Archive for the ‘Sex’ Category

Obesity and Sex: What’s the Connection?

Sunday, September 20th, 2020

How is your weight these days? Ideal? A little high?

If your answer is “more than it should be,” you’re not alone.

Concerns about obesity are rising across North America. In the United States, about 42% of adults were considered obese, according to a 2017-2018 estimate from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Obesity Canada reports that one in three people in that country are obese, according to 2015 data.

You probably know that maintaining a healthy weight is good for your health overall. It’s also important for good sexual health, too. Let’s explore the relationship in between obesity and sex more detail.

What, exactly, is obesity?

Doctors use a measure called the body mass index (BMI) to screen for obesity. Your BMI is the result of your weight (in kilograms) divided by your height (in square meters). [The CDC) offers a BMI calculator for adults here.]

People whose BMI falls in the 25 to 29.9 range are considered overweight. A BMI of 30 or higher signals obesity.

How might obesity affect my sex life?

Obesity is linked to both physical and psychological factors that can impair your sexual desire, arousal, erections, vaginal lubrication, and orgasm. Quite often, a combination of factors are involved.

Physically, obesity puts you at risk for health conditions wide sexual side effects. Here are some examples, along with some links for learning more:

Manage Diabetes for Better Sexual Health

Diabetes, Neuropathy, and Sexual Health

Diabetes and Erectile Dysfunction

Diabetes and Women’s Sexual Health

Diabetes and Female Sexual Satisfaction

Metabolic Syndrome More than Doubles ED Risk

High Blood Pressure and Sexual Problems

  • Cardiovascular (heart) disease and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)

Good sexual function depends on sufficient blood flow to the genitals. When this flow is blocked, it becomes more difficult for men to get an erection and for women to become lubricated.

Extra weight puts pressure on your joints and bones. The result is often pain and limited range of motion.

Testosterone is an essential hormone for sexual function, and testosterone deficiency is a common problem for obese men.

What Causes Low Testosterone?

Psychological aspects of obesity may also make sex difficult. People come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but many cultures still consider thinner bodies to be more acceptable, and we’re often bombarded by media messages on what an “ideal” body should look like.

Not surprisingly, this can damage an obese person’s self-esteem. They may feel that they will never be attractive to a partner, or feel anxious about being naked in front of someone else. They might also have sex less often.

Depression and anxiety are also common in people with obesity. Both of these conditions can dampen your sex drive and your enjoyment of sex.

Read more:

Sex and Anxiety

What’s Causing Your Low Sex Drive?

What can I do?

Can losing weight help? It’s possible. Losing weight might not alleviate all sexual issues, but it’s a great start. You’ll also be taking important steps toward a healthier lifestyle in general, not just sexually.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Talk to your doctor first! Before you start any weight loss program, have a full medical checkup. Your doctor can help you tailor a plan to your specific needs. You’ll learn about nutrition and exercise as well as other components to make your program a success.
  • Make it fun. Are there new recipes, foods, or activities you’ve always wanted to try? Now is a good time to explore those possibilities. You can also try walking on the treadmill while watching your favorite comedy or play some upbeat tunes while you’re cooking.
  • You don’t have to do it alone. Your friends, family, and partner can be your biggest cheering section. Share your journey with them, if that feels right to you. They can help you celebrate your successes and provide loving support if you’re struggling. You might also join online support groups for people trying to lose weight.
  • Pat yourself on the back. Weight loss takes time, and it’s important to be patient with yourself. Even the smallest of successes deserve rewards.
  • Consider weight-loss surgery. Some people find bariatric surgery helpful. Your doctor can help you decide whether it is an option for you.
  • Think about counseling. As we discussed earlier, psychological factors can greatly affect an obese person’s experiences with sex. A trained therapist can help you restore your self-esteem, build communication skills, and navigate your relationships as you start seeing yourself as a more sexual person.

Read more:

Mediterranean Diet May Improve Women’s Sexual Health

Soft Drinks Might Be Linked to Erectile Dysfunction

Regular Exercise Important for Women’s Sexual Health

Exercise and Men’s Sexual Health

Why is Exercise so Essential for Good Sex?

Testosterone Levels Might Improve Quickly After Weight Loss Surgery

What is Sex Therapy Like?


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

“About Adult BMI”

(Page last reviewed: June 30, 2020)

“Adult Obesity Facts”

(Page last reviewed: June 29, 2020)

Health Psychology Open via. U.S. National Library of Medicine

Esfahani, Saeideh Botlani and Sebely Pal

“Obesity, mental health, and sexual dysfunction: A critical review”

(Full-text. Published online: July 12, 2018)

The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Faubion, Stephanie S., MD, MBA, et al.

“Association Between Body Mass Index and Female Sexual Dysfunction: A Cross-sectional Study from the Data Registry on Experiences of Aging, Menopause, and Sexuality”

(Full-text. Published: August 5, 2020)

Obesity Canada

“Obesity In Canada”

Obesity in Canada

“How Does Obesity Affect Sexual Function?”

(June 27, 2017)

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High Blood Pressure and Sexual Problems

Tuesday, May 5th, 2020

You probably know it’s important to keep your blood pressure under control. High blood pressure (also called hypertension) can lead to all sorts of health problems, including coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, and kidney failure.

But did you know that high blood pressure can cause problems in your sex life, too?

