Top 4 Common Sexual Health Issues That Men Face
How to boost your sexual well-being and when it’s time to get help.
Most men would agree that sex is an important part of life and relationships, but many guys hesitate to ask for help when sexual issues happen. Cultural stigmas can contribute to feelings of shame when it comes to problems such as erectile dysfunction and low sex drive in men –– but you’re a man and not a machine. You deserve compassionate guidance that supports your health without unfair assumptions and judgment.
Men’s sexual health encompasses a range of issues that transcend the act of sex itself. Your sexual, physical, and mental health are deeply linked. Healthy sex can look different for different guys, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to enjoying your sex life. How much you have sex, and with whom, are personal choices. Healthy sex starts with overall well-being and self-acceptance. You’ve got to love yourself inside and out before you can share that love with someone else, right? Know that you’re not alone if you have sexual health concerns. Here are four common sexual health issues that men face and how to know when it’s time to get help.
Changes In Sex Drive
It’s normal to lose interest in sex sometimes. The idea that your sex drive should never wane or plateau as a guy is toxic cultural BS. There are reasons why you might want sex more or less depending on what’s going on with you, both mentally and physically. Seriously, that kind of pressure can so kill that sexy vibe, plus, men are sensitive creatures with hormones in flux, too.
Dips in testosterone can happen throughout life. Sex drive and testosterone levels are linked, so when your hormonal levels shift, so can your libido. If you notice a drastic change in your sex drive for reasons you can’t explain, your doctor can test your T levels for you. Your provider might prescribe testosterone supplements if needed.
Mental Health Issues
People with chronic depression often lose interest in sex. Moreover, if you’re on SSRI medications for depression, these can also curb your libido.
It’s important that you don’t abruptly stop treatment for depression if you find that your sex drive is off. Talk to your doctor or prescribing psychiatrist if you have concerns. Your doc might simply need to adjust your dosage to correct the issue, and some antidepressants don’t negatively affect sex drive.
Also, if you prefer a more natural route, herbal St. John’s wort may help treat mild to moderate depression without affecting libido. But there’s a major caveat here: St. John’s wort can lead to dangerous interactions with certain medications, including some prescription antidepressants, so check in with your provider before making any changes to your treatment protocol.
Shifts In Erectile Function
Erectile dysfunction (ED) happens when you can’t get or keep an erection long enough to have sex –– but this is super common for guys, especially during stressful times.
If you find that your ED resolves when a difficult time in your life ends, then it’s most likely stress or anxiety-related. However, chronic or frequent ED can mean that you have cardiovascular health issues or any number of health concerns, including diabetes, sleep disorders, and some mental health and autoimmune conditions. Further, smoking cigarettes and drug and alcohol use can also contribute to ED. If you’re struggling with ED and it’s not resolving, you might have an underlying medical or mental health condition, so treatment and/or talk therapy might help.
Sex Or Porn Addiction
Sex addiction, including porn addiction, is considered a behavioral addiction since it doesn’t involve drugs or other substances. While not yet classified as a disorder in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the World Health Organization (WHO) recently added sex addiction to their International Classification of Diseases (ICD).
Compulsive sexual behavior can manifest in different ways and is often linked to other mental health conditions, such as bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and depression. No matter how you define it, if you have impulse control issues around sexual behaviors that cause harm to you or other people, such as your partner, it’s probably time to seek support.
There are many reasons why sexual health can change throughout life. If you’re single and have concerns, talk to someone you trust and get help if you need it. If you’re in a relationship, resolving underlying issues with your partner can be key –– you need trust, good communication, and overall relational health to experience sexual health in any partnership.
No matter what you’re going through, chances are other guys are going through it too. Checking in with a close friend, therapist, a trusted doctor, and even a support group can help you reestablish the sexual health and well-being you deserve.
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