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Want to Increase Your Penis Size? There Could Be Complications

Jan 15, 2019

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Vapers Beware: E-Liquids Could Contain Erectile Dysfunction Drugs

Jan 08, 2019

Consumers should stop using the products and see their healthcare provider if they have experienced any negative effects, the FDA explained.

“There are no e-liquid products approved to contain prescription drugs or any other medications that require a doctor’s supervision. Prescription drugs are carefully evaluated and labeled to reflect the risks of the medications and their potential interactions with other medicines, and vaping active drug ingredients is an ineffective route of delivery and can be dangerous. There are no e-liquids that contain prescription drugs that have been proven safe or effective through this route of administration,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, in a press statement.

“This action is part of FDA’s broader effort to regulate the safety of vaping products, and crack down on misleading claims and illegal and dangerous e-liquids that may entice youth or put consumers at risk,” Dr. Gottlieb added.


CNN via ABC Action News

“FDA: Vaping, erectile dysfunction drugs a bad combination”

(December 11, 2018)

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

“FDA alerts consumers not to use two e-liquids sold by HelloCig Electronic Technology”

(December 11, 2018)

“FDA In Brief: FDA warns company illegally selling e-liquid products intended for vaping that contain unapproved drugs for erectile dysfunction, weight loss and falsely claim to be FDA-approved”

(Press release. October 11, 2018)


McMillen, Matt

“What’s in Your E-Cigarette?”

(February 18, 2015)

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Stigma, Body Image Concerns May Affect Sexuality in People With Focal Dystonia

Dec 31, 2018

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Study Examines Sexuality in People with Dementia

Dec 24, 2018

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Breast Cancer Treatment Could Preserve Ovarian Function

Dec 18, 2018

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What’s Really in Your Dietary Supplement?

Dec 11, 2018

These drugs are classified as phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors. They work by relaxing smooth muscle tissue in the penis, allowing more blood to flow in and form an erection. However, they are not safe for all men. For example, men who take nitrates for conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol should not take PDE5 inhibitors because the interaction can cause a dangerous drop in blood pressure.

In the U.S., PDE5 inhibitors are available only by prescription. Men who buy sexual enhancement products are often not aware that the supplements contain ingredients that could be harmful. And some supplements include more than one hidden ingredient.

About 4% of the sexual enhancement products contained dapoxetine, an antidepressant that is not FDA-approved. One included sibutramine, a substance that was removed from the market in 2010 because of cardiovascular risks.

The researchers also reported hidden ingredients in other types of supplements, including weight loss and muscle-building products.


JAMA Network Open

Tucker, Jenna, MPH

“Unapproved Pharmaceutical Ingredients Included in Dietary Supplements Associated With US Food and Drug Administration Warnings”

(Full-text. October 12, 2018)

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

“FDA 101: Dietary Supplements”

(Updated: July 15, 2015)

“Tainted Products Marketed as Dietary Supplements_CDER”

(Page last updated: October 16, 2018)

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Man Develops Red-Tinted Vision After Sildenafil Overdose

Dec 04, 2018

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FDA Approves HPV Vaccine For Adults

Nov 26, 2018

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Could Erectile Dysfunction Be Genetic?

Nov 19, 2018

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One in Three Male Childhood Cancer Survivors Has Erectile Dysfunction, Study Finds

Nov 13, 2018

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Electrical Nerve Stimulation Might Help Women with Sexual Problems

Nov 07, 2018

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Counseling Cancer Survivors With Vaginal Pain

Nov 03, 2018

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Fewer Biological Boys Referred to Gender Identity Clinic

Oct 23, 2018

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Study: Antidepressant Lurasidone Has Fewer Sexual Side Effects

Oct 16, 2018

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For Women, Placebo Effect Might Explain Improvement in Sexual Function

Oct 08, 2018

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Conversations About Sexuality and Fertility Should Start Early, Experts Say

Oct 03, 2018

Parents should know about their child’s potential fertility and sexual as early as possible, the authors said. They should also know the medical and surgical options for preserving fertility and sexual function [such as freezing sperm or egg cells for future in vitro fertilization (IVF)].

As children reach school age, they can likely join the discussion and ask their own questions. They may understand that there are different ways to have a family of their own someday, but their understanding and their concerns may change as they get older.

By adolescence, patients may be more involved. They might prefer having conversations about sexuality and fertility without their parents in the room. And they should be aware that even if they cannot become pregnant, safe sex is still essential to reduce their risk of sexually transmitted infections.

“Considering the sensitive nature of these topics, clear communication between healthcare providers and inclusion of youth in discussions and decisions are paramount,” the authors wrote.


Nahata, Leena, et al.

“Counseling in Pediatric Populations at Risk for Infertility and/or Sexual Function Concerns”

(Full-text. July 2018)

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Fistulas Cause Sexual and Emotional Stress in Malawi

Sep 25, 2018

Still, incontinence or pain made intercourse difficult for some. Women who had had larger fistulas or narrowed vaginas after surgery were more likely to have sexual difficulties.

Among those who were not sexually active, about a third said they were waiting for their doctor to say it was okay to have sex again, even if they were past the six-month waiting period.

Other sexually inactive women didn’t have a partner, or their partner was away. Some avoided sex because they worried about developing another fistula.

The authors encouraged further education and counseling on vesicovaginal fistulas and repair. Most of the women believed that sexual function would go back to pre-surgery experiences. Counseling could help women better manage their expectations and help couples better understand the recovery process.

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



Brusie, Chaunie RN, BSN

“Pelvic Rest: So You've Been Told to Avoid Sexual Activity...”

(Reviewed: July 28, 2016)

The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Pope, Rachel, MD, MPH, et al.

“Sexual Function Before and After Vesicovaginal Fistula Repair”

(Full-text. Published online: July 19, 2018)

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FDA: Energy-Based Devices Not Recommended for “Vaginal Rejuvenation”

Sep 18, 2018

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Stem Cell Therapy for Men’s Sex Health Needs More Research

Sep 11, 2018

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Prostate Treatments May Have Sexual Side Effects, But Patients Not Always Aware

Sep 05, 2018

In an interview with Reuters, lead author Dr. Simone Giona said, “We need to talk to patients about their expectations and offer the treatments that will help them, including new alternatives.”

“Patients should mention all their worries and discuss their sex life concerns. Urologists should get a full picture of what will make their patients happy,” Dr. Giona added.

The study was published online in April in the World Journal of Urology.


International Society for Sexual Medicine

“Are sexual problems linked to 5ARI use for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)?”

“Does surgery for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) affect a man’s sexual function?”

What is benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)? How is it diagnosed?


Crist, Carolyn

“Doctors don't always explain sexual side effects of prostate treatments”

(May 11, 2018)

World Journal of Urology

Giona, Simone, et al.

“Urologists’ attitudes to sexual complications of LUTS/BPH treatments”

(Abstract. First online: April 21, 2018)

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Ospemifene Leads to Healthier Genitals, Less Pain for Postmenopausal Women

Aug 28, 2018

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Low Testosterone Linked to Chronic Diseases

Aug 21, 2018

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CPAP Use Linked to Better Sex in Patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Aug 14, 2018

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Penile Implants Preferred Over Other ED Therapies

Aug 08, 2018

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Penile Implants Not Always Covered by Insurance

Jul 31, 2018

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In Older Men, Erectile Dysfunction Could Increase Risk for Heart Problems

Jul 25, 2018

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Fewer Men Prescribed Testosterone After FDA Advisory

Jul 17, 2018

In other words, even though the number of men seeing a doctor for symptoms of low testosterone stayed within the same range, fewer prescriptions were written.

In 2018, the American Urological Association issued new guidelines on the evaluation and management of testosterone deficiency, stating “at this time, it cannot be stated definitively whether testosterone therapy increases or decreases the risk of cardiovascular events (e.g., myocardial infarction, stroke, cardiovascular-related death, all-cause mortality).”

Some clinicians question whether doctors should be nervous about prescribing testosterone when cardiovascular risk is not clear.

Dr. Valary Raup, the study’s lead author told the Urology Times that if cardiovascular risk is not significant and doctors are reluctant to prescribe testosterone, “then you’re missing an opportunity to help a lot of people.”


American Urological Association (AUA)

“Evaluation and Management of Testosterone Deficiency”


The Journal of Urology

Raup, Valary, et al.

“MP44-10 The Impact of the FDA Testosterone Supplementation Therapy Safety Advisory on Prescribing Patterns”

(Abstract presented at 2018 annual meeting of the American Urological Association, San Francisco, California, May 2018)

“FDA Announces Changes in Testosterone Labeling”

(March 11, 2015)

Urology Times

Kuznar, Wayne

“T prescriptions see significant drop after FDA advisory”

(May 15, 2018)

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FDA Approves Imvexxy for Treatment of Post-Menopausal Pain

Jul 10, 2018

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Sex Talks are Challenging for Parents of LGBTQ Teens

Jul 03, 2018

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Cycling Has No Impact on Women’s Sexual or Urinary Health, Study Finds

Jun 24, 2018

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Survey Reveals the Emotional Impact of Prostate Cancer

Jun 19, 2018

The men were most frustrated by sexual problems, bladder and bowel issues, their unknown future, and “not feeling like a man.” Almost two-thirds said they were not satisfied with their sex lives. Some worried that their partner would leave them.

Nine percent had been diagnosed with anxiety or panic disorders; eight percent had a mood disorder, like depression.