What is high blood pressure?

As blood travels through your arteries, it exerts a certain amount of force along the arterial walls. This force is blood pressure. The higher your blood pressure, the more force your blood exerts against these walls.

Chances are, you have your blood pressure checked whenever you visit your doctor’s office. And it’s likely the nurse gives you two numbers:

  • Systolic blood pressure. This refers to your blood pressure when your heart is beating.
  • Diastolic blood pressure. This is your blood pressure between heartbeats, when your heart is resting.

Usually, your blood pressure is recorded with the systolic number first. So 120/80 might be read as “120 over 80.” In this example, the systolic blood pressure – the “upper number” is 120 and the diastolic pressure – the “lower number” – is 80.

These guidelines from the American Heart Association can help you determine if your blood pressure is high:


Systolic Number

Diastolic Number


Less than 120

Less than 80


120 – 129

Less than 80


130 or higher

80 or higher

How Can High Blood Pressure Affect Sex?

For both men and women, good blood flow to the genitals is important for sexual response. But high blood pressure can damage the linings of your blood vessels, leading to plaque buildup and atherosclerosis – hardening of the arteries. When this happens, blood has a harder time flowing to essential parts of the body.

Since blood flow to the penis is an important mechanism for erection, many men with high blood pressure develop erectile dysfunction, which means they can’t get or keep an erection firm enough for sex.

Men with high blood pressure might have problems with ejaculation and desire, too.

Reduced blood flow to the genitals can also be an issue for women, interfering with desire, arousal, vaginal lubrication, and orgasm.

Anxiety over high blood pressure and its associated health problems can affect the sex lives of both men and women, especially if it weakens relationships.

Couples may have less desire for sex. Or they may not feel sexually satisfied.

Sexual Side Effects of Blood Pressure Medications

Unfortunately, medications used to treat high blood pressure can cause sexual problems themselves. For example, diuretics (water pills) can reduce blood flow to the penis and lower levels of zinc, which a man’s body needs to make testosterone. Beta blockers are another type of blood pressure drug that can have sexual side effects.

If you think your medication is causing sexual problems, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor. It might be possible to adjust your dose or change the drug you take. Don’t make any changes without a doctor’s guidance, however.

Keep Your Blood Pressure Under Control

Interested in maintaining healthy blood pressure? Great! Start by seeing your doctor. They can assess where you are right now and check for other medical issues that could be affecting your overall and sexual health, like diabetes and heart disease.

Then, consider making these lifestyle habits:

  • Stick to a healthy diet. Some people follow the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, which includes lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. You might also consider fat-free or low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, and nuts. Ask your doctor or nutritionist about the foods that are best for you.
  • Cut back on salt and sodium. Check the sodium content of the foods you eat. Remember, processed foods tend to be high in sodium.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight increases your risk for high blood pressure.
  • Exercise regularly. Talk to your doctor about a fitness plan. It helps to find an activity you really enjoy. You might consider joining a gym, a fitness class, or a group activity with friends.
  • If you smoke, quit. Avoid secondhand smoke as well.
  • Reduce your stress levels. Blood pressure can rise when we’re excited or stressed. Find ways to relax and try not to overextend yourself with commitments. Ask your friends and family for help if you need to. Some people manage stress with meditation.
  • Consider using a blood pressure monitor at home. A home monitor can help you keep tabs on your progress.

Your doctor can help you with these strategies and suggest others tailored to you. If you need medication, be sure to take it as directed.


American Heart Association

“Monitoring Your Blood Pressure at Home”

(Last reviewed: November 30, 2017)

“This may be why slashing salt lowers blood pressure”

(May 13, 2019)

“What is High Blood Pressure?”

(Last reviewed: October 31, 2016)

Mayo Clinic

“High blood pressure and sex: Overcome the challenges”

(January 9, 2019)

Medline Plus

“High Blood Pressure”

(Page last updated: November 15, 2019)

National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute

“DASH Eating Plan”

“High Blood Pressure and Sexual Problems”

(August 6, 2014)

“How Do Certain Diseases Lead to Erectile Dysfunction?”

(January 12, 2016)


“How High Blood Pressure Leads to Erectile Dysfunction”

(Reviewed: November 6, 2019)

“Meditation, Stress, and Your Health”

(Reviewed: June 18, 2018)

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Feeling Chronically Aroused? It Might be PGAD.

Tuesday, May 5th, 2020

Imagine you’re in the middle of a business meeting. Or in a cab on your way to the airport. Or at lunch with your mother-in-law.

And the feeling hits. It’s a tingly, throbbing feeling in your genitals.

You’re becoming sexually aroused.

Now, it’s not unusual to want sex at times. But in these scenarios, there is nothing sexually stimulating to trigger arousal. Your partner may be across town, and your mind is anywhere but your bedroom.

For women with persistent genital arousal disorder (PGAD), continuous sexual arousal is chronic, lasting for hours, or even days. (Note: PGAD is rare in men. Therefore, this post will focus on women’s experiences.) Some women’s vaginas start to lubricate or contract. Orgasm might bring short-term relief.

What causes PGAD? Experts aren’t sure. However, the condition appears to be aggravated when women are under stress. It may also worsen with vibrating motion or during urination.

The sensations associated with PGAD are unwelcome and distressing. Because scientists don’t know exactly what causes PGAD, it’s challenging to treat. Often, women feel awkward about their situation, fearing that they won’t be taken seriously.

