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

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 »

Resuming sex after a heart attack

New evidence-based recommendations from the American Heart Association answers questions about resuming sexual activity after a heart attack that many people (and their doctors) are too embarrassed to bring up. (Locked) More »

Troubles with sexual release?

Some men have trouble reaching a satisfying orgasm. It can stem from a side effect of medication or spring from psychological or relationship issues. Discussing it with your doctor is the key first step to a solution. (Locked) More »

Sex after heart attack

The American Heart Association (AHA) has issued a scientific statement noting that sex is safe for the majority of heart disease patients and that patients should discuss the subject with their doctors. "The AHA statement on sexual activity and heart disease is really a big step forward in medicine," says Dr. Deepak Bhatt, an interventional cardiologist and associate professor at Harvard Medical School. "Patients with heart disease often have questions about sexual activity and it is time to start discussing those issues openly." While exercise has been an accepted way to help treat heart patients for years, many heart patients have been concerned about resuming sexual relations because of the strain it may put on their heart or any cardiac devices. (Locked) More »

When sex gives more pain than pleasure

Millions of women experience pain before, during, or after sexual intercourse—a condition called dyspareunia. Many suffer in silence and don't seek the help they need, or they have trouble finding a clinician who can diagnose and treat the causes of their pain. That is unfortunate, because treatments are available for many of the problems that underlie this vexing condition. More »

Sex and the older woman

With many older women enjoying sex and few using condoms, it's not surprising that some are acquiring sexually transmitted infections (STIs). According to the Centers for Disease Control there has been an uptick in other STIs in postmenopausal women. Safe-sex is especially important for postmenopausal women, because they are more vulnerable to STIs than younger women. And STIs in older women may go undetected because they are often without symptoms, and clinicians aren't always tuned in to screening older women. STIs of concern include human papilloma virus (HPV), herpes, trichomoniasis, chlamydia, gonorrhea. HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C. and syphilis.  (Locked) More »

Viagra precautions

I am a 64-year-old man with diabetes. I've been having trouble with erections, and my doctor just gave me a prescription for Viagra. He also told me to be careful about using other drugs with Viagra but didn't give me a list. Can you please fill me in? (Locked) More »

Medical memo: Semen quality and survival

How healthy are you, and how does your life expectancy stack up against the average? To answer these questions, your doctor will ask about your smoking, drinking, diet, and exercise. He'll measure your cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and weight or waist size. And he may ask if you're happy or stressed and if you sleep well. These facts and numbers do count; men who rate well in midlife stay healthier and live longer than gents who score poorly. Still, scientists are always looking for additional measurements that predict survival. And research from Denmark proposes an unlikely candidate: semen quality. More »

Is sex exercise? And is it hard on the heart?

As many men get older, they wonder if sex is a good form of exercise or if it's too strenuous for the heart. These questions may sound like locker room banter, but they are actually quite important — and they now have solid scientific answers. More »