Men's Sexual Health

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.

Men's Sexual Health Articles

Matters of the heart: Sex and cardiovascular disease

Sexual activity and sexual function are major quality-of-life issues for both men and women. Frequency and quality of sex is closely tied to a person’s general health, and many of the symptoms of cardiovascular disease conspire to diminish sexual enjoyment. Good communication between partners and with the doctor can help alleviate many common concerns and put a couple back on the road to intimacy. More »

Which drug for erectile dysfunction?

For men with erectile problems, taking one of the four medications available can produce an erection 70% of the time. The drugs vary in how quickly they take effect, how long they act, and their safety issues. The limit on which pill men use is often the cost. Insurance plans may also limit a man to four doses per month. Erectile difficulties often are a warning of underlying artery disease. More »

Erectile dysfunction and the drugs to treat it

Erectile dysfunction is diagnosed when a man has difficulty attaining and sustaining an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse. Prescription medications are the first line of treatment. All of the drugs need to be taken about an hour before activity, on an empty stomach. Some drugs may work in half an hour or less. Excessive alcohol use may reduce the effect of the drug. (Locked) More »

New guidelines for treating vaginal atrophy

Almost half of postmenopausal women experience dryness and thinning of the vagina and vulva. The North American Menopause Society recommends vaginal lubricants and moisturizers, as well as vaginal or oral estrogen to treat symptoms. (Locked) More »

Testosterone therapy: Is it for women?

Testosterone therapy is not currently FDA-approved to treat low libido in women, yet some women take this treatment off-label, not only for sexual issues, but also to improve muscle and bone strength and boost mood. There is no evidence that any benefits outweigh the side effects of this therapy for women. Anyone who is experiencing a loss of interest in, or lack of response to, sex should consider discussing the problem with her doctor. (Locked) More »

Sex and your heart

Research finds that 60% of women are less sexually active after a heart attack, at least in part because they’re afraid having sex will trigger another heart attack. However, the odds of sex causing a heart attack is very low—especially for women who regularly engage in physical activity. A stress test can determine whether women with heart disease or a history of heart surgery are healthy enough to resume sexual activity. Undergoing cardiac rehabilitation can help get their heart back into shape for sex. (Locked) More »

Testing your testosterone: It's tricky

Many men are turning to testosterone supplementation to boost flagging libido, lift their spirits, and improve their mental and physical performance. But blood tests for diagnosing "low T" are notoriously unreliable. Measuring total testosterone can produce misleading results in men with low-normal hormone levels. But by combining more than one kind of blood test, and by making sure to retest, your doctor can offer you a reasonably reliable diagnosis and possibly offer a short-term trial of testosterone to see if it makes you feel better. (Locked) More »