Recent research has shed some light on women’s experiences. Let’s take a look.

PGAD and Other Medical Conditions

In an October 2019 Journal of Sexual Medicine study, researchers compared two groups of 72 women each. One group experienced persistent genital arousal. The rest of the women did not have problems with PGAD and served as a comparison group. All of the women completed an online survey.

The researchers discovered that women with PGAD were more likely to have certain physical and psychological conditions compared to women without PGAD, including the following:

  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Chronic pelvic pain
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

 The women with PGAD were also less satisfied with their relationships and reported greater sexual distress. Some avoided sexual relationships; 30% were not in relationships at the time of the survey.

 Of great concern was a high rate of suicide ideation. More than half of the women in the PGAD group had had suicidal thoughts during the four weeks before the survey.

 “Overall, the frequency of suicidal ideation, depression, and anxiety symptoms suggest that individuals with [persistent genital arousal] symptoms experience significant distress. This distress may be related to the discomfort of the symptoms themselves, the interference these symptoms have on daily functioning, the person’s own feelings of shame or embarrassment about the condition, or their inability to access knowledgeable healthcare providers and effective treatments,” the study authors wrote.

PGAD Treatment

So what can women with PGAD do?

First, see your gynecologist. A thorough checkup can assess your overall gynecological health before you choose an action plan.

You might also try the following:

  • Numbing the area. Some women apply ice packs or topical numbing products that can relieve the sensations temporarily.
  • Stress management. Since PGAD symptoms are often triggered by stress, try to keep stress under control. Don’t hesitate to ask your partner, friends, or relatives for help if you need it.
  • Pelvic floor physical therapy. This type of therapy strengthens your pelvic floor muscles, which hold your pelvic organs in place.
  • Changes in medications. Ask your doctor or pharmacist whether medicines might be linked to PGAD sensations.
  • Psychotherapy. As noted above, PGAD is associated with higher rates of anxiety and depression. It’s important to address these conditions. With a therapist, you can develop some coping strategies.
    Note: If you are having thoughts of suicide, call emergency services or your local suicide hotline immediately!


International Society for Sexual Medicine

“What is persistent genital arousal disorder (PGAD)?”

The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Jackowich, Robyn A., MSc, et al.

“A Comparison of Medical Comorbidities, Psychosocial, and Sexual Well-being in an Online Cross-Sectional Sample of Women Experiencing Persistent Genital Arousal Symptoms and a Control Group”

(Full-text. Published online: October 31, 2019)

“Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder (PGAD)”

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Why is Exercise so Essential for Good Sex?

Sunday, February 23rd, 2020

Is better fitness one of your goals for 2020? How about better sex?

Luckily, those two goals have a lot in common. And if you’re visiting the gym more often, you’ll likely see some results in the bedroom. Your partner may notice, too.

Why is exercise so important for good sex?

  • It keeps your blood circulating. Good blood flow around your body – and to your genitals – helps keep tissues in proper working order.
  • It keeps you strong and flexible. You might have heard this phrase: “Rest is rust. Motion is lotion.” Exercise is good for your muscles and joints, and it might enhance your ability to engage in a variety of sexual activities and positions.
  • It boosts your self-esteem. Meeting your fitness goals, maintaining a healthy weight, and staying healthy can do wonders for your self-esteem and self-image.
  • It adds to your overall health. Healthy lifestyle habits – including regular exercise – might reduce your risk for other medical conditions that could negatively affect your sexual health, such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and cancer.

Ready to learn more? We’ve compiled a list of links on sex and exercise to get you started!

For Everyone

Exercise and Sex Health How, exactly, is exercise good for sex? This article discusses specifics, like endorphins, body image, better mental health, and more.

Cardio Could Boost Your Sex Life!  Cardio activities, like running and swimming, boost your heart rate. In this study, men and women who added more cardio to their exercise plan had improved sexual function.

Lifestyle Changes Might Improve Sexual Health In addition to exercise, it’s important to consider our other daily habits. Scientists investigated the effects of six lifestyle factors – cigarette smoking, alcohol use, physical activity, diet, caffeine consumption, and cannabis use – on men’s and women’s sexual function.

Health Benefits of Sex Does sex count as exercise? It might. During a half hour of sex, you could burn up to 250 calories!

For Women

Regular Exercise Important for Women’s Sexual Health Women’s sexual function can benefit from acute exercise (shorter bursts) and chronic exercise (long-term fitness). For example, acute exercise is linked to the regulation of hormones like estrogen, which keeps vaginal tissue healthy.

Cycling Has No Impact on Women’s Sexual or Urinary Health, Study Finds Cycling is great cardio exercise, but for women, bike saddles and handlebar positions have been associated with genital numbness and urinary tract infections (UTIs). In this study, researchers compared the sexual and urinary experiences of female cyclists with those of runners and swimmers.

For Men

Want Better Erections? Create an Exercise Plan! How much exercise do men really need to improve their erections? Scientists weigh in.

Men, Protect Your Testicles! While this article isn’t about exercise directly, it does explain why men should protect their genitals when playing sports. One forceful hit with a basketball or baseball could damage the testes, the glands that produce sperm and testosterone.