While most were satisfied with their treatment, many pointed out the need for mental health support and resources, especially for depression and anxiety.

“‘Not feeling like a man’ is a big part of men having to grapple with a ‘different self’ post–diagnosis. Questioning one’s identity and how one feels may be a new experience for many men. Most men will need time to resolve the emotional aspects with how they are they are feeling physically, and how they relate to others like a spouse or family members,” the Health Union editorial team wrote.

The survey was conducted online between October 19, 2017 and January 31, 2018.  


Health Union

“Prostate Cancer Survey Highlights Impact on Social, Emotional Well-Being”

(Press release. April 12, 2018)

“Prostate Cancer – Turning Life Inside Out”
(April 11, 2018)

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Lifestyle Changes Might Improve Sexual Health

Jun 10, 2018

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World’s First Penis and Scrotum Transplant Takes Place in the United States

Jun 04, 2018

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ASCO Guidelines Address Cancer Patients’ Sexual Health

May 28, 2018

“The Expert Panel believes that this is a vital recommendation,” the authors wrote. “The recommendations that follow cannot be used unless someone has taken the initiative to ask.”

Resources and referral information should also be provided, they said.

The panel recommends that counseling and sex therapy be offered to all cancer patients, as these approaches can improve sexual response, body image, intimacy, relationship conflict, and overall sexual satisfaction.

They recommended these approaches for women (if and when appropriate):

  • Physical exercise and pelvic floor physical therapy for overall sexual function.
  • Hormone therapy, medications, or clinical hypnosis for vasomotor symptoms (affecting blood vessels in the genitals).
  • Vaginal lubricants, moisturizers, or low-dose vaginal estrogen therapy to improve the health of genital tissue.
  • Medications for sexual pain.
  • Vaginal dilators for vaginismus or vaginal stenosis (narrowing of the vagina).

For men, these approaches were recommended (if and when appropriate):

  • Treatments for erectile dysfunction, including medication, vacuum erection devices, injections, and intraurethral suppositories.
  • Vacuum erection devices to preserve penile length.
  • Monitoring of testosterone levels with the option of testosterone replacement therapy.
  • Medications, slow-breathing techniques, and hypnosis for vasomotor symptoms.

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U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Makes Recommendations on Prostate Cancer Screening

May 22, 2018

Nowadays, a strategy called active surveillance is often used. This is a “wait and see” approach. Men have regular checkups with their doctor, but treatment doesn’t start unless and until necessary.

“Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers to affect men and the decision whether to be screened is complex,” said Task Force vice chair Alex H. Krist, MD, MPH in a press statement. “Men should discuss the benefits and harms of screening with their doctor, so they can make the best choice for themselves based on their values and individual circumstances.”

For more information on prostate cancer and screening, please see these links:

Prostate Cancer (overview)

Understanding the Effects of Biopsies and Prostatectomy

Prostate Cancer and Sex: Questions to Consider

Note: In 2013, the American Urological Association (AUA) set forth these guidelines on prostate cancer screening, which were reviewed and validity confirmed in 2015:

  • PSA screening is not recommended in men younger than 40 years.
  • Routine screening is not recommended for men between the ages of 40 and 54 who are at average risk for prostate cancer.
  • Men between the ages of 55 and 69 should undergo “shared decision-making” about PSA screening “based on a man’s values and preferences.”  For men who decide to proceed, screening conducted every two years (or longer, if appropriate) may be preferred over annual screening.
  • PSA screening is not recommended in men age 70 or over or in men with a life expectancy of less than 10 to 15 years.


American Urological Association

“Early Detection of Prostate Cancer”
(Published 2013; Reviewed and Validity Confirmed 2015)

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force

“Frequently Asked Questions”

(May 2018)

“Is Prostate Cancer Screening Right for You?”

(May 2018)

“U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Issues Final Recommendation on Screening for Prostate Cancer”

(News statement. May 8, 2018)

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Sex Aids Not Always Available at Cancer Centers

May 16, 2018

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Daily Flibanserin “Generally Safe” for Some Postmenopausal Women, Study Finds

May 08, 2018

Almost 60% of the women experienced adverse events. Of these, 94% said those effects were mild or moderate. The most common side effects were dizziness, drowsiness, insomnia, and nausea. Menopausal status did not appear to affect the safety of flibanserin. In other words, the drug was found to be equally safe for the women whether they had gone through menopause or not.

One in sixteen women left the trial early because of adverse events, the researchers reported.

The study did have some limitations. Because the sponsor ended the study early, the researchers did not have data for the intended 28 weeks. There was no placebo group in the trial, so the researchers could not compare the participants’ outcomes with those of women who did not take flibanserin.

Also, the women in this study were heterosexual and in monogamous relationships, so the results might not necessarily apply to lesbian women, bisexual women, or those in open relationships.

In addition, the postmenopausal women in the study went through natural menopause. It was not known how flibanserin would affect women who had undergone medical menopause (such as from cancer treatments like surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.) 


The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Simon, James A., MD, et al.

“Flibanserin for Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder: An Open-Label Safety Study”

(Full-text. March 2018)

“Understanding HSDD”

“What Should I Know About Addyi?”

(August 26, 2015)

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U.S. House Resolution: Continue Health Coverage for Certain Men with Incontinence and ED

Apr 30, 2018

“[A]ny such coverage decisions should be based on data and made after careful review by medical experts with a critical eye toward the impact of coverage decisions on the Medicare and Veterans’ Administration populations,” the resolution explains.

The resolution is non-binding and not considered law at this time.

In a statement, Congressman Paulsen said, “Availability for our seniors and veterans to these treatments will help enable them to live fulfilling lives. I’m pleased to join Congressman Payne in calling on Congress to protect Medicare and VA coverage of these treatments and ensuring that decisions about their use rest in the hands of doctors and medical experts. I hope more of our colleagues from both sides of the aisle join us in this effort.”


“H. Res. 812”

(April 10, 2018)

Congressman Erik Paulsen

“Paulsen-Payne Measure Protects Quality of Life for Prostate Cancer Survivors”

(April 11, 2018) Urology Place

“AUA Advocacy Snapshot: Week of April 16, 2018”

(April 17, 2018)

National Cancer Institute


(Last updated: May 30, 2014)

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Avoid These Erectile Dysfunction (ED) Products, FDA Warns

Apr 30, 2018

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More Americans Having Gender-Affirming Surgery

Apr 18, 2018

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Scientists Investigate Health Risks of Testosterone Replacement Therapy

Apr 10, 2018

However, men in the TRT group were at higher risk for OSA. The research team determined that the 2-year absolute risk for OSA was 17% for men in the TRT group and 13% for men who were not on TRT. This means that 17 out of every 100 men in the TRT group would develop OSA within 2 years, compared to 13 out of every 100 men in the control group.

While associations between TRT and OSA have been found in smaller studies, this was the first time a large, national study had this result. The researchers didn’t know exactly why, but it’s possible that androgens like testosterone may affect airways and oxygen consumption.

They acknowledged several limitations in the study. For example, they did not know the causes of the men’s low testosterone, nor did they have measurements of the men’s testosterone levels or doses over time. Also, results from this military population might not be applicable to civilian men.

The authors recommended that doctors discuss the possibility of OSA with men who are considering testosterone replacement therapy.


BJU International

Cole, Alexander P., et al.

“Impact of testosterone replacement therapy on thromboembolism, heart disease and obstructive sleep apnoea in men”

(Full-text. First published: February 27, 2018)

Renal and Urology News

Charnow, Jody A.

“Testosterone Replacement Therapy Does Not Raise CV Risks”

(March 5, 2018)

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Women With Breast Implants Warned About Rare Lymphoma

Apr 02, 2018

The FDA has not advised any healthcare changes for women with breast implants. But women should be aware of BIA-ALCL and see their doctor if they experience pain or swelling or notice any differences in their breasts. They should have routine mammograms as well, the agency noted.

Women who are considering breast implants should talk to their doctor about the pros and cons of smooth and textured implants.

“We hope that this information prompts providers and patients to have important, informed conversations about breast implants and the risk of BIA-ALCL,” said Dr. Binita Ashar of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health in the press statement.


American Cancer Society

“FDA Updates Guidance About Breast Implant Link to Lymphoma”
(March 22, 2017)

American Society of Plastic Surgeons

“What types of breast implants are available?”

“FDA Updates Warning on Link Between Textured Breast Implants and Rare Cancer”

(March 21, 2017)

Medical News Today

Bankhead, Charles

“Implant-Related Lymphoma Cases Rise”

(March 21, 2018)

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

“Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL)”

(Page last updated: March 21, 2018)

“Breast Implants”

(Page last updated: March 26, 2018)

“FDA In Brief: FDA updates public information about known risk of lymphoma from breast implants”

(Press release. March 21, 2018)

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SMSNA Releases Position Statement on Restorative Therapies for Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

Mar 27, 2018

The Sexual Medicine Society of North America (SMSNA) is concerned about the internet promotions and expense of Regenerative/Restorative therapies for Erectile Dysfunction and Peyronie’s Disease. The SMSNA strongly supports advancing health care delivery to patients with sexual dysfunctions, but at the same time wants to warn consumers about the difference between investigational therapies and FDA approved therapies.

"Given the current lack of regulatory agency approval for any restorative (regenerative) therapies for the treatment of ED and until such time as approval is granted, SMSNA believes that the use of shock waves or stem cells or platelet rich plasma is experimental and should be conducted under research protocols in compliance with Institutional Review Board approval.”

