differing levels of sexual desire. Discuss your differences and try to explore options that will satisfy both of you.
If your difficulty persists, consider turning to a doctor or sex therapist for help. If you take medications and are concerned about your level of desire, review your medications with your doctor. If a particular medication is affecting your comfort with sex or desire for sex, your doctor may be able to suggest an alternative. Likewise, if a physical sign or symptom — such as vaginal dryness — is interfering with your sexual enjoyment, ask about treatment options. For example, a lubricant or other medication can help with vaginal dryness associated with hormonal changes or other factors.
Both men and women experience sexual dysfunction, from her vaginal dryness to his erectile dysfunction, to low libido in either partner. But there are ways to treat sexual problems like these and enjoy sex again.
Sexual dysfunction can take many forms — it’s not limited to erectile dysfunction or lack of interest in sex, often referred to as a low libido. Sexual dysfunction can involve pain during intercourse, an inability to maintain an erection, or difficulty experiencing an orgasm.
Though there are many causes of diminished libido and sexual dysfunction in men and women, there are also many ways to increase libido and rekindle the joy of sex once you identify the problem.
Sexual Dysfunction in Women
Sexual dysfunction in women is grouped into different disorders: sexual pain, problems with desire, arousal problems, and orgasm difficulty. Changes in hormone levels, medical conditions, and other factors can contribute to low libido and other forms of sexual dysfunction in women.
Specifically, sexual dysfunction in women may be due to
1. Vaginal dryness. This can lead to low libido and problems with arousal and desire, as sex can be painful when the vagina isn’t properly lubricated. Vaginal dryness can result from hormonal changes that occur during and after menopause or while breastfeeding, for example. Psychological issues, like anxiety about sex, can also cause vaginal dryness. And anticipation of painful intercourse due to vaginal dryness may, in turn, decrease a woman’s desire for sex.
2. Low libido. Lack of sexual desire can also be caused by lower levels of the hormone estrogen. Fatigue, depression, and anxiety can also lead to low libido, as can certain medications, including some antidepressants.
3. Difficulty achieving orgasm. Orgasm disorders, such as delayed orgasms or inability to have one at all, can affect both men and women. Again, some antidepressant medications can also cause these problems.
4. Pain during sex. Pain is sometimes from a known cause, such as vaginal dryness or endometriosis. But sometimes the cause of painful sex is elusive. experts don’t know what’s behind this mysterious type of chronic, painful intercourse. A burning sensation may accompany pain during sex.
Sexual Dysfunction in Men
The types of sexual dysfunction men may experience include:
1. Erectile dysfunction (ED). ED can be caused by medical conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, or by anxiety about having sex. Depression, fatigue, and stress can also contribute to erectile dysfunction.
2. Ejaculation problems. These include premature ejaculation (ejaculation that occurs too early during intercourse) and the inability to ejaculate at all. Causes include medications, like some antidepressants, anxiety about sex, a history of sexual trauma (such as a partner being unfaithful), and strict religious beliefs.
3. Low libido. Psychological issues like stress and depression, as well as anxiety about having sex also can lead to a decreased or no sexual desire. Decreased hormone levels (particularly if testosterone is low), physical illnesses, and medication side effects may also diminish libido in men.
Dealing With Sexual Dysfunction
All couples should be able to enjoy a healthy sex life — an important part of a relationship. If you are experiencing sexual dysfunction, bring up your concerns with your doctor. You can often correct your problem by:
• Getting an accurate diagnosis and the proper treatment of any underlying medical condition
• Talking to your partner openly about your sexual relationship
• Avoiding alcohol, smoking, and drug use
• Managing stress, anxiety, and depression
• Getting creative and re-energizing your sexual routine
• Good communication can unlock closed doors in the bedroom, so start by talking to your partner about physical and emotional intimacy. And, if you suspect a medical condition, talk to your doctor about what could be going on with your body.
Studies have shown that there are marked changes in your sexual health as you grow older.
Poor sexual functioning and disagreements with a partner about initiating and/or feeling obligated to have sex were associated with greater concerns about and dissatisfaction with overall sex life. Levels of sexual activity decline with increasing age, although a sizable minority of men and women remain sexually active until the eighth and ninth decades of life. Problems with sexual functioning were relatively common, but overall levels of sexual health concerns were much lower. Sexually active men reported higher levels of concern with their sexual health and sexual dissatisfaction than women at all ages. Older peoples’ sexual health should be managed, not just in the context of their age, gender, and general health, but also within their existing sexual relationship.
Culled from ThisDay