Specific Exercises

Cycling and Sexual Health – An Update Here you’ll find advice for both men and women on safe cycling. For example, make sure your bike is a good fit for you, and make adjustments as necessary.

Need to Tone Your Pelvic Floor? Try Kegels! While you probably won’t find Kegels on a list of fitness programs at the gym, these easy-to-do exercises tone your pelvic floor, making sex more comfortable. Both men and women can do Kegels, and this article explains how!

First Things First

Feeling pumped for more exercise? Before you start, give your doctor a call. He or she can advise you on the best types of exercise for your personal health situation. If you haven’t been exercising regularly, you might want to start small and build up your fitness plan gradually. And if you’re feeling pain, shortness of breath, or any other symptoms during exercise, be sure to let your doctor know.

Get Moving!

You can still add more physical activity to your day, even without formal exercise. Try taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or park your car farther from the office. Try some yoga stretches at your desk. Take a walk with a friend at lunchtime. What other activities can you think of?

Have Fun!

Perhaps one of the most important aspects of a fitness plan is fun. You need to enjoy what you’re doing to stick with it. Think about what you prefer. Solitary exercise? Team sports? Outdoor activities? Organized classes?

Don’t hesitate to try new things as well. You might have never pictured yourself as a runner, but you might love sightseeing in your city during a long jog. Or, you might not think hockey or basketball is for you, but you might enjoy the friendship and camaraderie that develops on a team.

Keep your mind open, stick with your plan, and enjoy the potential sexual benefits!

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Sex in pop music

Friday, January 24th, 2020

When Australian pop musician Troye Sivan called out a journalist for asking whether he was a “top or bottom” of his favoured sexual placement, the reaction was, essentially, among support. Yet there were some, such as the writer of a now-deleted article in Out publication, that called the South African-born Australian artist a hypocrite because his album, Bloom, was supposedly” [everything about] bottoming”.

It felt like the most recent minute in pop culture where various generational mindsets towards sex stopped working to equate. As verified by Sivan’s interview, it’s simple to implicate more youthful generations of prudishness (a Slate write-up declared millennials were judgemental concerning promiscuity) without thinking about that possibly it’s even more to do with the language that’s being made use of. The conversation of kinky secret has expanded immeasurably over the decades, so it’s no surprise that older generations are having a hard time to maintain. And while news stories, comment and also functions over the past year have informed us that millennials are having much less sex– a phenomenon criticized on stress and anxiety and also anxiousness triggered by the pressures of modern life– sex in popular song hasn’t gone anywhere. We’re just talking about it in different ways, whether it’s LGBT+ relationships, body picture, masturbation, religious oppression, or overturning tropes of maleness and also feminineness to challenge social stereotypes.

The subject

For queer musicians, the subject of faith is a means of subverting unfavourable views of LGBT+ culture, otherwise to fix up themes of love and praise. Baltimore-born singer Serpentwithfeet, who matured in a rigorous religious home vocal singing for an all-boys choir, now utilizes scripture songs to sing about his relationships with males. It’s a fork in the road that scripture songs required to get to pop, which harks back to 1961 when Ben E King launched his hit “Wait Me”– stemmed from the Heart Stirrers’ “Stand By Me Father”, which consequently included a line from Psalm 46:2 c/3c.

” A great deal of scripture tracks are really sensual,” he told The Guardian in 2016. “It’s such romantic as well as decadent music regarding wishing to be possessed and subsumed by this guy. It was only when I began dating that I realised I really did not know the distinction in between a person I had an interest in and also Jesus.”

On the spectacular “Pussy is God”, King Princess takes the suggestion of exactly how ladies essentially give birth to life and also elevates it to an event of female sex. It adhered to the launch of Ariana Grande’s 2018 single “God is a Female” and Janelle Monae’s ode to the vaginal canal: “Pynk”. Taylor Swift’s “False God”, from her brand-new album Enthusiast, references just how “faith remains in your lips” as well as “the church is my hips”, while on MUNA’s 2017 track “End of Wish”, Katie Gavin sings: “Deep down I recognize/ I am venerating a false idolizer/ Deep down I know/ It’s a false hope/ Yet I won’t let go of this feeling/ Like I have actually got something to rely on.”

Nakhane, a London-based, South Africa-born vocalist, blurs the limit between spiritual as well as sexual worship to the point that the audience is unable to set apart in between his fan and God: “Lord in your residence,” he sings on “Teen Prayer”. “He pins me down/ He relocates me.” “Reappropriation is an effective device,” Nakhane informed The Independent in 2015. “It’s take on to have a looking competition with something that has been utilized to damage you. You provide it vulnerable by altering its hate to enjoy.”

The Prince

Of all the musicians throughout history, nobody has actually reconciled religion and sexuality like Prince. “Every song was either a petition or sexual activity,” style doubter Michaela Angela Davis claimed, adding that, in any case, his music “made you wish to drop to your knees”. Prince biographer Touré wrote: “You can keep in mind Royal prince as one of one of the most sex-related artists of perpetuity, and you would certainly be right, but he was additionally among one of the most important religious artists of all time.” Ben Greenman, author of Dig if You Will Certainly the Picture: Funk, Sex, God and Wizard in the Music of Royal prince, created of just how the musician showed up to interest God for self-constraint in the midst of carnal lust on “Purple Rain”.

