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What Should Men Know About Topical Testosterone?

What Should Men Know About Topical Testosterone? Topical testosterone, which can be applied directly to the skin, is a convenient way for men with hypogonadism to undergo testosterone replacement therapy.

However, men should use it cautiously and keep these key points in mind:

  • Available only by prescription, topical testosterone comes in several forms, such as gels and creams, which may come in individual-use packets and pumps. Always follow the instructions of the medication guide leaflet and your doctor.
  • Wash your hands completely before applying testosterone.
  • Topical testosterone is usually applied to the shoulders, upper arms, or abdomen, but always follow the instructions.
  • Do not apply testosterone to broken skin. Never apply it to the penis or scrotum.
  • Let the testosterone dry before you get dressed.
  • After applying testosterone, don’t shower or go swimming for several hours. (The medication guide leaflet should tell you how long to wait.)
  • Make sure the drug does not transfer to another person, especially a woman or child. Wash your hands after applying and clean any areas where testosterone might have dripped, such as the bathroom counter or sink. Cover the area or wash it before having skin-to-skin contact with another person.
  • See your doctor regularly to monitor your testosterone levels.
  • Be aware of possible side effects and contact your doctor immediately if you experience blood in your urine, problems with urination, or any other symptoms that seems severe or unusual.

Finally, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions about using topical testosterone.


International Society for Sexual Medicine

“How does one use a testosterone gel?”

Mayo Clinic

“Testosterone (Topical Application Route)”

(Last updated: March 1, 2019)

Self-Injectable Testosterone Now Available

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Consensually Non-Monogamous People Discuss Healthcare Needs and Experiences

Consensually Non-Monogamous People Discuss Healthcare Needs and ExperiencesPeople in consensually non-monogamous relationships often face stigma when seeing healthcare providers, researchers say.

Such relationships allow for sexual activity outside of a committed relationship. For example, in a polyamorous relationship, a married couple might agree that it’s okay to have romantic and sexual relationships with others, as long as a set of ground rules is followed. Swinging and open relationships are other examples.

Experts estimate that between 3.5% and 5% of people in the United States practice consensual non-monogamy. However, the practice is not always accepted by doctors.

To learn more, researchers asked 20 consensually non-monogamous people to participate in one of three focus groups. The discussions yielded several common themes:

  • Healthcare providers often assume their patients are monogamous and aren’t aware of what consensual non-monogamy is all about.
  • Some doctors and staff judged the participants with “raised eyebrows” and “dirty looks.” Some were condescending.
  • Some participants didn’t disclose their relationship situation for fear of being judged. Others avoided doctors that made them feel uncomfortable.
  • Participants asked others in the consensual non-monogamy community for referrals to medical practices that would accept the lifestyle.
  • Frequent testing for sexually transmitted infections was important for health and for relationship agreements.
  • Participants wanted their healthcare needs met in an inclusive, accepting environment.

“Instead of saying, ‘Well, don’t be involved with that particular behavior,’ say ‘How can we make healthier choices within those behaviors?’” one man said.

The study was published in the January 2019 edition of the Journal of Sexual Medicine.


The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Vaughan, Michelle D., PhD, et al.

“Healthcare Experiences and Needs of Consensually Non-Monogamous People: Results From a Focus Group Study”

(Full-text. January 2019)

Fibromyalgia Drug Might Help Women with Provoked Vulvodynia

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For Erectile Dysfunction Drugs, It Pays to Shop Around

For Erectile Dysfunction Drugs, It Pays to Shop AroundIn the United States, erectile dysfunction (ED) drug prices vary greatly depending on the type of pharmacy dispensing them.

ED is a common problem for men, especially as they get older. For many, drugs called phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors provide an effective, convenient way to produce an erection when they wish.

But ED drugs usually aren’t covered by health insurance. Unfortunately, some men discontinue treatment because the drugs are too expensive.

To learn more about the range of ED drug prices, a team of researchers surveyed 323 pharmacies within a 25-mile radius of their medical center in the midwestern U.S. Most of the pharmacies were chains (e.g., CVS, Rite-Aid, Walgreens). Thirty-four were independently owned. Seven were classified as wholesale (e.g., Costco and Sam’s Club). The remaining seven were associated with hospitals.

They calculated the median prices of four ED drugs in standard doses: Sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), vardenafil (Levitra), and avanafil (Stendra). Median refers to the midpoint in a list of prices. Half of the prices would be more, and half would be less.)

Sildenafil had the largest price range, from a low of $48 at independent pharmacies to a high of $500 at hospital-associated pharmacies. The median chain price was $448, and wholesale pharmacies charged a median of $50.

Median prices for the other drugs were more similar, ranging from a low of $362 (tadalafil at independent pharmacies) to a high of $773 (avanafil at hospital-associated pharmacies).

The study was published in December 2018 in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.


The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Mishra, Kirtishri, MD, et al.

“Variability in Prices for Erectile Dysfunction Medications—Are All Pharmacies the Same?”

(Full-text. December 2018)

Study: Almost 9% of Americans Have Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder

Study: Almost 9% of Americans Have Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder In a recent study, almost 9% of participants had trouble coping with sexual feelings, urges and behaviors.

The medical term for this situation is compulsive sexual behavior disorder. It is sometimes called sex addiction or hypersexuality.

People with this disorder are preoccupied with sexual fantasies and urges to the point that the obsession impairs their daily functioning, making them distressed. They may try to control their urges but find it difficult to do so. The disorder can damage relationships, interfere with employment, and lead to risky sexual encounters.  

The study findings, published in JAMA Network Open, were based on a nationally representative sample of 2325 men and women between the ages of 18 and 50 living in the United States. About half the participants were women; the rest were men.

The group completed a questionnaire called the Compulsive Sexual Behavior Inventory, a screening tool for this disorder.

Ten percent of the men and seven percent of the women met the clinical criteria for compulsive sexual behavior disorder.

Healthcare providers “should be alert to the high number of people who are distressed about their sexual behavior,” the authors wrote.

If you feel that your sexual feelings or urges are beyond your control and causing distress, don’t hesitate to see your doctor. Compulsive sexual behavior disorder can often be managed with psychotherapy and medication. Support groups can also help.


HealthDay via WebMD

Gordon, Serena

“Nearly 1 In 10 in U.S. Battle Sexual Urges”

(November 9, 2018)

JAMA Network Open

Dickenson, Janna A., PhD, et al.

“Prevalence of Distress Associated With Difficulty Controlling Sexual Urges, Feelings, and Behaviors in the United States”

(Abstract. November 9, 2018)

Mayo Clinic

“Compulsive Sexual Behavior”

(October 5, 2017)


Wilson, F. Perry, MD, MSCE

“'Sex Addiction' in 10% of US Men, 7% of Women?”

(November 13, 2018)

Phobic Anxiety Linked to Sexual Problems in Breast Cancer Survivors

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Ospemifene Improves Vaginal and Vulvar Structure in Postmenopausal Women

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Over 80% of Women With Chronic Pelvic Pain Cope With Sexual Problems

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Antidepressant Trintellix Has Fewer Sexual Side Effects, Study Finds

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Multiple Sclerosis and Women’s Sexual Health

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Are Yoni Eggs Safe?

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For Healthcare Providers: Female Cancer Patients and Sexual Health

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Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause: Can Laser Therapy Help?

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About Two-Third of MS Patients Have Sexual Problems

About Two-Third of MS Patients Have Sexual ProblemsMany people with multiple sclerosis (MS) also face sexual challenges. In fact, a recent study of MS patients found that 64% had sexual problems, and for many, sexual dysfunction was associated with poorer MS disability and depression symptoms.

The study, published last summer in the International Journal of MS Care, involved 162 MS patients who filled out an assessment tool called the MS Intimacy and Sexuality Questionnaire. The participants’ average age was 46 years and almost 78% were women.

MS is a neurological disease that impairs the central nervous system, particularly the myelin sheath that protects nerve cells. When this happens, messages between the brain and other body parts can’t be transmitted efficiently or completely.

As a result, men might develop erectile dysfunction (ED), as the brain cannot “tell” the penis about sexual stimulation and trigger an erection. Similarly, women may have trouble with vaginal lubrication if the message that triggers arousal is lost in the process.

Both men and women might find they have less interest in sex, too. And orgasms might become difficult to achieve.

Other aspects of MS can affect sexual function as well. For example, fatigue, stress, and anxiety can lead to sexual difficulties.

Unfortunately, healthcare providers don’t always discuss sexual health with their patients. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t hesitate to speak up. Sexual problems can be treated. Your doctor can also refer you to sex therapy, if needed.


International Journal of MS Care

Domingo, Samantha, PsyD, et al.

“Factors Associated with Sexual Dysfunction in Individuals with Multiple Sclerosis”

(Abstract. July-August 2018)

International Society for Sexual Medicine

“How might multiple sclerosis affect a person sexually?”

Multiple Sclerosis News Today

Pinto, Diogo

“Sexual Problems Common Among MS Patients But Often Ignored, Study Reports”

(September 6, 2018)

Penis Length: Showers and Growers

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Depression and Sleep Problems Linked to Urologic Conditions

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How Do Men and Women Respond to Sexually-Explicit Images?

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Younger Breast Cancer Survivors Have Sexual Challenges, Too

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Men’s and Women’s Hormonal Cycles Don’t Synch, Study Says

Men’s and Women’s Hormonal Cycles Don’t Synch, Study SaysYou’ve probably seen stories about the song and dance animals go through when they “court” and mate. A male might fight off other males who show interest in his female partner. And some have a higher sex drive when the female is fertile.

But do such patterns apply to humans? Do men’s testosterone levels synch with their partner’s menstrual cycles? New research suggests the answer is no.