The complete Position Statement can be found here.


Childhood Sexual Abuse Linked to Sexual Problems in Women

Mar 26, 2018

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Male Childhood Cancer Survivors May Face Sexual Problems, Infertility as Adults

Mar 20, 2018

Fortunately, treatments are available for many of these issues. For example, oral medications, injections, and vacuum devices are options for men with ED. And sexual counseling can benefit men with psychologically-based sexual dysfunction. The authors recommended that young men have “a network of multidisciplinary survivorship experts to aid the transition into adulthood.”

The researchers also addressed infertility. Surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy can have a significant impact on sperm production and sperm quality. Over half of male childhood cancer survivors have trouble producing sperm, the authors reported. Almost a quarter of long-term survivors have low sperm counts or sperm that cannot “swim” effectively.

Doctors can monitor fertility with regular semen analyses. In addition, fertility specialists can work with couples and discuss family planning options. (This article explains cancer’s effects on male fertility in more detail.)


Sexual Medicine Reviews

Sukhu, Troy, MD, et al.

“Urological Survivorship Issues Among Adolescent Boys and Young Men Who Are Cancer Survivors”

(Full-text article in press. Published online: February 4, 2018)

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Inhibition May Hinder Women’s Orgasms

Mar 13, 2018

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Special Therapy Addresses Body Image in Breast Cancer Survivors

Mar 06, 2018

All the women were followed for one year, periodically completing questionnaires about body image, sexuality, and quality of life.

Over time, the women in the therapy group tended to feel more comfortable with their bodies and felt less body stigma than the women who received no therapy. After one year, the ReBIC group reported a better cancer-related quality of life, too.

The groups had similar results for sexual function assessments.

Right now, the ReBIC is located mainly in the Toronto area, but the researchers hope to offer it in other areas eventually. They say it can be adapted easily in both cancer centers and primary care settings.

In the meantime, cancer survivors who are troubled by any unease with their bodies should talk to their care team. A doctor can usually make a referral to a counselor who specializes in post-cancer body image concerns.


“Program Can Help Ease Body Image Concerns and Improve Quality of Life”

(February 1, 2018)

Journal of Clinical Oncology

Esplen, Mary Jane

“Restoring Body Image After Cancer (ReBIC): Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial”

(Abstract. Published online before print: January 22, 2018)

“Psychosocial intervention helps improve post-cancer body image”

(January 30, 2018)

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Relaxation Technique Might Improve Arousal in Women

Feb 27, 2018

The women were instructed to watch two short films. Each film featured three minutes of neutral content (landscape scenery) and six minutes of erotic content that included heterosexual couples engaging in foreplay, cunnilingus (oral sex performed on women), and penetrative intercourse. Each woman viewed the films privately.

In between each film, the women listened to a 22-minute autogenic training recording.

During each session, the women were connected to devices designed to measure their HRV and vaginal blood flow. The women indicated how aroused they felt at different time points.

The researchers found that, in general, the women did feel more sexually aroused after the autogenic training. It’s possible that by improving HRV through this technique, the women became more focused on their own bodies and less distracted by other thoughts. This type of focus – and lack of distraction – can be important in sexual situations.

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Aromatase Inhibitors Linked to Low Sexual Desire, Bowel Problems

Feb 19, 2018

After analyzing the data, the scientists found that low desire and bowel issues were more common in women who took AIs.

Over half the women who were using AIs could be diagnosed with hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), a persistent lack of sexual interest with distress. For women who didn’t use AIs, the rate was 38%.

Taking the HSDD investigation one step further, the researchers also looked at HSDD rates specifically for women who were sexually active. (In this study, a woman was considered sexually active if she had had sex within the previous four weeks.) Among this subgroup, 67% of AI users and 44% of AI non-users had HSDD.

Even after age was factored in, the association between AI use and HSDD remained.

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Why Do Transmen Have Surgery?

Feb 13, 2018

While some transmen had problems with urination, many were satisfied with the function of their new penis. None regretted their decision to have surgery, but two said they would have chosen a different type of surgery if they were going to do it over again.

Many participants reported more sexual activity than before surgery, using their genitals more frequently. However, their sex lives rated an average of 5.5 on a scale of 1 to 10. Some were frustrated that they could not penetrate a partner. Others said they weren’t sexually active or had “partner issues.”

These findings can help clinicians counsel their transgender patients, the authors said.

“Better decision making and realistic expectations might improve long-term outcomes,” they wrote.


The Journal of Sexual Medicine

van de Grift, Tim C. MD, MSc, et al.

“A Longitudinal Study of Motivations Before and Psychosexual Outcomes After Genital Gender-Confirming Surgery in Transmen”

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

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Prostate Cancer Treatment Affects Both Patients and Partners

Feb 06, 2018

Many experts believe that treating sexual dysfunction in prostate cancer survivors should include both the patient and the partner.

There is still much to learn, the study authors noted. “Identifying the various predictors of patient- and partner-perceived satisfaction remains an active area of research,” they wrote.

They added that psychosocial treatments that “engage, target, and benefit prostate cancer patients and their intimate partners,” are needed.


Sexual Medicine Reviews

Guercio, Cailey, BS and Akanksha Mehta, MD, MS

“Predictors of Patient and Partner Satisfaction Following Radical Prostatectomy”

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

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Sexual Problems Continue for Young Cancer Survivors

Jan 30, 2018

The study was published in November 2017 in Cancer, the journal of the American Cancer Society.

For more information on cancer’s effects on sexual function, please see these links:

Sex After Cancer

How Does Cancer Affect Men’s Sexual Health?

The Effects of Cancer on Women’s Sexuality



Acquati Chiara, PhD, et al.

“Sexual functioning among young adult cancer patients: A 2-year longitudinal study”

(Abstract. First published: November 17, 2017)

Lawrence, Leah

“Problems With Sexual Function Persist After Cancer Diagnosis in Young Patients”

(November 30, 2017)

Contemporary OB/GYN

Kronemyer, Bob

“Cancer adversely affects sexual functioning in young adults”

(January 22, 2018)

University of Houston

Stipes, Chris

“After the Diagnosis: How Cancer Affects Sexual Functioning”

(December 20, 2017)

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Transgender Americans Struggle for Proper Healthcare

Jan 23, 2018

What can be done to improve the situation? Dietz and Halem called for more involvement from physicians:

Ultimately, transgender patients need clinicians whom they feel safe and comfortable seeing regularly for all of their health care needs. The majority of medical care related to transgender health can be administered by any physician willing to research best practices and create a care plan that centers on an individual patient’s health care needs and priorities.


AMA Journal of Ethics

Dietz, Elizabeth and Jessica Halem, MBA

“How Should Physicians Refer When Referral Options Are Limited for Transgender Patients?”

(November 2016)

International Society for Sexual Medicine

“Referring Transgender Patients for Optimal Care”

NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health

“Discrimination in America: Experiences and Views of LBGTQ Americans”

(November 2017)

Shots (NPR)

Ulaby, Neda

“Health Care System Fails Many Transgender Americans”

(November 21, 2017)

The Washington Post

Arrowsmith, Laura

“When doctors refuse to see transgender patients, the consequences can be dire”

(November 26, 2017)

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PTSD Linked to Sexual Problems in Midlife Women

Jan 16, 2018

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Transgender Men Satisfied with Penile Implants

Jan 09, 2018

At follow-up, about 57% of the men still had their original device. Forty-three percent had had to have revision surgery because of infection, mechanical failure, or dissatisfaction.

After five years, 78% of the implants were still working. However, the authors noted that implants in neophalluses tend to have a shorter life span and that patients may need revision surgery later on.

One hundred four people completed a patient and partner satisfaction survey. Of these respondents, 83% of the patients said they were satisfied with penile sensation after the implant. Just over three-quarters could have penetrative intercourse, and 61% could reach orgasm.

While the results are encouraging, the authors added that implant surgery is complex and should be done by highly-skilled surgeons.


BJU International

Falcone, Marco, et al.

“Outcomes of inflatable penile prosthesis insertion in 247 patients completing female to male gender reassignment surgery”

(Full-text. Published online: October 20, 2017)

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Are These Words Forbidden at the CDC?

Jan 02, 2018

Dr. Fitzgerald also added the full statement from the Department of Health and Human Services:

Below is the full HHS statement addressing the media reports.

The assertion that HHS has 'banned words' is a complete mischaracterization of discussions regarding the budget formulation process. HHS will continue to use the best scientific evidence available to improve the health of all Americans. HHS also strongly encourages the use of outcome and evidence data in program evaluations and budget decisions.

According to the fact-checking website, Dr. Fitzgerald explained that confusion at a CDC staff meeting sparked the controversy.

“It was never intended as overall guidance for how we describe and conduct CDC’s work,” she wrote in an email to Snopes.


American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

Brown, Haywood L., MD

“ACOG Opposes Any Effort to Ban Scientifically and Medically Accurate Terminology”

(December 18, 2017)


Caplan, Arthur L., PhD

“Censoring the CDC Is Scary and Crazy, Says Ethicist”

(December 18, 2017)

Terry, Ken

“HHS Says It Gave No 'Directive' to Ban Seven Words at CDC”

(December 18, 2017)

PBS News Hour

Regan, Michael D.

“CDC director says there are ‘no banned words’ at the agency”

(December 17, 2017)

Kasprak, Alex

“Trump Administration Bans CDC Officials From Using Certain Words?”