Among Royal prince’s natural successors is London-based artist Collard, 24, who was raised a rigorous Mormon, but whose puncturing falsetto cry is pure sex. He calls his music a research of his religious principles, and also while he is no more an energetic member of the religious community, his confessional lyrical style as well as motifs of sense of guilt, lust and also love feel directly influenced by his upbringing. Two songs from his debut cd, Unholy, represent two sides of the very same coin: the insanely hot opener “Heck Song” is about wanting to burn with your fan, while “Warrior Cry” has to do with a partnership in which Collard felt “conserved”.

Female musicians

Similarly, female musicians are taking old tropes of pop music– specifically the possessive, egocentric attitude of a lot of male vocalists who constantly utilize a leading narrative in their songs– as well as adapting them to share their very own needs to challenge the way we think of women sexuality. On L Devine’s obscenely appealing single “Nude Alone”, she makes it quite clear what she wants: “Well I hit up every name in my contacts/ But I can’t even get one text back/ All I actually require is some sex, you feel me?”

” I wrote ‘Naked Alone’ when I was 19 and also had just moved to London from Whitley Bay,” she tells The Independent. “I hardly knew anyone at all, so as you can visualize, I was truly lonely most of the moment, which went hand-in-hand with some sexual aggravation. I was rather completely oblivious concerning how much a girl talking about being horny would certainly become a speaking point.”

For Devine, discussions concerning sexuality are more open and less taboo than ever, and she questions if millennials have greater requirements than previous generations, as well as this is why they’re having much less sex. “Maybe we think we can simply do it much better ourselves,” she jokes. “I think millennial women reveal their sexuality by themselves terms. Discussions concerning the women climax as well as masturbation are no longer something to be reluctant around.”

Women self pleasure in pop music has appeared numerous times on the graphes over the last few years. There was Hailee Steinfeld’s “Love Myself” (” I’m gon na place my body first/ And also enjoy me so difficult ’til it injures”), Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé’s “Feeling Myself”, Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Party for One”, and also Charli XCX’s “Body of My Own” (” Reason I can make it feel just like I’m hanging on/ Yeah I can do it better when I’m all alone”). Female artists are likewise being much less refined concerning their pursuit of sexual enjoyment– and also their rashness with those incapable to satisfy it. “Bitches”, a remix of Tove Lo’s track including Charli XCX, Icona Pop and Elliphant, consists of verses such as: “Let me be your guide when you consume my pussy out,” while the coming with video showed the group of women educating a man how to carry out oral sex on his partner.

See more about sex :

Should Men with ED Use Telehealth Platforms?

Saturday, December 14th, 2019

Justin was 24 years old and in his sexual prime. Or at least, he thought he should be. The last few times he wanted to have intercourse, his erection was rather…lackluster. It wasn’t firm at all, and while his partner didn’t say anything, he was sure his performance disappointed them both.

“I’m too young for this,” he thought. He had seen commercials for erectile dysfunction drugs on television, but the guys always seemed so much older. This type of stuff didn’t happen to younger guys, did it?

He didn’t go to the doctor often, and he couldn’t imagine calling for an appointment for this specific problem. But as time went on, his erections became less predictable. He knew he had to do something.

While surfing online, he found some websites that offered erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs that could be discreetly delivered to his home. He could talk to a doctor through video chat and get a prescription easily. Was this the route to take?

In this post, we’ll consider Justin’s question.

What is telehealth?

Technology has brought people closer together in ways we might not have imagined thirty years ago. And this includes doctors and patients, who can now use the internet to communicate through telehealth (sometimes called telemedicine). Patients can email their doctor, send relevant pictures, and have videoconference discussions of symptoms and treatment options without actually getting together in an office or exam room. These communications can take place on desktop and laptop computers, tablets, and smartphones. In some cases, patients can receive prescriptions through telehealth services.

Why might men with ED consider telehealth?

“Seeing” a doctor online is convenient. Patients can do so in the comfort of their own homes, without the hassle of traveling there, finding parking, or taking time off of work. In addition, many men feel awkward or embarrassed about sexual health problems. Telehealth might offer a degree of privacy, as long as the connection is secure.

Why should men with ED see a doctor in person?

While telehealth has its advantages, it is not a substitute for seeing a doctor in person. For men with ED, this is especially important.

ED is often a sign of more serious health conditions, like diabetes and heart disease. Sometimes, the links are complicated. For example, erections might be impaired by hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), low testosterone levels, or autonomic neuropathy (a form of nerve damage). To learn more about these issues, a physical exam is essential. Lab tests may also be ordered, and these can only be done during a traditional office visit.

In fact, ED diagnosis guidelines issued by the American Urological Association (AUA) stress the importance of a physical exam:

Men presenting with symptoms of ED should undergo a thorough medical, sexual, and psychosocial history; a physical examination; and selective laboratory testing.

In other words, a telehealth doctor may be able to prescribe an ED medication, but he or she will not have all the information necessary to determine exactly why a man has ED.

A comprehensive physical exam can reveal any underlying medical conditions, and treatment can begin immediately. Erections can improve, and the risk of any further complications can be reduced.

Dr. Hossein Sadeghi-Nejad, President of the Sexual Medicine Society of North America (the organization behind contributed to the AUA guidelines on ED. In an interview with Business Insider, he pointed out that while not all men with ED are at risk for more serious health conditions, “but some are.”