For the study, researchers recruited 48 heterosexual couples who were living together in Sweden.

For 120 days, the men took daily saliva samples and put them in their home freezer for collection at the end of the study. The samples were taken in the morning, when men’s testosterone levels are at their highest. Testosterone levels were measured for each sample at a lab.

The men also noted any episodes of acne, which can indicate heightened hormonal activity.

Meanwhile, the women kept track of their menstrual cycles and ovulation.

The researchers found no increase or decrease in the men’s testosterone levels or acne episodes that related to their partner’s ovulation cycles.

The finding contrasts with previous research. The authors suggested further studies to learn more. It’s possible that hormones synchronize in shorter spurts than the durations measured, they said. They also considered that a man’s testosterone levels might synch with other women’s cycles and not with his partner’s.

The study was published in August 2018 in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.


The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Ström, Jakob O., MD, PhD, et al.

“Male Testosterone Does Not Adapt to the Partner's Menstrual Cycle”

(Full-text. August 2018)

How Many Diabetic Men Have Erectile Dysfunction?

How Many Diabetic Men Have Erectile Dysfunction? Diabetes is a huge risk factor for erectile dysfunction (ED). But just how many diabetic men are affected?

New research from India took a look at that question for men with type 2 diabetes.

In a recent study of 225 men between the ages of 18 and 65, 79% of the men with diabetes had trouble with erections, compared to 46% of the men who were not diabetic.

Over a third of the diabetic men had moderate to severe ED.

In addition, the longer a man had diabetes, the greater his risk for ED, according to the study.

One way diabetes impairs erections is by neuropathy, or nerve damage. Typically, a man’s brain responds to sexual stimulation by “telling” the arteries in his penis to allow more blood in for an erection. But if he has neuropathy, that message isn’t transmitted properly. The result is a weak erection or no erection at all.

Diabetes can also lead to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), which may block blood flow as well. (See more details here.)

If you’re having trouble with erections, call your doctor for a physical and ask about diabetes screening. If you do have diabetes, make sure you follow your treatment plan to the letter. Take your medications, follow a healthy diet, and exercise regularly. Many men find that their erections improve once they get their diabetes under control.

You can learn more about diabetes and sexual health – for both men and women – here.


Sheth, Suvarna

“Men’s Health Study: Diabetes Increases Chances Of Erectile Dysfunction”

(July 13, 2018)

Current Medicine Research and Practice

Sondhi, Manuj, et al.

“Prevalence of erectile dysfunction in diabetic patients”

(Abstract. Published online: June 8, 2018)


“Diabetes, Neuropathy, and Sexual Health”

(March 12, 2013)

“How Do Certain Diseases Lead to Erectile Dysfunction?”

(January 12, 2016)

“Smoking and Erectile Dysfunction - Surgeon General’s Report”

(February 5, 2014)

Gum Disease Linked to Erectile Dysfunction

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Sex and Pregnancy: Addressing “Knowledge Gaps”

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Prostate Cancer: The Effects of Androgen Deprivation Therapy on Intimate Relationships

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Could Parkinson’s Medications be Linked to Premature Ejaculation?

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Regular Exercise Important for Women’s Sexual Health

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Prostate Cancer’s Physical and Emotional Effects May be “Reciprocal”

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Testosterone Levels Might Improve Quickly After Weight Loss Surgery

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Sexuality of Older Cancer Survivors

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Male Partners and Endometriosis

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Could Erectile Dysfunction Drugs Fight Cancer?

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Prostate Cancer’s Effects on Caregiving Partners

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Are Synthetic Cannabinoids and Other Drugs Linked to Long-Term Erections?

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For Women, Meditation Could Have Sexual Benefits

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Sex and the Senses in Older Adults

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Trying to Get Pregnant? Consider Sexual Frequency

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Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Youth Report Poorer Health

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Viagra Reduces Colorectal Cancer Risk in Mice, Study Finds

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A Third of Cervical Cancer Survivors Feel Sexual Distress

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How Do Alcohol, Marijuana, and Ecstasy Affect the Sex Lives of Young Adults?

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Transgender Adolescents and Body Changes

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Small Study Links Ibuprofen to Testosterone Issues

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Sudden Cardiac Arrest During Sex Unlikely

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Understanding the Effects of Biopsies and Prostatectomy

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For Young People, Sexual Trends Have Changed

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Sizing a New Penis for Transgender Men

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For New Moms, Vaginal and Caesarean Births Have Similar Sexual Effects

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Low-Level Laser Therapy Not Recommended for Treatment of Provoked Vestibulodynia

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Sexual Problems Linked to Heavier Marijuana Use

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How Does Prostate Cancer Treatment Affect Gay and Bisexual Men?

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Some Men Remove Condoms Without Partner’s Consent

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Aquablation Studied as Enlarged Prostate Treatment

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How Many Women Have HSDD?

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After Prostate Cancer, Take Care of Your Relationship

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Most Unmarried Men Use Contraceptives

Most Unmarried Men Use ContraceptivesMost unmarried men use some form of contraception during intercourse, but younger men are more likely to do so, according to a recent report from the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics.

The findings are based on data from 3,707 unmarried men between the ages of 15 and 44 who had had intercourse during the previous three months. The men were participants in the 2011-2015 National Survey of Family Growth, which collects information from American men and women on relationships and reproductive health.

Almost 82% of the unmarried men had used any form of contraception the last time they had sex. Sixty percent said they had used a male method, such as a condom, vasectomy, withdrawal (removing the penis from the vagina before ejaculation). About 45% used condoms, 1% had undergone vasectomy, and 19% used withdrawal.

Overall contraception rates were highest for younger men and declined as men got older. Almost 95% of men between the ages of 15 and 19 used any form of contraception at their last intercourse, and about 87% used a male method. The rates for men aged 35–44 were 72% and 41%, respectively.

Men and women may make contraceptive decisions together. Still, unintended pregnancies are more frequent among unmarried men and women compared to married couples, the report stated.

Do you have questions about contraception? Check out these links for more information:

Facts on Contraceptive Effectiveness

Female Condoms

After Vasectomy, Men Still Have Frequent Sex

Condom Use Errors


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – National Center for Health Statistics

Daniels, Kimberly, PhD, and Joyce C. Abma, PhD

“Unmarried Men’s Contraceptive Use at Recent Sexual Intercourse: United States, 2011–2015”

(August 2017)

Erectile Dysfunction (ED) in Men with Type 1 Diabetes

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Prostate Cancer and Sex: Questions to Consider

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Visual Porn Linked to Unrealistic Expectations in the Bedroom

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BDSM Interests Many Adults, Survey Says

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Diabetic Men Should be Screened for Erectile Dysfunction, Experts Say

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What is the Definition of “Cancer Survivor”?

What is the Definition of “Cancer Survivor”?

Last year, the American Cancer Society (ACS) reported that there are over 15.5 million cancer survivors in the United States. And that number is expected to increase to 20 million by 2026.

But who, exactly, are cancer survivors?

You might respond by saying that cancer survivors have simply survived their cancer. And while that is true, there is often more to the story.

Surviving cancer is more than recovering from a difficult disease:

  • It can mean coping with the physical repercussions of the illness or treatment, like when a man faces erectile dysfunction after prostate cancer treatment or when a woman goes through surgical menopause after her ovaries are removed.
  • It can mean adapting to changing relationships, like when a child cares for a parent or when a spouse cares for a partner.
  • It can mean accepting changes in fertility and exploring new family-planning options, like sperm banking, in vitro fertilization, or adoption.
  • It can mean asking for help – from a colleague, a friend, a relative, a counselor, or a healthcare provider.
  • It can mean navigating new social situations, like when a woman meets a new partner, but feels anxious about her body after mastectomy.
  • It can mean adjusting one’s work schedule to accommodate treatment scheduling, follow-up appointments, or fatigue.
  • It can mean putting on a brave face and accepting the “new normal” when one is frightened of recurrence or anxious about the future.
  • It can mean creating a new budget to cover medical expenses or to make up for a financial shortfall during treatment.  

These are just some examples. Ultimately, the definition of cancer survivor is up to the individual.

Dr. Melanie Bone, a breast cancer survivor, put it this way:

As I considered the various definitions of survivor I encountered during this time, I came to realize that survivorship is highly individual. There are some survivors who, having just recently completed treatment, are well adjusted to their diagnosis and move forward like 10-year survivors. Conversely, there are some survivors who, at 15 years out, struggle with issues similar to patients still in the midst of initial treatment.

The ACS defines survivors as “everyone who’s ever had cancer, from the time of diagnosis for the rest of their life.”

Here at SexHealthMatters, we agree. Our definition includes people with chronic illness, those in remission, and those who are cancer-free. It includes people who survive the cancer itself and those who are surviving the smaller - but just as important – cancer challenges every day.


American Cancer Society

“ACS Report: Number of US Cancer Survivors Expected to Exceed 20 Million by 2026”

(June 2, 2016)

Bone, Melanie, MD, PA

“When Does Survivor Status Start?” (American Society of Clinical Oncology)

“About Survivorship”

(July 2016)

Mayo Clinic

Broderick, Gregory A., MD

“Sexual Function in Male Cancer Survivors”

(Presentation slides. May 12, 2017)

Provided by presenter.

National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship

“Defining Cancer Survivorship”

(July 24, 2014)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy May Benefit Men with Hypersexual Disorder

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy May Benefit Men with Hypersexual Disorder

A small study has found that cognitive behavioral therapy could be a useful way to treat hypersexual disorder.

People with hypersexual disorder have excessive thoughts of sex that can cause them to act impulsively and take sexual risks without thinking through the consequences of their actions. These thoughts and actions are often a response to stress, depression, or anxiety. (Note: Hypersexual disorder does not include paraphilias – sexual excitement from objects that aren’t typically considered arousing.)