(Updated: December 18, 2017)

« Previous 1 2 3 (page 3 of 3)


Low Desire Common in Midlife Women

Dec 26, 2017

Partnership status was an important factor for the women’s experiences with desire and distress. Those with partners were twice as likely to have sexually related personal distress and HSDD compared to women without partners. Over half of the partnered sexually active women were at “high risk” of sexual dysfunction.

Older women and un-partnered women were more likely to have low desire in general, not necessarily HSDD. For all women, vaginal dryness and pain during sex added to distress and HSDD, as did depression and medication side effects.

Fortunately, issues like vaginal dryness, pain, and depression can be treated. For more information about sexual health in older women, please click here.

The study was published earlier this year in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.


The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Worsley, Roisin, FRACP, et al.

“Prevalence and Predictors of Low Sexual Desire, Sexually Related Personal Distress, and Hypoactive Sexual Desire Dysfunction in a Community-Based Sample of Midlife Women”

(Full-text. May 2017)

« Previous 1 2 3 (page 3 of 3)


Generic Viagra Now Available in United States

Dec 19, 2017

Men should know that PDE5 inhibitors like generic Viagra are not appropriate for all patients.

Men who take nitrates (for chest pain and other conditions) or guanylate cyclase stimulators (for pulmonary hypertension) should not take ED drugs. The combination could cause a dangerous drop in blood pressure.

Patients should also discuss their medical history with their doctor before starting ED medication. PDE5 inhibitors are available only by prescription.

ED is often symptom of other medical conditions, including heart disease and diabetes. So, it is important for men with erection problems to have a thorough checkup with their doctor. In some cases, treatment for other health issues and lifestyle changes, can improve erectile function.

Men who cannot take ED medications still have other options, including self-injections, vacuum devices,  transurethral agents, and penile implants.


Associated Press via Albany Times Union

Johnson, Linda A.

“Drugmaker launches own generic Viagra”

(December 9, 2017)

HealthDay via CBS News

Gordon, Serena

“Generic Viagra: Two versions of sildenafil hit the market today”

(December 11, 2017)

Medscape Medical News

Young, Kerry Dooley

“Little Blue Pill Goes Generic Today, and Pfizer Joins In”

(December 11, 2017),mdscp_viagra&faf=1

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

“Generic Drugs: Questions & Answers”

(Page last updated: November 28, 2017)

“Important Safety Information”

« Previous 1 2 3 (page 3 of 3)


Drug Found to Clear Genital Psoriasis in Most Patients

Dec 12, 2017

Side effects, such as upper respiratory tract infections, injection site reactions, headache, sore throat, and itchiness, were experienced by 56% of the patients who received ixekizumab and 45% of those who received a placebo injection. Most side effects were mild to moderate.

The research was presented in October at the 18th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Sexual Medicine Society of North America (SMSNA) in San Antonio, Texas. The SMSNA is also associated with



“Ixekizumab Injection”

(Last revised: April 15, 2017)


Helwick, Caroline

“Ixekizumab Effective for Genital Psoriasis, Improves Sexual Health”

(October 31, 2017)


“Psoriasis and Sexuality”

(May 31, 2016)

Sexual Medicine Society of North America

Ryan, C, et al.

“Efficacy and Safety of Ixekizumab in a Randomized, Double-Blinded, Placebo-Controlled, Phase 3b Clinical Trial in Patients with Moderate-to-Severe Genital Psoriasis”

(Abstract presented at 18th Annual Fall Scientific Meeting of SMSNA, October 27, 2017)

« Previous 1 2 3 (page 3 of 3)


For Breast Cancer Survivors, Sexual Concerns May Last Years

Dec 05, 2017

To learn more about sexual issues and breast cancer, please see these links:

Breast Cancer Survivors Face Sexual Concerns

Online Therapy Could Benefit Breast Cancer Survivors

The Effects of Cancer on Women’s Sexuality

Cancer and Sex for Single Women


BMC Cancer via the U.S. National Library of Medicine

Oberguggenberger, Anne, et al.

“Self-reported sexual health: Breast cancer survivors compared to women from the general population – an observational study”

(Full-text. Published online: August 30, 2017)

“Breast Cancer Survivors Face Sexual Concerns”

« Previous 1 2 3 (page 3 of 3)


Poor Health and Lack of Communication Related to Low Sexual Interest, Study Says

Nov 28, 2017

"These findings suggest that for women early sexual experiences may shape future sexual encounters/relationships to a greater extent than for men,” the study authors explained.

They added that healthcare providers might consider relationship and contextual factors when treating patients with low interest.

They also encouraged the inclusion of relationship education to overall sex education “rather than limiting attention only to adverse consequences of sex and how to prevent them.” Doing so, they noted, could help people whose sexual health might be affected by early sexual experiences.


BMJ Open

Graham, Cynthia A., et al.

“What factors are associated with reporting lacking interest in sex and how do these vary by gender? Findings from the third British national survey of sexual attitudes and lifestyles”

(Full-text. Accepted: July 25, 2017)


“Open communication and emotional closeness linked to fewer low sexual interest problems”

(September 13, 2017)

« Previous 1 2 3 (page 3 of 3)


Sexual Incontinence Needs Attention, Researchers Say

Nov 21, 2017

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Men May Fracture Penis During “Doggy Style” Sex

Nov 14, 2017

While intercourse led to most of the fractures in this study, about 23% had other causes, including masturbation and penile manipulation (18%), rolling over on an erect penis (3%), and blunt trauma (2%).

Overall, penis fracture is rare, but men should still be careful. Forceful vaginal thrusting can cause the penis to collide with a woman’s pubic bone. And if not done cautiously, the “doggy style” and woman-on-top positions could make the penis bend in an awkward angle, leading to fracture.  

No matter how it happens, penis fracture is a medical emergency. It is often accompanied by a popping sound, pain, bleeding, or swelling. Men who think they have fractured their penis should see a doctor immediately.


International Journal of Impotence Research

Barros, R., et al.

“Relationship between sexual position and severity of penile fracture”

(Full-text. September/October 2017)

International Society for Sexual Medicine

“What is a penis fracture, and how is it treated?”

“Penile Fracture is an Emergency”

« Previous 1 2 3 (page 3 of 3)


What Happens in Women’s Brains During Orgasm?

Nov 07, 2017

In addition, when comparing the periods of orgasm and recovery, the researchers saw significant activation in a part of the brain called the right angular gyrus, which “has been implicated in states of altered perception (i.e., ‘out of body experiences’), which would be related to the ‘altered state of consciousness’ at orgasm,” the authors wrote.

The findings could be useful for healthcare providers who treat patients with orgasmic disorders, they added.

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


Lage, Ayana

“Do Women’s Brains Shut Off When They Orgasm? A New Study Debunks That Weird Myth”

(October 2017)

Rahhal, Natalie

“Women's brains do NOT need to 'turn off' in order to orgasm, research shows”

(Updated: October 13, 2017)

The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Wise, Nan J., PhD, et al.

“Brain Activity Unique to Orgasm in Women: An fMRI Analysis”

(Full-text. Published online: October 4, 2017)

Yirka, Bob

“fMRI scans reveal why pain tolerance goes up during female orgasm and shows brain does not turn off”

(October 13, 2017)

« Previous 1 2 3 (page 3 of 3)


Breast Cancer Has Sexual Impact on Both Survivors and Partners

Oct 31, 2017

Based on questionnaire results, two-thirds of the men were considered to have erectile dysfunction (ED), the inability to get and keep an erection firm enough for sex. Over half of the men said their ED was moderate or severe.

The researchers also found that poorer erections were associated with greater sexual pain in women. They explained that couples may feel “pressured to have intercourse” and that a man’s worries about a woman’s pain could distract him, and, in turn, interfere with his erection.

The overall results “[underscore] the importance of involving both partners in sexual counseling after [breast cancer] treatment,” the authors wrote.


American Cancer Society

“What is cancer immunotherapy?”

(Last revised: August 8, 2016)

The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Hummel, Susanna B., MSc, et al.

“Factors Associated With Specific Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition Sexual Dysfunctions in Breast Cancer Survivors: A Study of Patients and Their Partners”

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

« Previous 1 2 3 (page 3 of 3)


Vaginal Estrogen Could Be a Menopause Management Option for Women with Breast Cancer

Oct 24, 2017

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Scientists Explore Web-Based Educational Tools for Young Adults with Cancer

Oct 17, 2017

Overall, the two interventions were well-received. Committed users utilized most of the features. Many appreciated the flexibility offered by the program, since they could use it on several types of devices as their schedule and health permitted. Most of the committed users said that the content was helpful for them, though some felt distress or sadness as they learned more about their situation. They also liked being able to communicate with peers in the forum.

What’s next for the program? Now that the scientists have found it is feasible, they will tweak the tools based on user feedback. One difference will be the removal of the “ask the expert” feature, as the work involved in maintaining it did not appear to match user interest. Also, the questions posed showed that users did have regular contact with their doctors and asked similar questions of them.

Once the adjustments are made, scientists will set up a new trial to determine how effective the program is. Eventually, the tool could become a standard part of care for young adults with cancer in Sweden.


Supportive Care in Cancer

Wiklander, Maria, et al.