“To lose that window of opportunity to address the bigger problem would be a pity,” Dr. Sadeghi-Nejad added.

Next steps?

Some men might find it difficult to work up the nerve and mention ED to the doctor. But it’s worth making the call. It can lead to more satisfying, more confident sex. And it can help you and your doctor address any bigger health concerns that need attention.

Check out these links to learn more:

Erectile Dysfunction (overview of ED, including causes and treatments)

Young Men and Erectile Dysfunction

Possible Causes of Early Onset Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

How Do Certain Diseases Lead to Erectile Dysfunction?


American Urological Association

“Erectile Dysfunction: AUA Guideline (2018)”

(Published: 2018)

Business Insider

Court, Emma

“Hot startups like Hims and Roman are marketing Viagra to young men online, but their approach raises 2 big questions”

(February 25, 2019)

Bettencourt, Erica

“TeleHealth Pros and Cons”

(January 11, 2019)


“How Do Certain Diseases Lead to Erectile Dysfunction?”

(January 12, 2016)

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Genital Herpes: What Does It Mean For Sex?

Monday, November 25th, 2019

A diagnosis of genital herpes can be devastating. You might feel confused, angry, bitter, afraid, and sad. How could this have happened? Who “gave” you the virus? How will you explain this to your partner? Will this be the end of your sex life?

It’s a delicate problem, and it takes time to process. The good news is that you can still enjoy intimacy with your partner. But from now on, you need to be very, very careful about your sexual relationships.

What is genital herpes?

Herpes is a sexually transmitted infection caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV). It can be spread by skin-to-skin and genital contact, and also through oral sex.

There are two types of HSV linked to genital herpes. HSV-1 usually causes cold sores and blisters around the mouth, but it can cause genital herpes, too. But most people who get genital herpes are infected with HSV-2.

There is no cure for genital herpes. Once the virus enters your body, it will stay with you. You can pass the virus to a partner even when you’re not having active symptoms.

What are herpes outbreaks?

HSV can be an unpredictable virus, and outbreaks come and go.

Outbreaks are times when you have the most herpes symptoms, which include lesions, sores, and blisters that appear on the genitals (the penis, scrotum, vagina, cervix, and vulva, for example), buttocks, or thighs. Sometimes, sores develop around the anus or mouth. The sores may be itchy or painful. Broken blisters may ooze, then scab over.

For some people, the first outbreak takes the longest to heal. After that, outbreaks tend to be shorter, but the time frame between outbreaks can be difficult to predict. Some people have “prodromal symptoms” like pain and tingling sensations, that let them know an outbreak is about to start.

It’s also possible to be infected with HSV and have no symptoms at all.

How is genital herpes managed?

Doctors treat herpes by prescribing antiviral drugs, such as acyclovir, famciclovir, and valacyclovir. Some patients are advised to take these medications every day to keep outbreaks under control.

Can I still have sex with genital herpes?

If you have genital herpes, you can still enjoy a healthy, satisfying sex life, but you should be extra cautious. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Your partner needs to know. It can be a difficult conversation to have, but anyone you have sex with should be aware of your situation. You can reduce the risk of spreading herpes, but you can’t eliminate it completely. Your partner will need to weigh that risk.
  • Never have sex during an outbreak. Herpes can be transmitted regardless of whether a person has active sores. But the likelihood increases during an outbreak.
  • Don’t touch the sores. Even if you are not having sex, you and your partner should never touch herpes lesions. If you do, wash your hands immediately.
  • Always use a latex condom during every sex act. And never re-use a condom. This means that if you and your partner engage in vaginal intercourse, oral sex, and mutual masturbation in one night, you need at least three condoms. You might consider carrying several with you to be on the safe side.
  • Don’t perform oral sex if you have a cold sore. This applies to both you and your partner. Cold sores are caused by the herpes virus, which can be transmitted during oral sex.
  • Practice good hygiene. Washing your hands regularly is a good practice for everyone, but especially for people with herpes. Use a separate towel for your genitals, too.

Remember that even if your sex life changes somewhat, your bond with your partner can still stay strong. And you can still stay physically connected through activities like kissing and cuddling. Having herpes may call for some adjustments, but it shouldn’t end the possibility for intimate relationships.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

“Genital Herpes – CDC Fact Sheet (Detailed)”

(Page last reviewed: January 31, 2017)

Migala, Jessica

“How to Have a Healthy Sex Life if You Have Herpes”

(June 22, 2016)

Harvard Health Publishing – Harvard Medical School

“Genital herpes: Common but misunderstood”

(Updated: April 16, 2019)

Mayo Clinic

“Genital herpes – Diagnosis & treatment”

(October 3, 2017)

“Genital herpes – Symptoms & causes”

(October 3, 2017)


“Dating with Genital Herpes”

(September 9, 2018)

“How to Tell Your Partner You Have Genital Herpes”

(November 10, 2018)

“Genital Herpes and Your Sex Life”

(September 9, 2018)

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Dating After Cancer – Taking the Next Steps

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

On SexHealthMatters, we often discuss how cancer and its treatment affect one’s sexual health. (See the links at the bottom of this post to learn more.) Often, a supportive partner plays an important role in sexual recovery after cancer. Usually, the partner has been there from the beginning and has some idea of what to expect going forward.

But what if you’re single?