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of talk psychotherapy that aims to help patients become more aware of their thinking and develop constructive ways to respond to challenging behavior. It is often used to treat patients with depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.

In the study, 10 men in Sweden (average age: 39 years) with hypersexual disorder participated in group cognitive behavioral therapy. They learned about impulse control, mindfulness, and stress management. Some men attended 7 sessions; the rest attended 10. All completed questionnaires about their progress.

Throughout the therapy period, the men reported fewer hypersexual symptoms and exhibited fewer “problematic sexual behaviors.” About 93% attended therapy regularly and many were satisfied with the treatment.

Because the sample size was small, the authors cautioned that their results were just preliminary. Future studies involving more people and a comparison group are needed before therapy can be recommended for hypersexual disorder.

The study was published online in June in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.


The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Hallberg, Jonas MSc, et al.

“A Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Group Intervention for Hypersexual Disorder: A Feasibility Study”

(Full-text. Published online: June 8, 2017)


Martin, Ben, Psy.D.

“In-Depth: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy”

(Last reviewed: July 17, 2016)

Older Adults Still Enjoy Sex and Physical Tenderness

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Peyronie’s Disease a Concern for Men with Dupuytren’s Contracture

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Non-Standard Work Shifts Might Affect Sexual Health

Non-Standard Work Shifts Might Affect Sexual Health

Three new studies have found that low testosterone levels, poor sperm quality, and urinary problems are common in men who work non-standard shifts, especially those who also have shift work sleep disorder (SWSD).

SWSD refers to a circadian rhythm disorder that leads to extreme daytime drowsiness. Non-standard shift workers tend to have work hours outside the typical 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. time frame.

Here’s what the researchers discovered:

  • Testosterone. Non-standard shift workers had more severe symptoms of low testosterone (such as fatigue and low sex drive) than men who worked during the day, and for men with SWSD, the symptoms were even worse.
  • Sperm Quality. Infertile shift workers tended to have lower sperm counts and fewer moving sperm than those who worked more traditional hours.
  • Urinary Problems. Non-standard shift workers diagnosed with SWSD had more severe urinary problems than those without SWSD. In this case, the researchers suggested that poor sleep, not shift work itself, played a larger role.

Men who feel that shift work is affecting their health – sexually or otherwise – are encouraged to talk to their doctor and, perhaps, their boss. Practicing good sleep hygiene is important for all aspects of health. But if one’s work schedule is making it difficult to sleep well, adjustments may be needed.

The findings of all three studies were presented at the 2017 annual meeting of the American Urological Association.



Dotinga, Randy

“Shift Work May Put Damper on a Man's Sex Life”

(May 15, 2017)

Journal of Urology

Kirby, Will, et al.

“MP91-06 Increased Risk of Hypogonadal Symptoms in Shift Workers with Shift Work Sleep Disorder”

(Abstract. April 2017)

Kohn, Taylor P., et al.

“PD13-08 Shift Work is Associated with Altered Semen Parameters in Infertile Men”

(Abstract. April 2017)

Sigalos, John, et al.

“MP13-12 Shift Workers with Shift Work Sleep Disorder Have Increased Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms”

(Abstract. April 2017)

MedPage Today

Bassett, Mike

“Shift Work Impacts Men's Sexual Health”

(May 14, 2017)

Sleep Important for Older Women’s Sexual Health

Sleep Important for Older Women’s Sexual Health

Getting enough sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. New research suggests that for older women, it’s important for their sexual function, too.

In a study published last month in the journal Menopause, researchers looked at data from 93,668 postmenopausal women between the ages of 50 and 79 in the United States. All were participants in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study, a long-term research project established by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The women answered questions about their sexual function during the previous year and their sleep habits during the previous four weeks.

Overall, 56% of the women said they were somewhat or very satisfied with their sex lives, and 52% had had sex with a partner during the past year. About 31% of the women had insomnia.

The scientists discovered a link between the severity of insomnia and sexual satisfaction. Generally, women with worse insomnia tended to be less satisfied with their sex lives.

Women who slept less than seven hours a night were less likely to have sex with a partner. They also had less sexual satisfaction.

The findings “[suggest] the importance of sufficient, high-quality sleep for sexual function,” the authors wrote.

For more information on sleep and sexual health, please see these links:

Sleep and Women’s Sexual Health

Quality of Sleep Can Have Major Impact on Men’s Sexual Health



Kling, Juliana M. MD, MPH, et al.

“Association of sleep disturbance and sexual function in postmenopausal women”

(Abstract. June 2017)

National Institutes of Health

“WHI Background and Overview”

“Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study Fact Sheet”

Vital Updates

Heitz, David

“Better Sleep May Lead to Better Sex”

(June 2, 2017)

Disorderly Homes Linked to Low Sexual Interest in Older Men

Disorderly Homes Linked to Low Sexual Interest in Older Men

Older men may find that their sexual interest wanes when their house is messy, dirty, or in need of repairs, new research reveals.

In a study of 955 older, heterosexual couples, about 40% of men in disorderly homes said they had felt less interested in sex during the previous year. For men overall, the rate was about 25%.

These rates were calculated after considering other factors that can contribute to sexual problems, like chronic illnesses.

The University of Toronto researchers based their findings on data from the 2010 U.S. National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (NSHAP). At least one member of each couple was between the ages of 62 and 90. All the couples were either married or living together. NSHAP interviewers talked to each couple and visited the home.

It wasn’t clear why disorderly homes were linked to low sexual interest in these men. However, co-author James Iveniuk, PhD of the Della Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto offered a suggestion.

“An unkempt home may be a stressor that reduces interest in sex, as well as signaling the inappropriateness of one’s home as a place for sexual activity,” he said in a press release.

Co-author Laura Upenieks added that with more seniors staying in their homes longer, “households should be prudent points of intervention for assisting older adults, which could spur wide-ranging benefits within and beyond the bedroom.”

The study was published in May in The Gerontologist.


The Gerontologist

Schafer, Markus H., PhD, et al.

“Putting Sex Into Context in Later Life: Environmental Disorder and Sexual Interest Among Partnered Seniors”

(Abstract. May 10, 2017)

University of Toronto

“Connection found between low sexual interest and household disorder”

(Media release. May 11, 2017)

Women’s Treatment with Oxytocin Could Help Male Partners, Too

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pH-Balanced Vaginal Gel No Better Than Placebo for Sexual Pain

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A Stronger “Sexual Afterglow” Helps Couples Bond for the Long Term

A Stronger “Sexual Afterglow” Helps Couples Bond for the Long Term

Sex is important for pair bonding, but most couples don’t have sex every day. So how do they stay bonded? The “afterglow” might explain.

Scientists describe the sexual afterglow as a period of satisfaction and bonding between partners following sex. New research suggests that this period might last for two days for some couples and could be linked to long-term relationship happiness.

The researchers looked at data studies involving 214 newlywed couples. Each night for two weeks, each partner made a diary entry describing sexual activity and feelings of sexual satisfaction for that day.

Participants also completed assessments of their marital satisfaction at the start of the study and four to six months later.

On average, the couples had sex on four of the fourteen days. The researchers noticed that participants felt more sexually satisfied the day of sex and up to two days after. This result was similar for both men and women and across age groups.

Marital satisfaction generally decreased after a few months. However, the couples that reported the strongest afterglows tended to be happier with their relationships over time.

The findings concur with past studies, making a stronger case for the sexual afterglow.

“This research is important because it joins other research suggesting that sex functions to keep couples bonded,” said lead author Andrea Meltzer of Florida State University in a press release.

The study was published online in March in the journal Psychological Science.



“A 48-hour sexual 'afterglow' helps to bond partners over time”

(Press release. March 20, 2017)

Medical News Today

Whiteman, Honor

“Sex may be key to a happy marriage, study finds”

(March 26, 2017)

Psychological Science

Meltzer, Andrea L., et al.

“Quantifying the Sexual Afterglow: The Lingering Benefits of Sex and Their Implications for Pair-Bonded Relationships”

(Abstract. First published online: March 16, 2017)

ED Drugs Might Improve Sperm Quality, But More Study Needed

ED Drugs Might Improve Sperm Quality, But More Study Needed

A new study in the journal Urology suggests that men who take drugs for erectile dysfunction might develop healthier sperm.

The drugs, called phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors, are more commonly known by their brand names – Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis.

Researchers wanted to know what, if any, effects taking PDE5 inhibitors could have on sperm quality. They reviewed eleven medical studies that included 1,317 men overall.

PDE5 inhibitor use didn’t affect how much semen the men ejaculated or how much sperm was mixed with the semen.

But infertile men who took the drugs tended to have a higher percentage of “morphologically normal” sperm compared those who didn’t. This means that these sperm cells were well-formed, with an oval head and a single, long, straight tail. These characteristics make it easier to fertilize an egg cell.

Infertile men who used PDE5 inhibitors were also more likely to have better motility in their sperm cells. In other words, these cells were good “swimmers,” making them better suited for fertilization.

The results were seen only in infertile men, however. Fertile men’s sperm did not change after PDE5 inhibitor use.

The results are encouraging, but more study is needed before doctors can start recommending PDE5 inhibitors to treat male infertility.


Mayo Clinic

Trost, Landon

“My fiance had a semen analysis that showed he has abnormal sperm morphology. What does this mean?”

(May 20, 2015)

Men’s Health

Sgobba, Christa

“Can Taking Viagra Make Your Sperm Stronger?”

(April 11, 2017)

Renal and Urology News

Charnow, Jody A.