“Feasibility of a self-help web-based intervention targeting young cancer patients with sexual problems and fertility distress”

(Full-text. First online: July 18, 2017)

« Previous 1 2 3 (page 3 of 3)


Prescriptions Too Costly for Many Cancer Survivors

Oct 09, 2017

The NCI suggests that patients and survivors talk to their doctors and hospital billing departments if they have concerns about the costs of care. For concerns specific to prescription drugs, the NCI offers some money-saving ideas to consider, including using generic drugs instead of brand-name medications, asking doctors about drug samples, using a drug discount program or mail-order pharmacy, or approaching organizations that help people pay for their prescriptions.

“Talking with [healthcare providers] about these issues may make you feel uncomfortable, but they are there to help you. Your doctors need and want to know how costs are affecting you. Some patients say it makes them feel better to share their concerns with their doctor. Then decisions about what treatments to use and what medicines to prescribe can be made with those concerns in mind,” the NCI states.


Journal of the National Cancer Institute

Gonzales, Felisa, et al.

“Trends in Financial Access to Prescription Drugs Among Cancer Survivors”

(Abstract. Published: August 24, 2017)

Kaiser Health News

Szabo, Liz

“Sticker Shock Forces Thousands Of Cancer Patients To Skip Drugs, Skimp On Treatment”

(March 15, 2017)

National Cancer Institute

“Financial Toxicity (Financial Distress) and Cancer Treatment (PDQ®)–Patient Version”

(Updated: June 29, 2017)

“Managing Costs and Medical Information”

(Updated: September 21, 2017)

Reuters Health

Lehman, Shereen

“Cancer survivors more likely to skip drugs due to cost”

(September 5, 2017)

« Previous 1 2 3 (page 3 of 3)


Women With Overactive Bladder (OAB) at Higher Risk for Sexual Dysfunction

Oct 02, 2017

The key to this finding is the hormone estrogen, which declines dramatically at menopause. This drop can lead to irritation in the bladder as well as vaginal dryness and sexual pain, the study authors said. 

Urge incontinence can also hamper sexual function. Some women find that they need to use the bathroom in the middle of sex. Or, they might leak urine during sexual activity. In these situations, women may feel less attractive, ashamed, and nervous about how their partner will react. They may lose their sexual confidence or interest. 

Healthcare providers should be aware of the connection between OAB and female sexual dysfunction, the authors noted. 

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


Journal of Sexual Medicine

Juliato, Cássia Raquel Teatin MD, PhD, et al.

“Does the Severity of Overactive Bladder Symptoms Correlate With Risk for Female Sexual Dysfunction?”

(Full-text. Published online: June 13, 2017) 

Urology Care Foundation 

“What is Overactive Bladder (OAB)?” 

« Previous 1 2 3 (page 3 of 3)


More Sex Might Mean More Brain Power in Older Adults

Sep 26, 2017

The results do not mean that frequent sex caused better cognition, however. “At this time, we can only speculate that continued engagement in regular [sexual activity] may have a positive influence on cognitive function, but whether [sexual activity] contributes to cognitive function above and beyond social and physical factors is a question for future research,” the authors wrote.

More research is also needed to explain why frequency of sexual activity is linked to cognition. The answer could be biological, and the authors recommended further study involving measurement of certain substances, like the neurotransmitter dopamine, and the hormones oxytocin and vasopressin.

In addition, future studies may consider whether the presence or absence of a partner during sex makes any difference in cognition. In other words, could intercourse have more or less of an effect than masturbation?

Even with these research questions, the authors noted that the findings of their study “have important implications for the maintenance of intimate relationships later in life.”


The Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences

Wright, Hayley, et al.

“Frequent Sexual Activity Predicts Specific Cognitive Abilities in Older Adults”

(June 21, 2017)

« Previous 1 2 3 (page 3 of 3)


Study Addresses Psychological Aspects of Female Sexual Problems

Sep 19, 2017

The researchers found that the psychological factors played a role in all three sexual outcomes.

Orgasm, sexual pain, sexual quality of life, and frequency of partnered sexual activity were the most influenced. Desire, arousal, lubrication, and frequency of solitary sexual activity were affected “to a lesser degree,” the authors wrote.

“[Anxiety sensitivity] and [emotion regulation] directly influenced psychological distress and indirectly influenced sexual functioning, sexual quality of life, and frequency of sexual activity,” they added.

The findings could help healthcare providers guide women into new ways of thinking during sex. For example, a woman who feels upset about her increasing heartbeat may learn to recognize that it is a normal part of sexual arousal and not something to worry about.

“By recognizing that mental and sexual health are closely related, it is possible that health professionals across domains could approach a more accurate and comprehensive picture of women’s sexual experiences,” the authors concluded.


The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Tutino, Jessica S. BA (Hons), et al.

“How Do Psychological Risk Factors Predict Sexual Outcomes? A Comparison of Four Models of Young Women’s Sexual Outcomes”

(Full-text. Published online: August 19, 2017)

« Previous 1 2 3 (page 3 of 3)


Men with ED May Have Higher Risk of Parkinson’s Disease

Sep 12, 2017

The risk of [Parkinson’s disease] was still clearly demonstrated despite this possible confounding effect, but the true risk [for Parkinson’s disease] may be even greater when every ED case can be clearly identified,” they wrote.

The scientists did not know why risk increased for men with ED, but testosterone might be a clue, they said. Past research has shown higher rates of testosterone deficiency in Parkinson’s patients compared to age-matched comparison groups. And for some Parkinson’s patients, motor symptoms have improved with testosterone therapy.

The authors acknowledged that their data did not include information on the men’s diet and exercise habits, weight, education, or smoking status. These factors can be risk factors for Parkinson’s.

More research is still needed, the authors said, writing that in the meantime, “clinicians should already recognize the potential implications of ED and stay vigilant for the onset of [Parkinson’s disease].”


Johns Hopkins Medicine

“What is Parkinson’s disease?”

Journal of Clinical Neurology

Yang, Yuwan, et al.

“Relationship between Erectile Dysfunction, Comorbidity, and Parkinson's Disease: Evidence from a Population-Based Longitudinal Study”

(Full-text. Published online: June 30, 2017)


“Parkinson’s Disease”

(Page last updated: September 1, 2017)

Men’s Health

Sgobba, Christa

“Your Penis Problems Might Be Signaling Parkinson’s Disease”

(August 2, 2017)

Renal and Urology News

Charnow, Jody

“Erectile Dysfunction May Predict Development of Parkinson's Disease”

(July 31, 2017)

« Previous 1 2 3 (page 3 of 3)


Emotional Aspects of Sex Important for Midlife Women

Sep 06, 2017

What did women think about treatment for sexual problems? Most thought behavioral approaches, like talk therapy with a counselor or a support group, would be most beneficial, as long as participants felt comfortable talking about sex. Some thought that medication could be helpful, but worried about side effects. Combining therapy and medication could work as well, some said, if the approaches were tailored to a woman’s specific issue.

These findings could help doctors when treating women’s sexual health, the authors wrote, noting that clinical trials on pharmaceutical treatments have not fully addressed emotional aspects of sex for women. Research “emphasizes that women do not participate in sexual activity solely to fulfill physical needs; they also are filling emotional needs,” they said.

“Overall, women want options in treatments for female sexual dysfunction so they can make an informed choice based on their individual needs and values,” the authors added.


The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Thomas, Holly N., MD, MS, et al.

“Patient-Centered Outcomes and Treatment Preferences Regarding Sexual Problems: A Qualitative Study Among Midlife Women”

(Full-text. First published online: June 21, 2017)

« Previous 1 2 3 (page 3 of 3)


Some Men Regret Prostate Cancer Treatment Decisions

Aug 28, 2017

Among the men who regretted their treatment decisions, 39% reported sexual problems and 8% had trouble with their bowels.

Men who were older at the time of their diagnosis and those who felt they’d been informed about their treatment options were less inclined to have regret.

The study authors stressed the need for open communication between doctors and prostate cancer patients, with thorough discussions on all treatment options, their advantages, and their disadvantages.

“Regret was a relatively infrequently reported outcome among long-term survivors of localized prostate cancer; however, our results suggest that better informing men about treatment options, in particular, conservative treatment, might help mitigate long-term regret,” the authors wrote.

“These findings are timely for men with low-risk cancers who are being encouraged to consider active surveillance,” they added.


Journal of Clinical Oncology

Hoffman, Richard M., et al.

“Treatment Decision Regret Among Long-Term Survivors of Localized Prostate Cancer: Results From the Prostate Cancer Outcomes Study”

(Abstract. July 2017)

MedPage Today

Bankhead, Charles

“Men Have Regret Years after Prostate Cancer Treatment”

(July 11, 2017)


Harrison, Pam

“Treatment Regret Not Common in Prostate Cancer Survivors”

(August 3, 2017)

Oncology Nurse Advisor

Nam, James, PharmD

“Long Term Survivors of Prostate Cancer Express Treatment Decision Regret for Up to 15 Years”

(July 10, 2017)

« Previous 1 2 3 (page 3 of 3)


Body Image, Binge Eating, and Sexual Dysfunction in Women

Aug 22, 2017

The women were asked to view a short video that began with neutral content but switched to sexual scenes that, in past studies, were deemed to stimulate female sexual arousal.

Using saliva samples, the scientists measured cortisol levels in each woman before the video, during the sexual portion of the video, and again about an hour after the video.

After analyzing the samples and reviewing the questionnaires, researchers found that women with poor body esteem who also showed a tendency toward binge eating were more likely to feel sexual distress. They also found a link between body esteem and dissociation during sex; women who dissociated and had poor body image had higher cortisol levels, indicating higher levels of stress.

