,As women, we learn about our sexual health from the time we are teenagers. We are taught how our bodies work and are encouraged to go to the doctor for annual exam. We pay attention to our reproductive system, aren’t afraid to talk to our friends about our sexual health and learn to listen to our bodies. But for men, once puberty is over, sexual health is often forgotten. The following are 10 things you may not know about men’s sexual health.
Men Aren’t Always in the Mood
The image, for most people, is that men are always in the mood. They are willing, at any time and anyplace to jump into bed. But men experience stress, tiredness, problems weighing on his mind and a myriad of other reasons that tonight just isn’t the right time for sex. We want our man to understand that when we are tired or have had a stressful day wanting to roll over and go to sleep doesn’t reflect on our love or desire for him so we have to understand that the times he isn’t in the mood doesn’t mean that he doesn’t want you or is no longer attracted to you. But if desire has lowered from where it was before, it could signal a health problem. Healthy men have healthy libidos (although there is no "right or wrong" for the amount of desire a man should have). If desire is waning, it may be time to talk to your doctor.
Physical Health Does Impact Sexual Ability
Along with the myth that men are always in the mood is the myth that their equipment will always work. But erectile dysfunction (ED) is usually caused by a physical problem rather than a sexual or emotional one. Testosterone levels, varicoceles, diabetes, heart conditions, thyroid problems and other medical conditions can contribute to erectile dysfunction. But because of the myth, men often feel embarrassed and when it isn’t treated, ED can lead to self-esteem issues and problems in your relationship. Instead of worrying about whether he isn’t interested in you, suggest a visit to the doctor to find out if there is an underlying medical treatment that should be treated.
STDs Don’t Always Have Symptoms
Many STDs are asymptomatic, meaning that you show no signs of having an STD and won’t know unless you are tested. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 90 percent of those with genital herpes don’t know they have it. Other STDs, such as HPV and HIV may not show any symptoms at all, but that doesn’t mean you can’t contract these diseases. Approximately one-half of all sexually active adults will contract some type of STD in their life. Rather than believing that you will know if your partner has an STD, insist that both of you get tested and use a condom.
Men Should Go to the Doctor Annually, Too
Women have specialty doctors who treat women and women’s reproductive health only - gynecologists and obstetricians. There is no male equivalent to these doctors and men often avoid going to the doctor because they don’t have symptoms of anything being wrong and because they aren’t aware that annual check-ups and examinations are good for their overall health. Besides the annual physical, screenings for colon, testicular and prostate cancer are important. But more than that, an annual check-up helps men feel more comfortable talking with their doctor, helps them become more aware of their bodies and may be more apt to seek help when something just isn’t right.
Infertility is a Man’s Problem, Too
No man wants to believe he is infertile, but the fact is, 40 percent of the time, when a couple is having trouble conceiving, it is caused by the man. Another 40 percent of the time, it is caused by the woman and in the remaining 20 percent, it is either a combination of both or the reason is unknown. There are a number of factors that can cause men’s infertility: sperm count, sperm shape and mobility, infections of the prostate and varicoceles can all cause infertility. In many cases, when the underlying cause is treated, pregnancy can and does occur.
"Erection Problems," Updated 2011, Sept 19, Updated by Louis S. Liou, M.D., Ph.D., A.D.A.M. Medical Encylclopedia
Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of What Went Right: Reframe Your Thinking for a Happier Now, Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love, and Essential Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.