The idea of dating after cancer may sound overwhelming, especially if you have been out of the dating scene for a while. But there’s no reason you can’t have a satisfying dating life – and sex life – as a cancer survivor.

Just take it step by step.

Are you ready?

During your cancer treatment, dating was probably not your top priority. And you might not feel up to it at first. That’s okay – the timetable is up to you.

Don’t rush into dating because you feel you should. There is nothing wrong with waiting, if that is what feels right to you. But if you do feel like dating, or if you meet someone who interests you, then there’s no reason not to pursue it.

Meeting partners

In the age of dating apps, “swiping right,” and “swiping left,” it should seem easy to find potential mates. But sometimes that just isn’t the case.

Some people use dating websites specifically for cancer survivors. In this way, they might meet people who might better understand what they’re going through.

However, meeting partners “the old fashioned way” can be effective, too. Instead of focusing precisely on dating, try just having fun. Take that cooking class you’ve been thinking about, join a Scrabble club or a cosplay group, or volunteer with a cause you’re passionate about. You may meet partners, or you may not. But you will likely make friends who could introduce you to others later on.

Talking about cancer

When should you disclose your cancer situation to a new partner? The answer depends on you. Some people like to discuss cancer early in the relationship, so their partner is aware. Others prefer to wait until they know their new partner better. It’s entirely your call.

If you feel nervous about the conversation, think ahead to what you think your partner should know and what questions they may have. You don’t have to disclose more than you’re comfortable with, but preparing ahead of time can make the conversation go more smoothly. You might try writing down what you’ll say or practicing the dialogue with a friend.

It may also help to seek support from fellow cancer survivors. Ask your doctor about a group that meets in your area or look for one online. Peers can share their experiences with dating and cancer and offer tips for discussing cancer with partners.

Becoming intimate

Cancer and its treatment can take a toll on sexuality. Men might find it more difficult to achieve firm erections. Women may find intercourse uncomfortable because of vaginal dryness. People often struggle with body image after treatment, and worry that they will not be attractive to a sexual partner.

Don’t hesitate to ask your cancer care team about treatments for sexual problems. For example, ED can be treated, and vaginal lubricants and moisturizers may alleviate discomfort during intercourse.

You might also consider seeing a sex therapist who specializes in cancer care. A professional can help you navigate these changes, rebuild your sexual self-esteem, and offer practical suggestions to try in the bedroom.

When you’re ready to become intimate, be honest with your partner about any sexual concerns you have. If you are self-conscious about surgical scars, be open about it. If a specific sexual position is uncomfortable, try suggesting an alternative. If you need more time to get aroused, explain your situation and tell your partner how you enjoy being touched.

Chances are, your partner will appreciate your openness and reassure you that everything is okay. Remember, your partner wants to be intimate with you.

If it doesn’t work out…

If your first attempt at dating doesn’t work out, don’t give up. Sometimes, people just don’t click. That’s true regardless of whether someone has had cancer.

Don’t let cancer prevent you from having a fulfilling relationship. When you’re ready, just try again.

See these links to learn more about cancer and sexuality:

Female Cancer Survivors and Sex Health Issues

Cancer and Sexuality: Questions For Your Provider

The Effects of Cancer on Women’s Sexuality

How Does Cancer Affect Men’s Sexual Health?

Enjoying Intimacy Despite Sexual Pain and Discomfort


“Dating and New Relationships: During and After Cancer”

(Last updated: June 5, 2019)

Starr, Liane

“Dating After Cancer: How Men and Women Navigate a New Reality”

(July 10, 2019)

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Keep Your Relationship Strong During Infertility Treatments

Friday, October 18th, 2019

Sex can be especially exciting when you’re trying to start a family. You and your partner can enjoy your time together, bond as a couple, and smile to yourselves, wondering if your most recent bedroom encounter will result in a new family member nine months from now.

But if you and your partner aren’t experiencing this fairy tale, sex and relationships can become more difficult. Some couples drift apart during infertility treatments, but it’s important to stay connected – including sexually.

Let’s look at some of the challenges couples face:

Having sex on a schedule. Many couple feel like they have to have sex at a certain time, depending on what the calendar or clock tells them about ovulation cycles. No matter how they feel, they need to take advantage of a window of opportunity. However, the real world doesn’t always work that day. Your fertility specialist might say that October 6 is the ideal time to make a baby, but when that day arrives, one of you might have had a stressful day at work. Or you might be away on business. Or your partner might have the flu. If sex doesn’t work out, you might feel guilty about losing the opportunity.

Try this: Make sure you are still having sex for connection and fun. It might help to plan date nights, explore fantasies, and keep that romantic spark burning. Remember that there are lots of good reasons to have sex. Becoming pregnant is only one.

Coping with disappointment. If you and your partner have been trying to conceive for a long time, it’s natural to feel sad and frustrated if it doesn’t happen. Depression and anxiety can take a toll on all aspects of a relationship, including sexuality.

Try this: Don’t keep your feelings bottled up inside. If you are feeling down, be open with your partner. Don’t blame each other for your situation. Just know that you are in this together. Consider joining a support group in your community where you can talk to other couples coping with infertility. You might also see a counselor or therapist – alone or as a couple – to help keep your relationship strong. It’s okay to seek help.