“[W]omen with high body-related uneasiness might need to ‘escape’ from the awareness of self-evaluation triggered by sexual experience that makes them feel inadequate, and dissociation could serve as a psychological defense against intolerable emotional states,” the authors explained.

They emphasized the importance of developing treatments for women who dissociate during sex.


“Dissociation and dissociative disorders”

(Last updated: June 2012)

The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Castellini, Giovanni, MD, PhD, et al.

“Body Esteem as a Common Factor of a Tendency Toward Binge Eating and Sexual Dissatisfaction Among Women: The Role of Dissociation and Stress Response During Sex”

(Full-text. Published online: June 27, 2017)

Psychology Today

Bergland, Christopher

“Cortisol: Why ‘The Stress Hormone’ Is Public Enemy No. 1”

(January 22, 2013)

« Previous 1 2 3 (page 3 of 3)


Rectal Cancer Survivors Can Face Sexual Challenges

Aug 15, 2017

The authors acknowledged that the average age of the study participants was 70 years and that sexual function can worsen as people get older.

The patients also provided some details about how rectal cancer treatment had affected their lives, sexual and otherwise.

Coming to grips with the loss of my sexuality. Everything revolves around your colostomy. All timing—travel, recreation, eating, sex—everything requires planning.

I never felt I could be an adequate sexual partner after my operations.

Loss of sexual function is the greatest challenge.

Other participants described relationship strain and anxieties about dating.

However, some did have positive experiences:

It has been nearly [years] since my cancer and life is once again fulfilling with no sexual problems at all.

I have maintained an 11-year relationship with my partner despite my sex problems. Sure I’d like my erections and my energy back, but I’m grateful for what I have.

The study authors emphasized the need for interventions and counseling for rectal cancer patients so that they and their partners can know what to expect when making treatment decisions.


The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Sun, Virginia, PhD, RN, et al.

“Sexual Function and Health-Related Quality of Life in Long-Term Rectal Cancer Survivors”

(Full-text. July 2016)

National Cancer Institute

“Rectal Cancer Treatment (PDQ®)–Patient Version”

(Updated: May 17, 2017)

« Previous 1 2 3 (page 3 of 3)


Gaming Might Affect Sexual Desire and Ejaculation in Men

Aug 01, 2017

Gaming Might Affect Sexual Desire and Ejaculation in Men

From Tetris to Pokémon to Halo, videogames have been a popular form of entertainment for decades. And during that time, scientists have investigated how playing videogames affects one’s health. But how about sexual health?

In a recent Journal of Sexual Medicine study, experts found that gaming might affect men’s sexual function, in positive and negative ways.

Using social media, researchers recruited 396 men who ranged in age from 18 to 50. On average, the men were about 28 years old. All participants had had intercourse during the previous month; roughly 70% were in stable relationships. About 72% said they were “gamers” - they played videogames for at least an hour every day. The rest spent less time gaming and were considered “non-gamers.”

The men filled out two online questionnaires designed to evaluate sexual health. The International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) focuses on five aspects: erectile function, orgasmic function, sexual desire, intercourse satisfaction, and overall satisfaction. It is often used to diagnose men with erectile dysfunction (ED), the inability to get and keep an erection firm enough for sex.

The men also completed the Premature Ejaculation Diagnostic Tool (PEDT). As the name suggests, this questionnaire is used to assess premature ejaculation (PE).  Men with PE climax before they wish to, usually within two minutes of penetrating their partner.

They also answered questions about their relationship status, gaming habits, and sexual activity.

Looking at the IIEF results, the researchers found few differences between gamers and non-gamers for erectile function, orgasmic function, and overall sexual satisfaction. However, non-gamers had slightly better median scores for sexual desire. In other words, they felt slightly more sexual desire than the gamers did.

PEDT results showed that none of the gamers had PE. In contrast, 69% of the non-gamers either had PE or “probable” PE based on their questionnaire scores.

Why was there a connection between gaming and sexual health? It’s possible that videogame “rewards” are related to dopamine levels in the brain, the researchers said. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter involved with forms of pleasure, including ejaculation and orgasm. When gamers do well, their dopamine levels go up.

The study authors also pointed out that “videogame stress” could lead to higher levels of prolactin, which could impair sexual function.

They added that more research is needed to fully understand the association between videogames and sexual health. In time, however, this understanding might help doctors who treat men with PE or low desire.

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


The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Sansone, Andrea, MD, et al.

“Relationship Between Use of Videogames and Sexual Health in Adult Males”

(Full-text. Published online: June 1, 2017)


“Prolactin blood test”

(Review date: August 7, 2016)

Psychology Today



Cancer Organizations Stress Importance of Comprehensive and Affordable Healthcare

Jul 24, 2017

A group of 33 cancer-related organizations have banded together to support cancer patients and survivors in light of proposed healthcare legislation under debate in the United States.

The organizations include the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS), the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO), and the Association of Oncology Social Work. Groups that support patients with specific cancers, such as the Susan G. Komen organization (breast cancer), the Colon Cancer Alliance, the Lymphoma Research Foundation, and National Brain Tumor Society are also involved. (See the complete list below.)

In particular, the organizations oppose the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) and its revised version released on July 13th. The organizations are concerned that healthcare coverage will become unaffordable and unattainable for millions of Americans.

The bill proposes cuts to Medicaid, which provides health coverage to low-income patients. It would also limit coverage options for people with pre-existing conditions.

“The Senate’s BCRA, just as the House’s AHCA [American Health Care Act], is a direct threat to America’s 16 million cancer patients and survivors who rely on timely and uninterrupted access to comprehensive and affordable health care,” said NCCS CEO Shelley Fuld Nasso in a press release on July 13th.

“It is time to end this threat that is causing fear and anxiety throughout the cancer community, and work towards bipartisan solutions to strengthen current law,” she added.

In a statement released July 14th, ASCO President Bruce E. Johnson, MD, FASCO discussed some of the reasons the U.S. healthcare debate is so important for cancer patients. “When individuals with cancer do not have adequate health insurance coverage they are diagnosed with more advanced cancers, receive care later in their disease course, have less access to needed medical care, and have worse outcomes than those with better coverage.”

“We urge policymakers to ensure that robust requirements are maintained to ensure that all health plans cover the full scope of services and therapies that cancer patients require,” said Dr. Johnson.

The complete list of organizations is as follows:

  • American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO)
  • American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO)
  • Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC)
  • Association of Oncology Social Work
  • Blue Faery: The Adrienne Wilson Liver Cancer Association
  • CancerCare
  • Cancer Support Community
  • Children’s Cause for Cancer Advocacy
  • Colon Cancer Alliance
  • Cutaneous Lymphoma Foundation
  • Critical Mass
  • Deadliest Cancers Coalition
  • Fight Colorectal Cancer
  • FORCE: Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered
  • Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Foundation
  • Living Beyond Breast Cancer
  • Lung Cancer Alliance
  • LUNGevity
  • Lymphoma Research Foundation
  • Melanoma Research Alliance
  • National Brain Tumor Society
  • National Breast Cancer Coalition
  • National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship
  • National Comprehensive Cancer Network
  • National Patient Advocate Foundation
  • Oncology Nursing Society
  • Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance
  • Sarcoma Foundation of America
  • Stupid Cancer
  • Susan G. Komen
  • Triage Cancer
  • Us TOO International
  • Young Survival Coalition


American Society for Clinical Oncology

Johnson, Bruce E., MD, FASCO

“ASCO Remains Opposed to Senate Healthcare Bill, Urges Protections for Access to High-Quality Care”

(July 14, 2017)

National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship

“NCCS and 33 Cancer-Related Patient Advocacy and Professional Organizations Jointly Oppose Senate’s Revised BCRA”

(News release. July 13, 2017)


Grayson, Gisele, Alyson Hurt, and Alison Kodjak

“CHART: Who Wins, Who Loses With Senate Health Care Bill”

(June 22, 2017)


Range of Priorities Found in Individuals Seeking Female-to-Male Transition

Jul 11, 2017

Range of Priorities Found in Individuals Seeking Female-to-Male Transition

When people with gender dysphoria decide to undergo a female-to-male transition, there is a large variation in their priorities, according to new research in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

Gender dysphoria refers to a mismatch between a persons’ birth gender and the gender they identify with. An individual may be born with female reproductive organs, but feel more male then female. Sometimes, people take hormones or undergo surgery to transition to their desired gender.

Surgery for female-to-male transitions involves the creation of male genitalia. There are several different ways to accomplish this, but each technique has its pros and cons. For example, a procedure called metoidioplasty uses tissue from the clitoris to form a penis. Afterward, the patient can usually feel sexual sensations, but may not be able to urinate standing up. Also, the penis may be too small to penetrate a partner during intercourse.

What aspects are most important to patients? To answer this question, researchers surveyed 47 Swedish transmen between the ages of 18 and 52 who were considering surgical transition from female to male.

The participants showed a wide range of preferences. For many, the ability to feel sexual sensations, reach orgasm, and have erections with the new penis was high on the priority list.

Low priority items included removal of the vagina and minimal scarring. Most respondents were not concerned about having a particular size penis (most said “normal”). And the use of human tissue for a new penis did not seem essential.  

The respondents had mixed feelings about urinating while standing. Some rated this attribute as most important, but others considered it less important.

More than half said they would be willing to consider a penis transplant from a deceased person, an approach that is now being investigated. However, many were not sure whether they would be open to immunotherapy, which lowers the risk of transplant rejection.

