Sexual Health – Changing the Conversation…
The Importance of Sexual Health
Sexual health is an important part of human health and forms a crucial part of our emotional and physical wellbeing. Usually, in the topic of health, the emphasis is placed on physical health, mental health, emotional health and spiritual health, but feeling confident about your sexual health is also very important. Love, affection and intimacy all play a role in healthy relationships and a fulfilling sex life can improve your sleep quality and reduces stress.
What can affect sexual health?
There are several factors that can affect your sexual health such as age, general health, how you feel about your relationship, medical conditions and medications.
We all experience stress. It might be something major: a new move, a health concern, a toxic relationship. Often it is something minor: a busy week at work, a kid home sick on a day filled with meetings, the post-work/school rush to put dinner on the table in time, the last minute request from a boss.
These small daily hassles can add up and have large consequences over time for our health and relationships.
Stress also affects our physical and mental health and places additional strain on our relationship, even for healthy, stable ones.
Hormonal changes and imbalances
As women approach menopause, their oestrogen levels decrease, which may result in vaginal dryness and slower sexual arousal. Mood changes associated with menopause and stress can change a woman’s interest in sex.
Testosterone plays and important role in a man’s sexual health. Testosterone levels gradually decline throughout adulthood. As a man ages, it may take longer for an erection to occur and the erection may not be as firm. Erectile dysfunction occurs more commonly with increased age. Arousal, orgasmic and ejaculatory experiences may also take longer with increased age
Some women are concerned about changes in body shape and size that may cause them to feel less sexually desirable.
Medical conditions, surgery and medications
Medical conditions that affect your general health may also impact your sexual health. High blood pressure, diabetes, hormonal problems, depression and anxiety are all known to potentially affect sexual health. Medications used to treat these conditions may also potentially impact sexual health. Some medications may affect the ability to become aroused and others may make it more difficult to have an orgasm. Surgical procedures that affect the pelvis and central nervous system may impact sexual response, but the problem may resolve once the body has had time to heal.
What can I do to improve my sexual health?
Speak to your doctor if you have concerns about your sexual health so that any underlying causes may be diagnosed and treated. Medications may be altered if necessary. Exercise and weight loss are also important for good sexual health.
Understand your stress
Identifying what is making you stressed can help you figure out the best ways to deal with it. Think about what is making you feel overwhelmed right now and write it down.
Support your partner
The more support people get from their partners, the less stress spills over and harms the relationship. You can do this by being responsive when your partner talks about their stress and by providing your partner with instrumental (e.g. taking care of household chores) and emotional (listening to them complain) support.
Research has shown that those who are more physically active report higher frequencies of sexual behaviour, as well as increased sexual desire.
A great workout produces Endorphins. Endorphins are stimulating and make us feel great. It elevates our mood, reduces our stress, boosts self-esteem and increases sex hormones; all factors which all play into a healthier sex life.
Can natural supplements improve sexual health?
Supplements can be beneficial for certain people. Supplements provide extra nutrients when your diet is lacking or when certain health conditions cause a deficiency.
Which supplements should I take?
Tribulus terrestris is a plant that has shown benefit in women with low sexual desire disorder. It has been reported to improve desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, and satisfaction as well as decreasing pain during sex. Tribulus terrestris may also benefit men with erectile dysfunction.
Maca, also known as Peruvian ginseng, has shown improvements in sex drive in both men and women. It has also shown benefit in people suffering from decreased sex drive due to antidepressant medication.
Niacin (Vitamin B3) has been shown to improve erectile function in men suffering from erectile dysfunction and high cholesterol.
Panax ginseng (Asian ginseng) may improve sexual desire in women going through menopause and may improve erectile function in men.