“Oral ED Drugs Found to Benefit Infertile Men”

(April 3, 2017)


Tan, Ping

“The Effect of Oral Phosphodiesterase-5 Inhibitors on Sperm Parameters: A Meta-analysis and Systematic Review”

(Abstract. Published online: March 1, 2017)

“What Are the Characteristics of Healthy Sperm?”

Online Therapy Could Benefit Breast Cancer Survivors

Online Therapy Could Benefit Breast Cancer Survivors

After treatment, breast cancer survivors often struggle with sexual issues, such as low desire, reduced vaginal lubrication, and painful intercourse. But online therapy could help, according to new research.

The study, published in April 2017 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, involved 169 women with an average age of 51. Most had a romantic partner. Eighty-four women were randomly assigned to participate in up to 24 weekly cognitive behavioral therapy sessions, which took place online with a trained therapist. The remaining women put on a waiting list for therapy, but given booklets that explained sexuality after breast cancer. They spoke to a sexologist by phone once during the study.

All the women filled out questionnaires designed to assess their sexual health at the start of the study, at a ten-week follow-up point, and at the study’s conclusion. However, only 62% of the women in the therapy group completed their sessions.

Overall, the women who received online therapy had improved sexual function compared to the waitlisted group, especially in terms of desire, arousal, and lubrication. They also experienced more sexual pleasure, less sexual pain, and decreased sexual distress.

However, there were no differences between the groups in other categories, like health-related quality of life, orgasms, relationship intimacy, and frequency of intercourse.

To learn more about breast cancer and sexual health, please see the following links:

Breast Cancer Drugs & Sexual Problems

Breast Cancer Survivors Face Sexual Concerns

Cancer and Sex for Single Women


Journal of Clinical Oncology

Hummel, Susanna B., et al.

“Efficacy of Internet-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Improving Sexual Functioning of Breast Cancer Survivors: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial”

(April 2017)

Oncology Nurse Advisor

Hoffman, Jason, PharmD, RPh

“Internet-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Beneficial for Improving Sexual Functioning”

(March 1, 2017)

Reuters Health

Rapaport, Lisa

“E-therapy tied to better body image, intimacy for breast cancer survivors”

(March 2, 2017)

What Is It About Sex That Makes People Feel Happy?

What is it about sex that makes people feel happy?

What is it about sex that makes people feel happy?

It’s not necessarily just the physical feelings and sense of release, according to new research. Affectionate touching – kissing, hugging, and cuddling, for example – also contributes to overall well-being.

The study, published in March 2017 in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, involved several separate research projects.

In one, a group of 106 Swiss couples kept a ten-day diary noting when they had sex, when and how they showed affection, and their mood. Couples who had more sex during that time period tended to be happier with their relationships six months later. They also felt more affectionate during the hours after sex.

Another project involved a survey of 335 Americans, who answered questions about their sexual frequency, affectionate touch, and satisfaction with life. A similar survey included 74 people in the San Francisco area. Taken together, the results showed that people who had more sex tended to be happier. But affection contributed much to the respondents’ well-being.

“Our research suggests the important role of nonverbal intimate exchanges—sex and affectionate touch—to maintain well-being,” the authors wrote.

They added that such exchanges could be even more important now, as technology plays a bigger role in communication. (For more perspectives on technology and sexuality, please click here.)


Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin

Debrot, Anik

“More Than Just Sex: Affection Mediates the Association Between Sexual Activity and Well-Being”

(Abstract. First published: March 1, 2017)

Baer, Drake

“Why Frequent Sex Makes for Happier Humans”

(February 27, 2017)

Carroll, Linda

“It's the cuddling, not the sex, that makes you happier”

(March 3, 2017)

Too Much Endurance Exercise Might Not Be Not Good for Male Libido

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How Do Childhood Cancers Affect Adults’ Sexual Health?

How Do Childhood Cancers Affect Adults’ Sexual Health?

For the most part, adult survivors of childhood cancers are satisfied with their sex lives and romantic relationships, according to new research published in Cancer, the journal of the American Cancer Society.

However, those whose treatment targeted their nervous system (such as those with brain tumors) were less likely to have reached “psychosexual milestones” like having intercourse, being in a committed relationship, or having children. 

The researchers surveyed 144 people between the ages of 20 and 40 who were survivors of childhood cancer.  The participants answered questions about their psychosexual development, sexual satisfaction, and relationship satisfaction.  A comparison group of 144 people who had not had cancer also completed the surveys.

Ninety-four survivors had had neurotoxic (toxic to the nervous system) treatments – 36 at low doses and 58 at high doses.  These types of treatments can affect the developing brain, making it more difficult for patients to interact socially and form romantic relationships later on.

Overall, cancer survivors tended to have had fewer partners than the comparison group.  But other than that, the two groups had similar rates of sexual satisfaction and relationship satisfaction.

Those who had received neurotoxic treatments were less likely to have reached psychosexual milestones, but that did not mean they were not satisfied.  The researchers noted that sexual satisfaction was linked to relationship status.

“This highlights the subjective nature of psychosexual issues and the importance of addressing any concerns in survivorship care,” study co-author Dr. Vicky Lehmann of Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio said in a press release.



Lehmann, Vicky, PhD, et al.

“Psychosexual development and satisfaction in long-term survivors of childhood cancer: Neurotoxic treatment intensity as a risk indicator”

(Abstract. First published: February 6, 2017)


Preidt, Robert

“Most Adult Survivors of Childhood Cancers Enjoy Good Sexual Health”

(February 6, 2017)


“Can Childhood Cancer Treatments Affect Survivors’ Sex Lives in Adulthood?”

(Press release. February 6, 2017)

Sexual Distress During Pregnancy

Sexual Distress During Pregnancy

It’s not unusual for women to experience sexual challenges during pregnancy. With the physical changes and the emotions that come with becoming a parent, many pregnant women feel less desire for sex, have trouble with vaginal lubrication, or might not reach orgasm as much as they used to. And for some women, these issues lead to sexual distress.

In fact, a recent Journal of Sexual Medicine study of 261 pregnant women found that 42% felt sexual distress. But feeling sexual distress isn’t quite the same as having a sexual problem. Some women have sexual issues, but don’t feel bothered by them. Others feel negatively about their sex life, expressing guilt, frustration, and worry. It’s also possible to feel sexual distress without having a specific sexual problem.

The researchers also found that women who felt sexual distress also tended to have lower sexual and relationship satisfaction, suggesting that distress can disrupt intimacy between partners and, eventually, cause stress in the relationship.

If you are feeling sexual distress during pregnancy, know that you are not alone. Your doctor might not cover sexuality in depth during your office visits, but the doesn’t mean you can’t bring it up yourself. Be open about how you’re feeling, with your partner and your healthcare provider.

To learn more about pregnancy and sexuality, check out the following articles:

·         Sex During Pregnancy discusses the safety of sexual activity while a woman is expecting.

·         Sexual Functioning of Pregnant Women addresses the adjustments expecting couples may need to make.


The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Vannier, Sarah A. PhD and Natalie O. Rosen, PhD

“Sexual Distress and Sexual Problems During Pregnancy: Associations With Sexual and Relationship Satisfaction”

(Full-text. Published online:  January 28, 2017)

Is Counseling Needed Before Gender Transition?

Is Counseling Needed Before Gender Transition?

For people with gender dysphoria, transitioning from one’s birth gender to their desired gender can be a big step. It can involve hormonal treatment as well as surgery. Some professionals recommend a mental health screening and psychotherapy beforehand as part of the process. But is that really necessary?

The AMA Journal of Ethics discussed the debate in a recent commentary.

On one hand, counseling can help patients better understand the complex procedures and the adjustments that will be needed, even if one has been living as their desired gender for a while. Also, many view gender reassignment surgery as permanent, and patients need to be prepared.

On the other hand, many patients are confident about their decision and see no reason for a mental health professional to intervene or approve the transition. Others feel that the transition can be modified if they change their mind, even if a complete reversal is not possible.

According to the commentary, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) advises mental health screenings and recommends psychotherapy before any body modifications are made. However, such decisions could be made on a case-by-case basis.

It is still important for patients to provide informed consent before any hormonal or surgical procedure is conducted, acknowledging that they understand the procedures, the risks and benefits, consequences, and alternatives, the commentary noted.


AMA Journal of Ethics

Murphy, Timothy F., PhD

“Should Mental Health Screening and Psychotherapy Be Required Prior to Body Modification for Gender Expression?”

(November 2016)

FDA Issues Supplement Warnings

FDA Issues Supplement Warnings

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced recalls for many supplements marketed to men who seek sexual enhancement.

In lab analyses, FDA officials found undeclared ingredients in the following products:

African Viagra

Big Penis

Bl4ck 4K Capsules

Black 3K Plus

Black Mamba 2 Premium


Ginseng for Reinforcing Kidney

Goldreallas Original

Goldreallas XXX

Lang Yi Hao

Old Chinese


Rhino 5 1500 Capsules

Rhino 7K 9000 Male Performance Booster

Rhino 8 Platinum 8000

Rhino 9 Premium 3500


Triple Green Capsules


90° Jiushidu Capsules

All but one of these supplements contain sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra. XtraHRD contains an analogue of tadalafil, the active ingredient in Cialis. However, these ingredients are not listed on product packaging.

Both sildenafil and tadalafil are used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED). But they are not safe for all men. For example, patients who take drugs containing nitrates (such as nitroglycerin) should never take ED drugs because the interaction with nitrates can cause a dangerous drop in blood pressure. Nitrates are often prescribed for people with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease.

Supplements may also contain other undeclared ingredients, which could be harmful.

If you are having sexual difficulties, be sure to see your doctor so that your concerns can be addressed safely.