About three-quarters of the respondents identified themselves as male. For this group, removing the vagina was a priority. This group also emphasized the need for a “passable” penis that would not seem unusual in a dressing room.

The study results could help doctors and surgeons better understand the needs of their female-to-male patients, the authors noted. In turn, surgical procedures might be tailored to patient’s priorities. And patients may have a better sense of their surgical options.

“Patients must always be instructed on all available techniques in current use and their specific benefits and limitations to make an informed choice,” the authors wrote.


The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Jacobsson, Josephine, MD, et al.

“Patients’ Priorities Regarding Female-to-Male Gender Affirmation Surgery of the Genitalia—A Pilot Study of 47 Patients in Sweden”

(Full-text. Published online: May 3, 2017)


How Does Obesity Affect Sexual Function?

Jun 27, 2017

How Does Obesity Affect Sexual Function?

Obesity rates are increasing around the world. In fact, an estimated 1 billion people are considered overweight, and 300 million are obese.

Past research has shown an association between obesity and sexual problems. But just how does obesity contribute to sexual dysfunction? To address this question, researchers reviewed scientific databases and published their findings in Sexual Medicine Reviews.

They explained several ways extra weight might lead to sexual problems:

  • Biological mechanisms. Having excess fat tissue can disrupt hormonal and chemical processes needed for good sexual function. For example, fat tissue may be linked to lower levels of an enzyme needed for the production of nitric oxide, an important neurotransmitter for erections.
  • Comorbidities. Many obese people also have conditions that can cause sexual dysfunction, including metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and heart disease. For instance, men with diabetes are more likely develop erectile dysfunction (ED) than non-diabetic men. And they often start having trouble with erections at an earlier age. Diabetic women often have trouble with desire, arousal, and vaginal lubrication.
  • Psychological and emotional factors. In many cultures, “thin is in.” Obese men and women might be viewed as unattractive and are often the subject of cruel jokes and discrimination, which can damage their body image and self-esteem. Their ability to participate in everyday activities might be restricted by their weight. Or, they may shy away from socializing or seeking sexual partners. Overall, depression and anxiety related to obesity can take a toll on sexual health.

Often, a combination of factors is involved. For example, an obese man with ED might feel self-conscious about his weight and his erection troubles. He may also feel anxious about his attractiveness and about pleasing his partner. Thus, both physical and psychological factors can contribute to his ability to perform sexually.

Can weight loss help? It might. Following a healthy diet and exercising regularly can help lower one’s risk for diabetes and heart disease, which in turn could improve sexual function. Studies of bariatric surgery and sexuality have had encouraging results.

The review authors called on healthcare providers and therapists to address sexual health concerns in overweight and obese patients.

“Not only might they – in a non-castigating and supporting manner – point out the biological and psychological effects that decrease the desire for sexual engagement and sexual response, but they also are well-positioned to discuss other health-related complications from obesity,” the authors wrote.


Sexual Medicine Reviews

Rowland, David L, PhD, et al.

“Sexual Function, Obesity, and Weight Loss in Men and Women”

(Full-text. Published online: April 26, 2017)


Benzocaine Wipes Might Help Men with Premature Ejaculation

Jun 13, 2017

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Yoga May Help Prostate Cancer Patients Cope with Radiation Side Effects

May 24, 2017

Yoga May Help Prostate Cancer Patients Cope with Radiation Side Effects

Men coping with side effects from prostate cancer treatment might want to consider taking a yoga class.

In a recent study, men who practiced yoga while receiving external beam radiation therapy became less fatigued than men who didn’t. Their sexual and urinary function remained stable, too.

External beam radiation therapy uses high-energy beams to weaken cancer cells’ ability to divide and grow. While the therapy is effective, many men experience side effects, including fatigue, sexual problems (such as erectile dysfunction), and trouble with urination.

Fifty men with localized prostate cancer participated in the study. (Their cancer had not spread to other parts of the body.) All of them underwent external beam radiation therapy for six to nine weeks. During this time, twenty-two men attended yoga classes twice a week. Twenty-eight did not.

The men in the yoga group practiced the Eischens type of yoga, which focuses more on energy than other types. Each 75-minute session included a variety of poses in sitting, standing, and reclining positions. The men used props, and poses were modified as needed.

Shortly before the study began and throughout the study period, all the men completed questionnaires designed to assess their levels of fatigue, sexual function, urinary function, and quality of life.

The men had similar levels of fatigue at the start of the study. Over time, however, the men in the yoga group had less fatigue while the men who did not practice yoga became more fatigued.

“Levels of patient-reported fatigue are expected to increase by around the fourth or fifth week of a typical treatment course, but that did not happen in the yoga group,” lead researcher Neha Vapiwala, MD, an associate professor of radiation oncology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania said in a news release.

“Both the severity of the fatigue as well as the patients’ ability to go about their normal lives appeared to be positively impacted in the yoga group,” Dr. Vapiwala added.

Erectile function appeared to be somewhat better for the yoga group, too. The research team used the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) questionnaire to assess this aspect of the men’s sexual health. The IIEF is scored on a 1 – 25 point scale. Men with scores under 12 points are usually diagnosed with moderate to severe ED. In this study, scores for men in both groups were around 11 points starting out. Over time, scores for the men in the yoga group stayed roughly the same, but men in the non-yoga group saw their scores decrease.

Urinary function seemed to be better for men in the yoga group, too. It’s possible that strengthening pelvic floor muscles through yoga could help both sexual and urinary function, Dr. Vapiwala suggested.

As treatment continued, both groups of men improved in their emotional well-being, although this result happened more quickly for the yoga group.

The study was published online by the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, and Physics in March as an article in press.



Preidt, Robert

“It's Yoga to the Rescue for Prostate Cancer Patients”

(April 13, 2017)

International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biolog7, and Physics

Ben-Josef, Avital Mazar, DMD, E- RYT, et al.

“Impact of Eischens Yoga During Radiation Therapy on Prostate Cancer Patient Symptoms and Quality of Life: A Randomized Phase II Trial”

(Article in press. Abstract. Published online: March 30, 2017)

Mayo Clinic

“External beam radiation for prostate cancer”

(May 18, 2016)


Mulcahy, Nick

“Really, Men With Prostate Cancer Do Yoga”

(April 18, 2017)

Penn Medicine News

“Clinical Trial Shows Benefit of Yoga for Side Effects of Prostate Cancer Treatment”

(News release. April 6, 2017)

MacMillan, Amanda

“Yoga May Help the Side Effects of Cancer Treatment”

(April 10, 2017)


Survey: Condom Use Rates are Low in the U.S.

May 09, 2017

Survey: Condom Use Rates are Low in the U.S.

Only one in four Americans between the ages of 18 and 44 used a condom the last time they had sex, according to a recent survey.

Condom use among people at high risk for HIV is also low, the survey revealed.

Condoms are known to reduce the risk of unplanned pregnancy and transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), like HIV, chlamydia, and syphilis. But how prevalent is condom use?

Researchers analyzed data from the National Survey of Family Growth, which has been collecting information on marriage, divorce, family life, and reproductive health in the United States since 1973. For this study, the researchers focused on the 2006 – 2010 and 2011 – 2013 survey cycles.

In particular, the researchers looked at data for heterosexuals between the ages of 18 and 44 who had had vaginal or anal sex within the year before their survey interview. In total, the respondents included 13,588 women and 10,904 men, and answers pertained only to their last sexual encounter.

They also considered “HIV-related sexual risk behaviors,” which included sex with four or more opposite-sex partners, sex in exchange for money or drugs, sex with an injection drug user, sex with an HIV-positive partner, and sex with a partner who had had other partners. Men who had sex with men and women who had sex with men who had sex with men were also considered at higher risk.

Overall, the rate of condom use was just under 25%. For those who reported at least one risky behavior, the rate was 34%.

Younger people were more likely to use condoms, the researchers noted, perhaps because public health campaigns promoting safe sex are often targeted to this age group. “Continued efforts are needed for sexual health promotion in older individuals,” they wrote.

Condom use was also higher among single respondents; 51% of single men and 37% of single women said they had used a condom the last time they had had sex. The rate for married or cohabitating men was 16%; for women, it was 13%. Couples in committed relationships might be less likely to use condoms because they are trying to conceive, using other forms of birth control, or in monogamous relationships.

Regardless of marital status, healthcare providers should counsel patients on condom use, especially if they engage in high risk sexual behaviors, the authors said, explaining that women should be able to negotiate condom use if necessary.

The researchers also expressed concern that condom use was lower for those who had anal sex. People may not think they need condoms for anal sex, since it cannot lead to pregnancy. But they might not know that STIs can still be spread through anal sex.

The researchers acknowledged some limitations. For example, respondents who did not use condoms at their last sexual encounter could still be regular condom users.

Still, the authors saw a need for continued education on condom use, especially people at risk for HIV, those who engage in anal sex, and those with many sex partners.

The study was published last month in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.


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

“About the National Survey of Family Growth”

(Page last updated: May 13, 2016)

The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Nasrullah, MD, MPH, PhD, et al.

“Factors Associated With Condom Use Among Sexually Active US Adults, National Survey of Family Growth, 2006–2010 and 2011–2013”

(Full-text. April 2017)


Americans Are Having Less Sex Nowadays

Apr 25, 2017

Americans Are Having Less Sex Nowadays

A new study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior has found that Americans are having less sex than they did two decades ago. And partnered people – those who are married or living together - have seen a significant decline in sexual frequency.

