Fortunately, HIV diagnoses for women have declined in recent years, but it is still important for women to be aware of the risks and prevention strategies for this sexually transmitted infection (STI) so that they can stay safe during sexual activity. Here are some things that women should know about HIV and their sexual health.
Several studies have reported overall decreases in sexual activity during the COVID-19 pandemic, citing increased stress, fatigue, household and childcare responsibilities, and mandated lockdowns that might prevent people from meeting new partners as possible factors related to these declines.
Endometriosis is a medical condition in which tissues similar to the endometrium (the tissue that lines the uterus) begin to grow outside of the uterus. It is estimated to affect between 2 to 10 percent of U.S. women between the ages of 25 to 40, and it is most common in women in their 30s and 40s. An often painful condition, endometriosis can cause intense menstrual cramps, heavy menstrual bleeding, pain with sex, and infertility.
The International Classification of Diseases, 11th Revision (ICD-11) defines compulsive sexual behavior disorder (CSBD) as “an impulse control disorder with an inability to control repetitive sexual impulses or urges, resulting in repetitive sexual behaviors, which causes clinically significant problems in social and emotional functioning and marked distress” (Koós et al., 2022).
A person’s sexual health can have ripple effects on various other parts of their life. Depending on the circumstances, sexual health can support or detract from a person’s mental health, physical health, and relationships. Conversely, many aspects of a person’s physical and mental health can directly impact their sexual health. Conditions such as diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, depression, anxiety, and pelvic floor disorders can be detrimental to a person’s sexual function, thus possibly decreasing their quality of life.
Sexual function is typically assessed within the context of partnered sexual activity for both men and women. Nevertheless, masturbation is a very common sexual activity that could provide valuable information about an individual’s sexual response/function. For example, determining if/how a person’s sexual response differs during partnered sex versus masturbation could have big implications regarding the potential causes of and possible treatments for any sexual dysfunctions. To this end, the authors of a recent Journal of Sexual Medicine study explored the differences in sexual response during masturbation and partnered sex for a large, multinational sample of men with and without sexual dysfunction.
Growing evidence from multiple studies has indicated an association between eating disorders and female sexual dysfunction (FSD). This means that women who struggle with an eating disorder may also struggle with FSD, and vice versa. Certainly, not all women with an eating disorder also experience FSD, but the symptoms of these two conditions co-occur in individuals often enough to warrant closer investigation.
Spinal cord injuries can cause changes in the body that impact a person’s sexual function. People with spinal cord injuries may experience a loss of motor function, sense of touch, and sexual reflexes, depending on the severity of their injury. These changes can affect orgasms, erections, ejaculation, and vaginal lubrication.
Increasingly, health care providers use validated questionnaires to collect patient-reported outcomes to evaluate patients’ symptoms and guide possible treatment plans. The female sexual function index (FSFI) is a widely used validated questionnaire that is considered the gold standard for assessing female sexual dysfunction.
Yes, there is a strong link between erectile dysfunction (ED) and heart disease. The two conditions, while seemingly unrelated, have several overlapping risk factors, causes, and prevention strategies.
Social determinants of health (SDOH) are defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as “the conditions in the places where people live, learn, work, and play that affect a wide range of health and quality-of-life risks and outcomes” (Kim et al., 2022).
Receiving a cancer diagnosis of any kind can be very difficult and distressing, both for the patient and their loved ones. Naturally, pursuing treatment for the cancer is usually an individual’s top priority at the time of diagnosis, often overshadowing other concerns and lifestyle considerations. As such, many patients are unaware that cancer and its treatment can affect their sexual function until they are in the midst of it.