All Sexual Health Topics
In short, yes. When individuals are experiencing sexual difficulties or sexual dysfunction, they often assume the cause is physical. Certainly, many physical conditions can contribute to sexual dysfunction including diabetes, heart disease, vascular issues, pelvic floor disorders, hormonal imbalances, neurological issues, and other chronic conditions. However, the role that mental health plays in a person’s sexual function should not be underestimated.
Cigarettes contain about 600 ingredients and create thousands of chemicals when they are burned, at least 69 of which are known to cause cancer (American Lung Association, 2020). By now, it’s no secret that smoking has adverse health effects. Many studies have demonstrated the link between smoking cigarettes and serious health conditions including cancer, heart disease, chronic lung diseases, stroke, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Perhaps lesser known is the impact that smoking can have on a person’s sexual function. The following are the ways in which smoking could impact your sexual health.
Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) is a prostate cancer treatment that suppresses the production of testosterone (a type of androgen or male sex hormone) in a person’s body. Prostate cancer cells require testosterone to grow, so stopping testosterone production can shrink or slow the growth of the cancer. ADT can be achieved through certain medications or orchiectomy (a surgery to remove the testicles). On its own, ADT cannot cure prostate cancer.
Some men believe that they ejaculate too quickly during sexual activity or feel that they do not have much (if any) control over how quickly they ejaculate. This situation can lead to personal distress, partner distress, decreased sexual satisfaction, and/or relationship issues, but when is it technically considered premature ejaculation (PE)?
The pelvic floor is a hammock-like group of muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues at the base of the pelvis that holds the pelvic organs in place. Pelvic organs include the bladder, urethra, intestines, and rectum (for men and women), prostate (for men), and uterus, cervix, and vagina (for women).
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system, weakening its defenses against other diseases and infections. It can be passed from person to person through contact with blood and other bodily fluids. Most often, it is spread through unprotected sex, but it can also be passed by sharing needles for drug injection or from an HIV-positive mother to her baby during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding.
Sexual performance anxiety is fear, worry, or anxiety related to sexual activity. Although it is one of the most common sexual issues among both men and women, sexual performance anxiety is not recognized as a diagnosis. Nevertheless, it often accompanies and/or precedes other sexual dysfunctions. Severe sexual performance anxiety can perpetuate a detrimental cycle in which a person worries about their performance and is afraid of failure, experiences sexual difficulties, and then worries more about future performance.
Persistent genital arousal disorder/genito-pelvic dysesthesia (PGAD/GPD) is a distressing condition that can impact both men and women but is more common in women. The International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health (ISSWSH) defines PGAD/GPD in women as a condition “characterized by persistent or recurrent, unwanted or intrusive, distressing sensations of genital arousal (e.g., feelings of being on the verge of orgasm and of lubrication and swelling, tingling, throbbing, contractions) that persist for ≥3 months and may include other types of genito-pelvic dysesthesia (e.g., buzzing, burning, twitching, itch, pain).”
Bladder health is an important component of one’s overall well-being, and one that may have ramifications for a person’s sexual health. There are several ailments that can affect the bladder, ranging from acute (short-term) infections to chronic (long-term) conditions. Though these conditions can occur in both men and women, they are more common in women because of the anatomy of their urethra: it is shorter compared to the male urethra and it is located closer to the anus. Other risk factors include pregnancy, childbirth, and hormonal changes due to menopause.