Sexual Health Issues: The Effects on Overall Well-being

July 27, 2021

Sexual health incorporates the physical, emotional, and social well-being of people concerning their sexuality. For the sexual well-being of people to be achieved, it requires them to have sexual practices that are free from discrimination and that their sexual rights are respected and protected. Sexual health issues incorporate the different sexual orientations and gender identities that differ between women and men.

Men Sexual Health Issues

Men experience sexual dysfunction that may be as a result of health-related diseases, stress, or relationship worries. It is estimated that about 31% of men have problems during sex that results in them being sexually unsatisfied. These sexual health issues may result from health problems such as heart-related diseases, diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure that may affect the person’s inability to get an erection, orgasms that are too quick, or inability to have any orgasms. Sexual health issues affect men regardless of their sexual orientation. Men who identify as straight, gay, bisexual, or transgender may experience these problems, and it is estimated that 1 in 10 men have sexual-related issues. Some of the sexual health issues related to men are erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, and low libido.

Erectile Dysfunction

It occurs when men are unable to persistently get or keep an erection when having sexual intercourse with their partners. Problems related to erectile dysfunction are most often signs of underlying health conditions that require urgent treatment. Erectile Dysfunction also leads to reduced sexual desire as it becomes hard to maintain the erection during sex.

Causes of Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile Dysfunction, in most cases, is caused by medical reasons but can also be caused by psychological reasons. Medical causes of erectile dysfunction account for 90% of erectile dysfunction. Some health problems that cause erectile dysfunction include diabetes, heart diseases, high blood pressure, obesity, prostate cancer, high cholesterol, medication, hormonal disorders including testosterone deficiency, and Peyronie’s diseases caused by penile injury a painful erection. Psychological causes such as guilt, low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression may also cause erectile dysfunction in men. In some cases, medical and psychological reasons can combine to cause erectile dysfunction. For example, a man who has prostate cancer may be anxious to have sex, and thus, he may be unable to get or keep an erection.

Premature Ejaculation

Premature ejaculation is the improper discharge of sperm and seminal vesicle fluids by the urethra. It is the most common health-related issue in men. Statistics show that about 30% of men experience premature ejaculation. The three types of premature ejaculation include: premature ejaculation, which happens with no physical stimulation, retarded ejaculation occurs when there’s a long delay in the physical stimulation and is often an early sign of diabetes. Lastly, retrograde ejaculation occurs without any ejaculation; thus, semen may not be produced at all.

Causes of Premature Ejaculation

Causes of premature ejaculation may be due to long-term health problems, side effects of medicine, or alcohol abuse. It may also be caused by psychological factors such as depression, relationship problems, stress, and anxiety.

Low libido can also contribute to premature ejaculation; this occurs when a person experiences low sexual desire. Low libido may result from low levels of testosterone in males, which is responsible for building muscles and bone mass for interesting sperm production. Low libido may also result from relationship issues, stress, medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and medicine use.

Treatment of Sexual Health Issues in Men

Change of lifestyle can have a positive impact in addressing the sexual health issues that men experience. Most therapeutic lifestyle changes (TLC) include regular exercise, a healthy diet, and limiting the intake of alcohol and smoking. In severe cases, medications can also be prescribed. For example, in premature ejaculation, medicines such as tricyclic antidepressants can be used. There are also surgical treatments to correct erectile dysfunction, such as penile vascular surgery performed to correct isolated arteries affecting the flow of blood into the penis.

Sexual Health Issues in Women

Many women experience problems with their sexual health at some point in their life. Although women’s sexual response peaks in the late 30s and 40s, a woman can have a satisfactory sexual experience throughout her life. The quality of sexual adventures in most women is affected by their age, hormones, and social roles that they perform. Women’s sexual problems commonly reported include the following: Lack of sexual desire, which is common in women than in men, the lack of desire in sexual activity stops the response cycle of women to sexual activity. Low sexual desire is the most common sexual health issue related to women. A study conducted showed that 37.7% of participants attributed intense sexual desire as the most common sexual health-related issue affecting them. Lack of sexual desire can also lead to the inability of a woman to become sexually aroused. In other cases, women may be unable to be sexually aroused even though they have sexual desire, and thus they may not experience orgasm. Statistics show that 12% of women suffer from orgasm disorder and lack sexual desire. This results in women losing interest in sexual activities as they do not have an orgasm. Some women also report experiencing pain during sex, which may be due to dryness in the vagina that occurs in younger women as a result of lack of enough stimulation. In older women, it’s a result of the decrease in estrogen when they reach menopause.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) in women harms their sexual health as it does more harm to their bodies and has no benefit. FGM is considered globally as a violation of women’s rights and discrimination towards. In some communities, women are still subjected to FGM, which causes severe damage such as bleeding, infections, and they may also develop complications during childbirth. FGM is mainly performed in rural areas to young girls as a form of rite of passage to preparing them for marriage in Africa’s Western and Northern regions.

Sexually transmitted Infections (STIs) also affect the sexual health of both men and women. Globally, more than 1 million STIs every day. Sexually transmitted diseases can be transmitted through sexual contacts such as vaginal, anal, and oral sex, from mother to child during pregnancy and labor, and blood transfusion. STIs such as gonorrhea and chlamydia in women is a significant cause of pelvic inflammatory diseases and infertility in women. In addition, statistics show that more than 29 million women suffer from HPV infection; this predominantly affects their sexual desire as it makes sexual activity uncomfortable and painful.

Sex and Aging

Changes in sexual desire are common throughout the life cycle of people, especially as they get older. Most men and women begin to experience diminished sexual desire as they get older. In women, loss of sexual desire is often due to decreased sexual responsiveness due to estrogen reduction in menopause. With the decline of estrogen in women, the sexual response is affected as blood flow to the vagina is affected. These changes lead to dryness of the vagina, and women may experience pain during sexual intercourse. In women, sexuality tends to take a primary role when they are younger, and as they get older, they are more likely to focus on social functions than sexual roles.

The sex drive in men is typically high in their 20s due to the high testosterone hormone produced for sexual arousal. As men get older, their sex drive decreases as levels of testosterone produced decrease; erectile dysfunction also becomes more common with age, and their erections may happen less often and may be less firm when they happen. Statistics show that 16% of men aged 50 to 59 years have erectile dysfunction and the percentage increase as they get older. It also takes them longer to have full arousal and orgasm. Erectile dysfunction may be associated with health issues such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension that are more common with age than the age itself. The medications used to treat these diseases affect the sexual response as they may affect their ability to become aroused while others may find it difficult for them to have an orgasm.

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