Your doctor or pharmacist can answer any questions you have about drug and supplement safety. These articles can help as well:

The Dangers of Over-the-Counter Male Enhancement

Dangers of Counterfeit ED Drugs

Risks and Realities of OTC Testosterone Supplements

FDA Warnings on “Natural” Sexual Enhancement Products

ED and Sexual Enhancement Products


“Public Notification: Ginseng for Reinforcing Kidney Contains Hidden Drug Ingredient”

(February 3, 2017)

“Public Notification: Goldreallas Original Contains Hidden Drug Ingredient”

(February 3, 2017)

“Public Notification: Goldreallas XXX Contains Hidden Drug Ingredient”

(February 2, 2017)

“Public Notification: Old Chinese Contains Hidden Drug Ingredient”

(February 2, 2017)

“Public Notification: Shenjingpian Contains Hidden Drug Ingredient”’

(February 2, 2017)

“Public Notification: XtraHRD Contains Hidden Drug Ingredient”

(January 26, 2017)

Urology Place

“FDA Announces New Supplement Recall”

(January 17, 2017)

How Might Personality Affect Sexual Function?

How Might Personality Affect Sexual Function?

Many factors can contribute to sexual dysfunction, from medical conditions like diabetes to psychological issues like depression and anxiety. Often, there is more than one factor at play. But how might personality and behaviors fit in?

Recently, researchers examined how sexual sensation seeking (SSS) and sexual compulsivity (SC) are involved. SSS refers to a person’s need to seek new sexual experiences and the risks he or she will take to attain them. People with SC find it difficult to control their sexual urges and might be more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors.

Two hundred seventy-nine people (almost 70% women) with an average age of 32 participated in the study. They completed several online questionnaires about SSS, SC, their personal sexual function, and their gender identity (how they experience their gender regardless of their biological sex).

The researchers found a link between SSS and SC for both men and women. Men had higher levels of both factors than women did and these levels stayed consistent throughout their lives. As women got older, their levels tended to decline.

For women, higher levels of SSS were linked to better sexual function, but high levels of SC had the opposite effect.

Gender identity did not appear to influence women’s SSS and SC as much as it did for men.

More research is needed to learn more about these connections, the researchers noted.

The study was published online in December in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.


The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Burri, Andrea, DrSc

“Sexual Sensation Seeking, Sexual Compulsivity, and Gender Identity and Its Relationship With Sexual Functioning in a Population Sample of Men and Women”

(Full-text. Published online: December 6, 2016)

Studies Suggest Link Between ED and Gum Disease

Studies Suggest Link Between ED and Gum Disease

Men with chronic gum disease (periodontitis) are more than twice as likely to have erectile dysfunction (ED) than men with healthy gums, according to a recent study in the International Journal of Impotence Research.

The finding is based on a review of five medical studies published between 2009 and 2014. Overall, the studies included data from over 213,000 men who ranged in age from 20 to 80.

The researchers weren’t sure exactly why the two conditions are associated. However, a 2012 study suggested that gum disease could be linked to blood vessel damage, even in the penis. Good blood flow to the penis is essential for a firm erection. Many men develop ED because of blocked blood vessels.

Gum disease happens gradually. Every day, bacteria and other substances cause plaque and tartar to form on the teeth. If teeth aren’t cleaned regularly, gingivitis can develop. This is a milder form of gum disease, an inflammation of the gums.

Left untreated, gingivitis progresses to periodontitis, a more severe form of gum disease. When this happens, the gums pull away from the teeth and infection spreads. Eventually, the bone and other tissue that keep the teeth in place break down. Some people with periodontitis lose the affected teeth.

Fortunately, periodontitis can be prevented with proper dental care, including routine brushing and flossing and regular visits to a dentist. People who smoke should consider quitting, as smoking is one of the biggest risk factors for gum disease.


International Journal of Impotence Research

Liu, L. H., et al.

“Chronic periodontitis and the risk of erectile dysfunction: a systematic review and meta-analysis”

(Abstract. November 10, 2016)

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research

“Periodontal (Gum) Disease: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments”

(September 2013)

Reuters Health

Doyle, Kathryn

“Chronic gum disease tied to risk of erectile dysfunction”

(November 25, 2016)

“Gum Disease and Erectile Dysfunction (ED)”

(April 24, 2013)

Smoking Can Lead to Erectile Dysfunction

Smoking Can Lead to Erectile Dysfunction

Most of us know that smoking is bad for our health. Smoking has been shown to raise the risk of cancer, lung disease, stroke, rheumatoid arthritis, and many other illnesses.

What many people don’t realize, however, is that smoking can interfere with sexual function as well. For men, smoking can cause erectile dysfunction (ED). In fact, almost three years ago, the acting U.S. Surgeon General added ED to the list of medical conditions caused by smoking.

How are smoking and ED connected? Recently, a team of researchers analyzed eighty-three medical studies to learn more. They published their findings in the journal Sexual Medicine Reviews.

They found “substantial evidence” that smoking is a risk factor for ED. And the more men smoke – in terms of number of cigarettes and number of years – the higher that risk becomes.

Smoking can damage blood vessels, including those in the penis. Blood flow is essential for erections, so any blockage will result in a weak erection or no erection at all. Smoking can also lead to cellular changes in penile tissue.

Other diseases commonly linked to smoking, including heart disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis, can impair erections as well.

What can smokers do? The answer is simple – quit! Some men find that their erections improve once they stop smoking.

We know this is easier said than done, however. If you smoke, talk to your doctor about quitting strategies. Ask your family, friends, and partner for their support as well. You can find more tips here.


Sexual Medicine Reviews

Biebel, Mark G., MD, et al.

“Male Sexual Function and Smoking”

(Full-text. Published online: June 2, 2016)

Birth Control Pills Can Have Sexual Side Effects

Birth Control Pills Can Have Sexual Side Effects

Birth control pills – also known as oral contraceptives – are an effective, convenient method for preventing pregnancy. But for some women, “the pill” can have sexual side effects.

Oral contraceptives use hormones that alter a woman’s menstrual cycle, usually by preventing ovulation (the release of an egg). These hormones may make it more difficult for sperm cells to travel past the cervix. If an egg does become fertilized, the hormones can change the lining of the uterus so that an embryo is less likely to develop.

Decreased sexual desire and problems with arousal are two of the most common sexual side effects of birth control pills. Women may experience vaginal dryness, which often leads to painful intercourse. They may have orgasms less often or find that their orgasms aren’t as intense as they used to be.

If you’re having sexual problems that you think might be linked to the pill, talk to your gynecologist. Oral contraceptives come in different formulations, and sometimes changing the pill type resolves the issue. If it doesn’t, you might consider using other forms of contraception, such as condoms or an IUD. If vaginal dryness is bothersome, using a lubricant can help.

Keep in mind that other factors can contribute to sexual problems, too. Medical conditions like diabetes, along with fatigue, stress, depression, anxiety, and relationship difficulties can all be involved, so it’s important to consider all possibilities and have a thorough checkup with a doctor.


Go Ask Alice! – Columbia University

“How do birth control pills work?”

International Society for Sexual Medicine

“What are some common sexual side effects of oral contraceptives (birth control pills)?”

“What should a woman do if she thinks oral contraceptives are causing sexual problems?”

Sexual Medicine Reviews

Lee, Jean-Jasmin M.L., MBBS, et al.

“Oral Contraception and Female Sexual Dysfunction in Reproductive Women”

(Full-text. Published online: June 30, 2016)


“Birth Control Pills”

(Reviewed: August 12, 2016)

COPD and ED are Linked

COPD and ED are Linked

Men with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are at higher risk for erectile dysfunction (ED) than men without COPD.

COPD is an illness that affects the lungs and makes it difficult to breathe. The two main types are chronic bronchitis and emphysema. People with COPD may experience shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, and fatigue.

Experts have reported strong associations between COPD and ED. Often, men with severe cases of COPD have severe ED as well.

Why might men with COPD develop ED? There are a few possible reasons.

As COPD progresses, blood oxygen levels often decrease. When this happens, there is less oxygen for blood to deliver around the body. As a result, the body prioritizes oxygen delivery, sending more oxygen to vital organs, like the heart. Oxygen is important for erections, too, but if levels are low, less oxygen will be delivered to the penis.

Depression and anxiety may also be involved. In addition to physical difficulties, COPD can take its toll on a man’s psychological well-being. He may feel less confident about his sexual function and the anxiety may lead to ED.

Fortunately, there are ways men with COPD can improve their erections. Some use supplemental oxygen during sex or make other adjustments. Communication with a partner or counseling with a therapist can often help with depression and anxiety. And maintaining a healthy lifestyle with a proper diet and fitness plan can also have benefits, although a man should always discuss any dietary and exercise changes with his doctor.

Keep in mind that ED can be treated as well. Pills, injections, and vacuum devices are all possible options. A man’s doctor can help him decide which avenues to explore.


Archives of Italian Urology and Andrology

Lauretti, Stefano, et al.

“Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and erectile dysfunction (ED): Results of the BRED observational study”

(Full-text. Published online: October 5, 2016)

Bottrell, John

“Understanding Oxygen and Oxygen Levels With COPD”

(April 3, 2015)

International Society for Sexual Medicine

“Is there a link between COPD and erectile dysfunction (ED)?”


“Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease”

(Reviewed: June 22, 2015)

Multidisciplinary Respiratory Medicine

Kahraman, Hasan, et al.

“Erectile dysfunction and sex hormone changes in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients”

(Full-text. Published: October 9, 2013)

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

“What Is COPD?”