Dealing with “know-it-alls” and nosy people. Friends and family, no matter how well-intentioned, may ask invasive questions. (When are you going to have a baby? How often do you try? What’s your sperm count?) or make thoughtless comments. (You just need to relax. You’re trying too hard. My co-worker got pregnant after she started using X supplement.)

Try this: You and your partner are in charge of this journey. If someone asks you a nosy question, you do not have to answer it. If someone makes an insensitive comment, don’t take it to heart. You know your situation best. Talk together about how much information you’re willing to share and with whom you’re willing to share it.

Putting your relationship on the back burner. During infertility treatment, it’s easy to get swept away by the whirlwind of doctor’s appointments, hormones, and tests. And all of this takes place in the midst of your daily lives, which can have their own stresses.

Try this: This is the time to make your relationship a priority. You and your partner got together for a reason. Think about what brought you close and what keeps your relationship solid. And don’t forget to have fun. Go out with friends, see a silly movie, make an elaborate meal together. Share a hug or a smile. Keep yourselves connected.

You and your partner might not know what the future holds for your family. But one thing you can know is that you’re in this together, for now and for the future.


Jaeger-Skigen, Beth, LCSW

“Sex & Infertility: How to Reconnect Sexually During Infertility”

The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Gao, Jingjing, MM, et al.

“Relationship between Sexual Dysfunction and Psychological Burden in Men with Infertility: A Large Observational Study in China”

(Abstract. First published: May 20, 2013)


“Men with Infertility”

Sexual Medicine

Winkelman, William D., MD, et al.

“The Sexual Impact of Infertility Among Women Seeking Fertility Care”

(Full-text. Published online: May 7, 2016)


Watson, Laurie J., LMFT

“How to Stay Sexually Connected During Infertility Treatment”

(June 5, 2019)

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Sexual Effects of ADHD Different in Men and Women

Sunday, September 29th, 2019

We get it. When you have a sexual problem, you might not want to talk about it. Sex is a delicate, private subject, and lots of people don’t want to admit they’re having trouble. 

Instead of seeing a doctor, many people turn to the internet and look for products that might help. But are supplements the answer? 

Over-the-counter supplements don’t require a prescription, and you can easily get them in pharmacies, in health food stores, and over the internet. And buying them this way saves you a trip to the doctor. 

Cost is another important factor. Sexual health treatments, such as pills for erectile dysfunction (ED) aren’t always covered by insurance, and they can carry a hefty price tag. The supplement route can be more affordable. 

But before you add a sexual enhancement supplement to your cart, keep these points in mind: 

Lack of regulation

  • Supplements aren’t regulated by agencies like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In fact, the FDA considers supplements to be foods, and manufacturers are not required to provide evidence of their products’ safety and effectiveness. 


  • Products are often marketed with terms that imply safety, like natural, homeopathic, and organic. These descriptions can be misleading. As Dr. Ryan Terlecki of Wake Forest University told, “Nothing falls from a tree in the shape of a pill or capsule.”

Unlisted ingredients


Scientists have found supplements that contained prescription drugs for erectile dysfunction (sildenafil, tadalafil) or antidepressants (dapoxetine). Such ingredients may not be safe for everyone, and they aren’t always on the supplement label.

Men who take nitrates for conditions like heart disease and diabetes should never take ED drugs because the interaction can cause a serious drop in blood pressure.

Interactions and side effects


Fenugreek, a common supplement ingredient, can interact with anticoagulants (medicines that help prevent blood clots). 

People who take antidepressants, blood pressure medications, or central nervous system stimulants should avoid yohimbine. 

In addition to drug interactions, supplements can have other side effects and may affect lab test results ordered by your doctor. 

Lack of evidence


In an April 2019 Journal of Sexual Medicine study, researchers reported that in 413 studies of sexual enhancement product ingredients, only 17% involved human subjects. 

Some people claim that a product called Zestra boosts sexual desire and improves orgasms in women. But the product has not been tested in men. 

Unreliable reviews


In the Journal of Sexual Medicine study mentioned above, researchers used a tool called ReviewMeta to filter out suspicious reviews related to six erectile dysfunction supplements sold on After using this software, almost half of the reviews were filtered out, suggesting that they were unreliable. 

“The removal of nearly one-half of all reviews associated with these products raises concerns about the veracity of comments linked to these products,” the authors wrote. 

(Learn more about sex health product reviews here.) 

The bottom line

If you’re coping with a sexual problem, your best bet is to talk to your doctor about it. Remember, doctors are there to help you, and chances are, they’ve had other patients go through what you’re experiencing now. They know your medical history and can guide you on what treatments are most appropriate for you. They might also suggest other ways you can improve your sexual health, like following a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and staying fit. 

Also, some sexual health issues are signs of a more serious health condition. For instance, men with diabetes and heart disease often start having trouble with erections because of poor blood flow to the penis. With a thorough health checkup, your doctor can screen for such conditions and start treating you immediately. Sometimes, treatment for the underlying condition resolves the sexual problem. 

Doctors might also know about coupons and promotions that could keep your treatment costs down. It never hurts to ask. 

Don’t leave treatment for sex health problems to chance. Ask a board-certified physician about the best path for you. 


The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Balasubramanian, Adithya, BA, et al.

“An Analysis of Popular Online Erectile Dysfunction Supplements”

(Full-text. Published online: April 26, 2019)

Harrison, Pam

“Supplements for Sex: What To Know”

(April 22, 2019)

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