(Updated: July 31, 2013)

Cancer Patients and Doctors Don’t Always Discuss Sexual Health

Cancer Patients and Doctors Don’t Always Discuss Sexual Health

Cancer and its treatment can lead to a number of sexual problems, such as erectile dysfunction (ED) for men and painful intercourse for women. And sexual issues can occur even if the cancer does not affect an area of the body typically associated with sex.

Unfortunately, sexual health is not always a discussion topic between healthcare providers and cancer patients.

In a recent survey of 4,181 cancer patients in France, about 55% of respondents said that nobody on their healthcare team had initiated such a discussion.

The participants were surveyed about two years since their cancer diagnosis. They ranged in age from 18 to 82 years old. Forty-eight percent were men; 52% were women.

Just under a quarter of the respondents said they had talked about sexual health with a doctor. Twenty-two percent said they did not wish to discuss it. Patients showed a greater reluctance to talk about it as they got older.

Conversations about sexual health were more common for patients with prostate and cervical cancer.

Overall, women were less likely than men to have a sexual health discussion with their doctor, but were more likely initiate the discussion themselves.

The study was published online in September 2016 in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

If you or your partner are experiencing sexual issues due to cancer, don’t hesitate to talk to your healthcare provider. Most likely, there are ways to manage your symptoms so that you can enjoy intimacy again.

The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Charif, Ali Ben, PhD, et al.

“Patient Discussion About Sexual Health With Health Care Providers After Cancer—A National Survey”

(Full-text. First published online: September 26, 2016)

Light Therapy Might Boost Testosterone and Sexual Satisfaction in Men

Light Therapy Might Boost Testosterone and Sexual Satisfaction in Men

Sitting by a light box might increase a man’s testosterone levels and, in turn, his sexual satisfaction, according to new research.

Past research suggests that sexual interest can wax and wane with the passing of seasons. A group of Italian scientists wondered whether light therapy may help.

They worked with 38 men who were being treated for disorders related to sexual interest and desire. For two weeks, half of the men sat by a lightbox for a half hour each morning. The lightboxes were similar to the kind used to treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – depressed feelings that occur when people have less light exposure.  

The rest of the men also sat by a lightbox daily for two weeks, but their device emitted much less light.

The scientists discovered that the men who received active light treatment saw their testosterone levels increase and their sexual satisfaction improve.

It was unclear why the therapy worked, but the researchers theorized that the light inhibited the pineal gland, thus increasing testosterone production and triggering other hormonal processes.

Still, it is too early to recommend light therapy for men with low testosterone or low sexual interest. More research is needed, the scientists noted.

“However if this treatment can be shown to work in a larger study, then light therapy may offer a way forward. It's a small study, so for the moment we need to treat it with appropriate caution," they wrote.

The findings were presented in September at a meeting of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) in Vienna.


European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP)

“Light therapy as a treatment for sexual dysfunction; focus on testosterone levels”

(Abstract presented at 2016 ECNP Conference in Vienna. Presentation P.4.b.010. September 19, 2016)

“Study shows lack of interest in sex successfully treated by exposure to bright light”

(Press release. September 19, 2016)

Younger Women May Have Sexual Problems After Heart Attack

Younger Women May Have Sexual Problems After Heart Attack

In the first year after a heart attack, younger women tend to have more sexual problems than men do, according to scientists from the University of Chicago.

Their study, published in August in JAMA Cardiology, involved data from the Variation in Recovery: Role of Gender on Outcomes of Young AMI Patients (VIRGO) study. (AMI stands for acute myocardial infarction, the medical term for heart attack.) Participants were between the ages of 18 and 55 and were treated in hospitals in the United States and Spain.

The researchers examined the interview results of 2,802 people, who were assessed at the start of the study and again one month and one year later. Roughly two-thirds of the participants were women.

They found that 60% of the women and 45% of men who were sexually active before their heart attack reported sexual problems during the year that followed it.

For women, the most common issues were low sexual interest, problems with vaginal lubrication, and trouble with breathing.

For men, erectile dysfunction, low libido, and sexual performance anxiety were the most common complaints.

The study authors noted that women are less likely than men to receive counseling from a doctor about sexual activity after a heart attack.

If you or your partner have had a heart attack, be sure to talk to your cardiologist about resuming sexual activity. While sex is usually safe for most heart patients, it’s important to check with your doctor first. Don’t hesitate to raise the subject yourself if your doctor doesn’t.


JAMA Cardiology

Lindau, Stacy Tessler, MD, MAPP, et al.

“Sexual Activity and Function in the Year After an Acute Myocardial Infarction Among Younger Women and Men in the United States and Spain”

(Abstract. August 31, 2016)


Medical News Today

Nichols, Hannah

“Sexual problems more common among young women after heart attack”

(September 1, 2016)

New Parents’ Sexual Concerns Could Affect Relationship

New Parents’ Sexual Concerns Could Affect Relationship

New parents have a number of adjustments to make when their bundle of joy arrives, including sexual ones. But which sexual concerns are the most common? And how might they affect a couple’s relationship?

Researchers from Dalhousie University in Canada investigated those questions in a recent Journal of Sexual Medicine study.

The research team surveyed 239 new parent couples whose baby was between three and twelve months old. Each partner completed the survey separately.

Most parents had concerns about frequency of intercourse, sleep deprivation, and the effects of breastfeeding. Physical recovery from childbirth, changes in body image, mood swings, and childrearing duties were also on the parents’ minds. Fathers tended to be more concerned about mismatches in sexual desire.

The study authors explained that sexual concerns can take their toll on new parents’ relationships.

“Having a large number of postpartum sexual concerns and feeling distressed by them could contribute to feelings of being overloaded and isolated and could interfere with dyadic coping (i.e. working together as a couple) during this time,” they wrote.

They added that decreased intimacy could lead to lower relationship satisfaction.

If you’re a new parent, don’t hesitate to discuss any sexual concerns with your doctor. And while it may be easier said than done, try to take time out for just you and your partner. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, even if it’s just asking a relative for a night of babysitting. Keeping your relationship a priority can make you a stronger couple and foster intimacy.


The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Schlagintweit, Hera E., BA, et al.

“A New Baby in the Bedroom: Frequency and Severity of Postpartum Sexual Concerns and Their Associations With Relationship Satisfaction in New Parent Couples”

(Full-text. Published online: August 31, 2016)

Some Millennials Less Likely to be Sexually Active Than Generation X

Some Millennials Less Likely to be Sexually Active Than Generation X

American millennials seem to be having less sex than their Generation X counterparts did at the same age.

A recent study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior revealed that while most millennials are sexually active, 15% of those aged 20 to 24 (born between 1990 and 1994 at the time of the study) had had no sexual partners after age 18.

In contrast, 6% of a Generation X subgroup (born between 1965 and 1969) fell into this category.

Data were collected in a survey of 26,707 U.S. adults, which included both millennials and Generation Xers.

However, the findings apply more to women than to men. Also, they did not apply to college-educated and black respondents.

The results run counter to what many see as a “hookup culture” among millennials.

“Online dating apps should, in theory, help millennials find sexual partners more easily,” said lead author Dr. Jean M. Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University, in a press release. “However, technology may have the opposite effect if young people are spending so much time online that they interact less in person, and thus don’t have sex.”

Other factors might contribute to the decline. Men and women are marrying later. Pornography and online entertainment can be easily accessed by millennials, which was not the case for Generation X at that age. Also, more millennials are living with their parents, which may limit opportunities for sexual encounters.

Personal safety and sexual assault are also on the minds of millennials.

“This is a very risk-averse generation, and that attitude may be influencing their sexual choices,” Dr. Twenge said.


Archives of Sexual Behavior

Twenge, Jean M., et al.

“Sexual Inactivity During Young Adulthood Is More Common Among U.S. Millennials and iGen: Age, Period, and Cohort Effects on Having No Sexual Partners After Age 18”

(Abstract. First published online: August 1, 2016)


The New York Times

Bromwich, Jonah Engel

“Some Millennials Are Not Having Sex. But a Vast Majority Are.”

(August 4, 2016)


San Diego State University

Price, Michael

“Millennials Less Sexually Active than Gen-X Peers”

(August 2, 2016)

Types of Contraceptives May Influence Sexual Desire

Types of Contraceptives May Influence Sexual Desire

Birth control methods vary widely and work in different ways. Some, such as birth control pills and vaginal rings, involve hormones to prevent pregnancy. Others, like condoms and diaphragms, form a barrier so that sperm cannot travel past the cervix.

All approaches have their advantages and disadvantages. When considering hormonal contraceptives, some women worry about sexual side effects, like low desire and problems with arousal.

In a recent Journal of Sexual Medicine study, American researchers took a closer look at how hormonal contraceptives affect sexual desire.

They conducted two separate studies. The first included 349 women and 160 men whose partners used contraceptives. The second involved 203 couples and focused on contraceptives, desire, and long-term relationships.

The researchers found that contraceptive type did play a role in women’s desire for both solo and partnered sex. Women who used non-hormonal contraceptives felt more desire for solo sex. Women who took birth control pills felt more desire for partnered sex when compared to those who used non-hormonal methods. Contraceptive type did not seem to affect sexual desire in the men.

When considering long-term relationships, the scientists discovered that couples had sex less frequently and felt less desire as they got older and as their relationship length increased, no matter what kind of birth control they used.  

More research is needed, however. Many other factors, including health status and relationship issues can also lower libido.

If you or your partner have questions about contraception or low desire, be sure to talk to a doctor. He or she can help determine which method of birth control is right for you.


The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Mark, Kristen P., PhD, MPH, et al.

“Impact of Contraceptive Type on Sexual Desire of Women and of Men Partnered to Contraceptive Users”

(Full-text. Published online: July 22, 2016)

Benevolent Sexism and Female Orgasm

Women’s orgasms might be influenced by a type of sexism called “benevolent sexism,” suggests a recent study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior.

Researchers from the University of Queensland in Australia found that women who accepted benevolent sexism were more likely to see male partners as sexually selfish. In turn, these women would be less likely to ask their partners to pleasure them, leading to fewer orgasms.

According to the study, benevolent sexism doesn’t directly cause a woman to have fewer orgasms, but it starts a chain of events that might lead to less sexual satisfaction.

What is benevolent sexism? It’s difficult to define. To understand, it may help to contrast it with another type: hostile sexism. The latter refers to the blatant disparaging of women. For example, someone who says, “Women aren’t smart enough to be leaders,” would be exhibiting hostile sexism.

Benevolent sexism is hidden in comments and situations that on the surface seem complimentary. An example might be the assumption that a mother (not a father) should stay home from work to care for a sick child, if women are considered better suited for caregiving.

A woman with a benevolent sexist view may feel that sexual pleasure is meant only for the man and that providing it is her duty – and her priority. With this “transactional” mindset, she might not feel that her own pleasure is important and be less likely to tell her partner what feels good to her.

Women who feel sexism is interfering with their sexual relationships might consider bringing this up with their partner, who many not realize what is happening. In addition, a counselor or sex therapist may help couples work through issues like benevolent sexism.


Archives of Sexual Behavior

Harris, Emily Anne, et al.

“On the Link Between Benevolent Sexism and Orgasm Frequency in Heterosexual Women”

(Abstract. First published online: June 15, 2016)

Weiss, Suzannah

“7 Examples Of Benevolent Sexism That Are Just As Harmful As Hostile Sexism”

(December 22, 2015)

Huffington Post

Pittman, Taylor

“How Internalized Sexism In The Bedroom Could Affect Women’s Orgasms”

(July 14, 2016)

Coulehan, Erin

“Sexism is literally ruining women’s sex lives”

(July 11, 2016)

Scientific American

Tannenbaum, Melanie

“The Problem When Sexism Just Sounds So Darn Friendly...”

(April 2, 2013)

Soft Drinks Might Be Linked to Erectile Dysfunction

Soft Drinks Might Be Linked to Erectile Dysfunction

Men might want to think twice before opening that can of soda.

Studies have shown a possible connection between drinking soft drinks and erectile dysfunction (ED).

Actually, the ingredients in soft drinks are the problem. While sweet, carbonated beverages can taste delicious, the excess sugar and calories aren’t good for the body. They can contribute to metabolic syndrome, an overall condition that includes high blood sugar, high blood pressure, obesity, low HDL (“good”) cholesterol, and high triglycerides. Eventually, metabolic syndrome can lead to diabetes.

The components of metabolic syndrome can interfere with erections. For example, high blood sugar can make it difficult for the brain and penis to communicate with each other. This is important when a man is sexually stimulated, as the brain needs to send a message to the penis, “telling” it to start an erection.

High blood pressure can cause plaque to build up on artery walls, limiting blood flow to the penis, which is necessary for a firm erection. And obesity can lower a man’s testosterone, an essential hormone for erections.

The good news is that men can reduce their risk of metabolic syndrome by following a sensible diet, one low in sugar and calories. Healthy eating isn’t just good for a man’s sex life; it benefits his entire well-being.

If you have questions about your diet, be sure to talk to your doctor. He or she can help you make wise dietary choices and develop a fitness plan if you need to lose some extra pounds.

It’s also important to note that some experts believe diet soft drinks should be consumed with caution and should not be considered substitutes for the non-diet varieties.

For more information on metabolic syndrome and a man’s sexual health, please see the following links:

Body Weight and Sexual Health

High Blood Pressure and Sexual Problems

Metabolic Syndrome More than Doubles ED Risk

Neuropathy a Common Cause of ED

What Causes Low Testosterone?


Central European Journal of Urology via PMC

Adamowicz, Jan and Tomasz Drewa

“Is there a link between soft drinks and erectile dysfunction?”

(Full-text. Published online: September 6, 2011)

University of Rochester Medical Center

“Metabolic Syndrome and Soft Drink Consumption”

Sexual Problems are Common in People with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Sexual Problems are Common in People with Rheumatoid Arthritis

It’s not unusual for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) to have sexual problems.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease. This means that the body’s own immune system attacks healthy cells. As a result, inflammation can build in the joints, particularly in the hands, feet, wrists, ankles, and elbows. People with RA experience pain and, in some cases, irreversible joint damage.

Some of the more common sexual issues facing people with RA include low sex drive, pain during intercourse, orgasm difficulties, and premature ejaculation. Many patients do not feel satisfied with their sex life.

In June 2016, Dr. Pedro Santos-Moreno of the Biomab Centre for Rheumatoid Arthritis in Columbia presented the study’s findings at the European League Against Rheumatism Annual Congress.

The goal of this research project was to learn more about the factors that contributed to the prevalence and worsening of sexual problems in people with RA.

Almost 1,300 people – 80% of them women – participated. The group’s average age was 55 years.

The study named a number of factors that could contribute to sexual dysfunction in people with RA. These included infidelity, insecurity in a sexual role, and changes in a couple’s relationship. Image changes, anxiety, and loss of attraction were also mentioned.

The researchers also noted that 40% of women and almost a third of the men were not sexually active.

Please click here to learn more about rheumatoid arthritis and sexuality.


American College of Rheumatology

Ruderman, Eric, MD, and Siddharth Tambar, MD

“Rheumatoid Arthritis”

(Updated: August 2013)

Arthritis Foundation

“What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?”

EULAR Press Office

“One-third of RA patients experience sexual dysfunction”

(Video presentation posted June 10, 2016)

European League Against Rheumatism

“One-third of Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients Experience Sexual Dysfunction”

(Press release. June 10, 2016)

Erectile Dysfunction and Osteoporosis

Erectile Dysfunction and Osteoporosis

Men with erectile dysfunction (ED) might want to think about being screened for osteoporosis.

Recently, scientists from Taiwan reported that men with ED were about three times more likely to develop osteoporosis than those who have no trouble with erections.

Osteoporosis is a bone disorder caused by decreased bone density. It makes bones more fragile and more likely to break.

For this study, the researchers analyzed data from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database. They identified 4,460 men age 40 and older who were diagnosed with ED between 1996 and 2010. (The men‘s average age was 58 years).

Then, the scientists compared the records to those of 17,480 men without ED who were around the same age.

Overall, 5.92% of the patients with ED eventually developed osteoporosis, compared to 3.65% of the men without ED.

Why was osteoporosis more common in men with ED? The researchers weren’t sure, but offered several possible explanations. They noted that more study is needed to learn more about the connection. However, one theory involves low testosterone, an important hormone for men.

While not discussed in the study, some experts believe testosterone and osteoporosis are linked. Men’s bodies produce testosterone, some of which is naturally converted to estrogen, a hormone that helps maintain bone health. If a man has low levels of testosterone, there is less hormone to convert to estrogen, leading to weaker bones. Low testosterone can impair erections, too, so it’s possible that ED and osteoporosis could be linked in this way.

Men who are concerned about ED, testosterone, or osteoporosis should see their doctor for a complete checkup.

(Note: Last spring, research suggested that hip fractures are more common in men with ED.)



Wu, Chieh-Hsin MD, et al.

“Increased risk of osteoporosis in patients with erectile dysfunction: A nationwide population-based cohort study”

(Full-text. June 2016)

National Osteoporosis Foundation

“What is Osteoporosis and What Causes It?”

“Low Testosterone and Osteoporosis”

Study Examines Effects of Discrimination for People with Gender Dysphoria

Study Examines Effects of Discrimination, Social Support for People with Gender Dysphoria

Healthcare providers should address discrimination and lack of social support for their patients with gender dysphoria, Turkish scientists say.

Their study, published online in May in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, found that these factors affect patients’ quality of life.

People with gender dysphoria don’t identify with the gender of their birth. Instead, they feel that the opposite gender is more appropriate for them. Many decide to live as the opposite gender and adopt dress and other behaviors accordingly. Others decide to undergo hormonal treatment and/or gender reassignment surgery.

Unfortunately, discrimination against people with gender dysphoria is common. They may be passed over for jobs, turned down for housing, or humiliated on the street. Such experiences can lead to great psychological distress.

In the Turkish study, researchers surveyed 94 patients with gender dysphoria (average age 26 years) who attended an adult psychiatry clinic. The participants answered questions about their experiences with gender dysphoria and the physical, psychological, environmental, and social aspects of their lives.

Discrimination was associated with a lower quality of life. Those who felt support from their family and friends tended to feel better about their lives.

“These findings emphasize the necessity of addressing perceived personal discrimination by mental health professionals in clinical work with [gender dysphoria patients],” the study authors wrote.

“Mental health professionals and organizations should have the power and means to participate in this anti-stigma movement,” they added.

Addressing the stress of discrimination and building support networks of should be encouraged, they noted.


The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Başar, Koray, MD, et al.

“Perceived Discrimination, Social Support, and Quality of Life in Gender Dysphoria”

(Full-text. Published online: May 24, 2016)

Mothers’ Stress Could Reduce Couples’ Sexual Satisfaction

Mothers’ Stress Could Reduce Couples’ Sexual Satisfaction

A new mother’s stress could affect the sexual satisfaction of both parents, according a new study from Penn State researchers.

The team worked with 169 new parents who answered questions about their stress levels six months after the birth of their baby. Six months later, they provided information about their sexual satisfaction.

Overall, the couples were only “somewhat satisfied” with their sex lives. The stress of parenting was related to lower sexual satisfaction for mothers than for fathers. When mothers were more stressed, their partners reported less satisfaction. However, the reverse was not true. Fathers’ parenting stress did not seem to affect the mothers’ sexual satisfaction.

In an interview with PennState News, doctoral student and researcher Chelom E. Leavitt explained that new mothers tend to play a larger role in taking care of a newborn. They may also feel pressure to be the “perfect mother.”

"When new moms feel fatigued by the added responsibilities of parenting, they may feel less sexual. The sexual relationship is interdependent, so when a mom feels greater stress due to parenting, not only is her sexual satisfaction diminished, the dad's sexual satisfaction is also affected," Levitt said.

What can new parents do?

Being open about stress is the first step. Taking care of a new baby is often overwhelming, but new parents may feel reluctant to seek help. Asking relatives, friends, and neighbors for a hand with babysitting or day-to-day chores can go a long way to relieve some pressure and give new parents time for themselves as a couple.

The study was published online in April in the journal Sex Roles.


PennState News

Indivero, Victoria M.

“Mothers' parenting stress impacts both parents' sexual satisfaction”

(May 26, 2016)

Sex Roles

Chelom E. Leavitt, et al.

“Parenting Stress and Sexual Satisfaction Among First-Time Parents: A Dyadic Approach”

(Abstract. Published online: April 12, 2016)

Veterans with PTSD More Likely to Have Sexual Dysfunction

Veterans with PTSD More Likely to Have Sexual DysfunctionE

It’s not unusual for men and women returning from war to experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – ongoing feelings of stress and anxiety that occur after a traumatic or frightening event. Recently, a team of experts from the United States studied the sexual health of veterans with PTSD.

The project included 1,581 male and female veterans who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan. All were participants in a study called the Veterans After-Discharge Longitudinal Registry (Project VALOR). Nine hundred eighty-seven had PTSD and 594 did not.

Based on the veterans’ responses to online questionnaires, the researchers found that those with PTSD were more likely to be diagnosed or treated for a sexual problem than those without the condition.

Over 70% of the men – with and without PTSD – reported being sexually active during the previous three months. But the situation was different for women. Only 59% of women with PTSD were sexually active during that time, compared to 72% of women without PTSD.

PTSD seemed to affect sexual satisfaction. Only 28% of men and 23% of the women with PTSD said they were satisfied with their sex lives. For both men and women without PTSD, the figure was 46%.

Other factors, such as medications, can affect a person’s sexual health, and in this study, the link between PTSD and sexual dysfunction became less clear cut when such factors were accounted for. However, the lower rates of sexual satisfaction suggested that veterans with PTSD could have overall sexual health issues that need medical attention.

The study was first published online in April in the Journal of Traumatic Stress.


Journal of Traumatic Stress

Breyer, Benjamin N., et al.

“Sexual Health in Male and Female Iraq and Afghanistan U. S. War Veterans With and Without PTSD: Findings From the VALOR Cohort”

(Abstract. Published online: April 26, 2016)

Medical Daily

Cara, Ed

“Veterans With PTSD More Likely To Report Dissatisfaction With Sex Life, Women Often Have Less Sex”

(June 7, 2016)

National Institute of Mental Health

“Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder”

(February 2016)


“PTSD May Negatively Affect Sex Life Satisfaction in Male and Female Veterans”

(Press release. June 3, 2016)

Acupuncture Could Help Women with Low Sexual Desire

Acupuncture Could Help Women with Low Sexual Desire

Past research has shown that acupuncture might relieve sexual problems for some women. Now, a new study in Sexual Medicine, suggests that women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) could benefit from this ancient Chinese practice as well.

The goal of acupuncture is to restore the balance of energy in the body. To do this, an acupuncturist inserts thin sterile needles into the skin and “manipulates” them through movement, heat, or electric impulses.

HSDD refers to low sexual interest that can’t be explained by a medical condition, like diabetes or depression. It causes women great distress and can be frustrating for couples.

Acupuncture is used to treat a variety of conditions, including arthritis and migraines. Researchers from the United States wondered whether it could help women with HSDD, too.

For the study, fifteen sexually-active women with an average age of 40 years underwent five weeks of acupuncture treatment. All of the women had HSDD. Treatment sessions lasted 25 minutes each and took place twice a week.

Before the treatment period, each woman completed a series of questionnaires about her sexual function, levels of distress, anxiety, and quality of life. Thirteen women finished the program and answered the same questions a week after treatment.

The researchers found that overall, the women felt more sexual desire. They also had improvements in other areas of sexual function, including arousal, vaginal lubrication, and orgasm.

If you’ve lost interest in sex, be sure to see your doctor. A woman’s libido can have its ups and downs depending on her lifestyle and her health, so a medical checkup is the first step. You can also ask your doctor if acupuncture is right for you.


Sexual Medicine

Oakley, Susan H., MD, FACOG, et al.

“Acupuncture in Premenopausal Women With Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder: A Prospective Cohort Pilot Study”

(Article in press. Published online: March 29, 2016)

Sexual Medicine Society of North America

“Acupuncture and Female Sexual Dysfunction”

High Testosterone Associated with Poor Pillow Talk

High Testosterone Associated with Poor Pillow Talk

Lots of couples enjoy some pillow talk after sex. This relaxed time after physical intimacy allows for emotional bonding, expressions of affection, and sometimes, the sharing of secrets. Often, pillow talk contributes to a satisfying relationship.

However, a new study by American researchers suggests that not everyone is cut out for pillow talk. In fact, people with higher testosterone levels aren’t always open to it.

Two hundred fifty-three people (78% women) with an average age of 21 years participated in the study. Each participant provided a saliva sample, which the researchers used to measure testosterone levels. For the next two weeks, the participants kept an online diary of their sexual activities, their post-sex conversations, and their feelings about these experiences.

The researchers found that participants with higher testosterone levels felt “less positive” about pillow talk and more reluctant to disclose their feelings. Pillow talk felt risky to them.

Orgasm played a role as well. Participants who had higher testosterone levels but did not reach orgasm had more negative disclosures after sex, the researchers explained.

“This finding suggests that high testosterone/no orgasm individuals may be the least likely to experience the beneficial effects of post sex communication,” they wrote.

The study was first published online in March in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.


Daily Mail

Freeman, Sophie

“Why macho men are so bad at pillow talk: Higher testosterone levels send them off to sleep after sex”

(April 4, 2016)

Journal of Social and Personal Relationships

Denes, Amanda, et al.

“Physiology and pillow talk: Relations between testosterone and communication post sex”

(Abstract. Published online: March 4, 2016)

UConn Today

Denes, Amanda

“The Science of Pillow Talk”

(December 27, 2013)

Masturbation and Guilt Linked to Psychological Distress in Men


Feeling guilt after masturbation is “a relevant health issue” for men, according to a recent study in the journal Sexual Medicine.

Masturbation is a normal, healthy way to express sexuality. But for many people, pleasuring oneself sexually leads to feelings of embarrassment and shame. Some cultures consider masturbation to be taboo.

Recently, Italian researchers found that men who feel guilt after masturbation are more likely to have psychological issues.

They studied 4,211 men who were being treated at a sexual medicine clinic. Each participant underwent a physical exam and answered questions about his masturbation habits and feelings about masturbation.

About 8% of the men reported feeling guilty after they masturbated. Members of this group were generally younger than those who didn’t experience guilt, with average ages of 48 and 51 years, respectively.

Guilt from masturbation was associated with depression, anxiety, and general psychological distress. Those who felt guilt tended to have more sexual problems and more relationship conflicts with their partner. They also had higher rates of alcohol use when compared to men who did not feel guilt.

The researchers noted that their study subjects were already seeking a doctor’s help for sexual problems, so these results might not necessarily apply to men in general. In addition, they were not certain why guilt after masturbation was connected to psychological distress, but further research may provide some clues.

Men who are struggling with guilt – or any negative feelings – about their sexuality, are encouraged to talk to their doctor or a therapist.


Sexual Medicine

Castellini, Giovanni, PhD, MD, et al.

“Psychological, Relational, and Biological Correlates of Ego-Dystonic Masturbation in a Clinical Setting”

(Article in press. Published online: April 1, 2016)

Do Homophobes Experience Same-Sex Attraction?

Do Homophobes Experience Same-Sex Attraction?

Are people with homophobia actually attracted to the same sex, but in denial about it? Past research has had mixed results, but a new study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine adds a new perspective.

Homophobia encompasses a variety of negative feelings toward homosexuals. Such feelings might include fear, disgust, or hatred. Homophobic people often discriminate against gays and lesbians and, in severe cases, act violently toward them.

A previous study suggested that homophobic men could be unconsciously attracted to other men. But measuring that attraction can be difficult.


What do men's eye movements tell us about same-sex attraction and homophobia? (Click to tweet)


In this study, the researchers measured men’s eye movements to learn more about same-sex attraction.

Thirty-eight men with an average age of 22 years participated in the study. First, the researchers assessed the men’s levels of homophobia.

Next, the men performed a picture-viewing task involving 20 images. Ten images depicted heterosexual couples; the remaining ten showed homosexual men. The participants were asked to rate the pictures based on how pleasant the images were.

The scientists measured how long the men focused on the people depicted in each image.

Men who were more homophobic tended to look longer at the homosexual images. However, this occurred only when the men had “impulsive approach tendencies toward homosexual stimuli (IAHS).” In other words, the men kept their eyes on the homosexual photos longer if they had an impulsive same-sex attraction.

The study authors explained that using eye movements could help researchers understand why some homophobic men are drawn to homosexual elements and some are not.


Anti-Defamation League


The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Cheval, Boris

“Homophobia: An Impulsive Attraction to the Same Sex? Evidence From Eye-Tracking Data in a Picture-Viewing Task”

(Full-text. First published online: May 2016)