The findings are based on data from the General Social Survey (GSS). Started in 1972, the GSS tracks sociological trends in the United States, addressing topics like crime, finances, civil liberties, and stress. This particular study involved 26,620 Americans who participated in the survey between 1989 and 2014.

Overall, the study found that during between 2010 and 2014, Americans had sex nine fewer times each year compared to the period of 1995 to 1999. This was the case for all genders and races and in all areas of the country. Educational level and work status did not appear to make a difference either.

Other key findings include the following:

·         The largest drop in sexual frequency occurred among people in their 50s, those who had children in school, and those who did not watch pornography.

·         Millennials and the following generation (iGen or Generation Z) had less sex than their counterparts born in the 1930s did at the same age.

·         On average, twentysomethings had sex over 80 times each year. This rate fell to about 60 times for people in their mid-40s and 20 times for those in their mid-60s.

·         Respondents had sex most often around age 25. After that, frequency decreased by about 3.2% each year.

·         Sexual activity declined for partnered people, which “[reduces] the marital/partnered advantage,” the authors wrote.

“These data show a major reversal from previous decades in terms of marriage and sex,” lead author Jean M. Twenge said in an interview with San Diego State University. Dr. Twenge is a professor of psychology at that school.

“In the 1990s, married people had sex more times per year than never-married people, but by the mid-2000s that reversed, with the never-married having more sex,” she added.

Why are Americans having less sex? The study didn’t specify a cause, but the authors did suggest some possibilities, including more time with other forms of entertainment, like social media and technology. Depression might also be a factor, especially when antidepressants can have sexual side effects.

The study authors also explained that fewer Americans are in couples nowadays and single people tend to have sex less often.

Interestingly, longer work hours and use of pornography were not associated with a decline in sexual activity, according to the study. In fact, respondents who worked longer hours tended to have more sex.


Archives of Sexual Behavior

Twenge, Jean M., et al.

“Declines in Sexual Frequency among American Adults, 1989–2014”

(Published online: March 6, 2017)

National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago

“About the GSS”

The New York Times

Haag, Matthew

“It’s Not Just You. Americans Are Having Less Sex.”

(March 8, 2017)

San Diego State University

Jacobs, Gina

“New Study Shows Americans are Having Sex Less Often”

(March 7, 2017)

Washington Post

Bahrampour, Tara

“Americans are having less sex than they once did”

(March 7, 2017)


BPH Drugs Associated with Higher Risk of Depression and Self-Harm but Not Suicide

Apr 12, 2017

BPH Drugs Associated with Higher Risk of Depression and Self-Harm but Not Suicide

Men who take certain medications for an enlarged prostate or hair loss could be at higher risk for depression and self-harm, according to new research published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

However, they are not at higher risk for suicide, the study suggests.

The drugs in question are known as 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors (5ARIs) and are often prescribed for each condition. Two examples are finasteride and dutasteride.

When a man has an enlarged prostate (also called benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH) the tissue of his prostate gland grows inward. Sometimes, it grows so much that it squeezes the urethra, making urination difficult.

Interest in 5ARIs and men’s mental health has been present for several years, with both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Health Canada expressing concerns. But little was known about the potential link.

For this study, researchers used medical databases to identify 93,197 men in Ontario who had filled a prescription for an 5ARI between 2003 and 2013. All of the men were over 66 years old.

The researchers then identified an equal number of men of the same age who had not filled a 5ARI prescription. These men matched the first group in age, health status, and use of other medications.

They found that the men who took 5ARIs were at higher risk for self-harm during the first 18 months after they started the drug. This risk appeared to drop after the 18-month point.

Similarly, the men who took 5ARIs were also at higher risk for depression.

After 18 months, depression risk decreased, although it was still higher than the depression risk among men who didn’t take 5ARIs.

While the study shows an increased risk for self-harm and depression, the overall risk is actually quite low. Lead author Dr. Blayne Welk of Ontario’s Western University and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences told Reuters Health that “you’d need 470 men to take this medication for a full year to have a new case of depression.”

Overall, the study authors concluded that the benefits of 5ARIs “likely” outweigh the risks. However, men taking these medications should be aware of these side effects and seek help immediately should they start feeling depressed.

“The relatively small magnitude of these risks should not dissuade physicians from prescribing these medications in appropriate patients. This research may help physicians counsel patients on the risks of 5ARIs,” the authors wrote.


JAMA Internal Medicine

Welk, Blayne, MD, MSc, et al.

“Association of Suicidality and Depression With 5α-Reductase Inhibitors”

(Full-text. March 20, 2017)

Reuters Health

Seaman, Andrew M.

“Prostate, hair loss drugs tied to mental health risk, but not suicide”

(March 21, 2017)


Past Childhood Experiences Could Influence Sexual Satisfaction in Adulthood

Mar 29, 2017

Past Childhood Experiences Could Influence Sexual Satisfaction in Adulthood

When someone has a sexual problem, it’s not unusual for there to be lots of factors involved. There could be a medical issue, relationship strain, or miscommunication between partners. Sometimes, events that take place during childhood come into play.

Many sex therapy patients work through past childhood sexual abuse. But can other childhood experiences add to sexual problems? Recently, scientists addressed this in relation to sexual satisfaction in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

The researchers focused on what they called cumulative adverse childhood experiences (CACEs). While such experiences do include sexual abuse, they also include other negative experiences caused by adults:

·         Physical abuse – slapping, burning, hitting, kicking, pushing, and shoving

·         Psychological abuse – ridiculing, humiliating, making the child feel unimportant

·         Psychological neglect – ignoring the child

·         Physical neglect – shutting the child in a room for a long duration, refusing to provide food, clean clothing, baths, and medical care

Witnessing violence between parents (or caretaking adults) and bullying by other children also fall into the CACE category.

Three hundred seven people took part in the study. All of them were sex therapy clients and their average age was 38 years. Fifty-five percent were women. The participants were seeking help for a variety of sexual issues, including low desire, erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, and problems with orgasms and sexual pain.

The group completed a number of medical questionnaires designed to assess CACEs (experiences before age 18), psychological health, and relationships. The participants’ feelings about their own sexual relationships were evaluated with a tool called the Global Measure of Sexual Satisfaction (GMSEX). Scores on this questionnaire can range from 5 to 35. Higher scores on the GMSEX mean greater sexual satisfaction.

The researchers found that 58% of the women and 52% of the men had at least four types of CACEs. Sexual satisfaction was similar for both men and women, with average GMSEX scores of 21 points.

The results could help sex therapists better understand their patients’ backgrounds, the authors suggested, noting that a “one-size-fits-all approach to sexual difficulty treatment, especially in CACE survivors, might not be optimal.”

They added that future research could concentrate on how CACEs affect the sex lives of couples as well as individuals.


The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Bigras, Noémie, MA, et al.

“Cumulative Adverse Childhood Experiences and Sexual Satisfaction in Sex Therapy Patients: What Role for Symptom Complexity?”

(Full-text. Published online: February 12, 2017)


About 2 in 3 Women Would Take a Sex Health Drug

Mar 21, 2017

About 2 in 3 Women Would Take a Sex Health Drug

Are women interested in sexuality-boosting medication? And if so, what results would they like to see? These questions and more were the focus of a survey published recently in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

While sex health drugs like Viagra have been available for men for several years, medications for women are fairly new. Generally, women’s sexual problems have been treated with counseling and therapy.

In August 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved flibanserin (Addyi) for the treatment of hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). Women with HSDD struggle with low libido that can’t be explained by another medical condition or a medication they’re taking. The situation causes great distress and can affect a woman’s personal relationships.

Despite its goal of improving sexual desire in women with HSDD and increasing the number of positive sexual encounters, flibanserin has not been widely used. This study assessed women’s feelings about sexuality boosting medication.

The researchers surveyed 159 women in Switzerland. The women ranged in age from 18 to 73 years with an average age of 32 years. They answered a wide range of questions about their sex lives, relationships, and personalities. They also answered questions on their willingness to take a sex health drug and what they would expect from such a medication.

Sixty-one percent said they were open to the idea, and women with poorer sexual function were more likely to feel this way. Of those who would not take a sex health drug, 45% said they did not want to use a medication for sexual purposes and 35% said they were satisfied with their level of sexual desire, so they would have no need for a drug.

When asked which particular aspects of sex they would like to see enhanced, orgasm frequency and intensity were the two top responses. Increased desire was another concern. Overall, about three-quarters said they would like to improve their sexual satisfaction and almost half hoped they could have more fun during sex.

The researchers found that women who were more conscientious were less willing to take a sex health drug, in contrast to less conscientious women who were more willing. The latter group might have had a “more flexible and spontaneous mindset,” the authors noted.

The researchers were unsure whether medications for sexual problems would become the norm, however.

“In recent decades, the female sexual dysfunction treatment paradigm has been mostly limited to cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy, and according to our study data, it is still doubtful whether expanding it to include drug treatment would provide additional benefits,” they wrote.


The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Gutsche, Melanie, MSc and Andrea Burri, PhD

“What Women Want—An Explorative Study on Women's Attitudes Toward Sexuality Boosting Medication in a Sample of Swiss Women”

(Full-text. Published online: January 24, 2017)


After-Sex Antibiotic Could Reduce STI Rates

Mar 07, 2017

After-Sex Antibiotic Could Reduce STI Rates

Taking the antibiotic doxycycline within 72 hours of condomless sex might reduce the risk of sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) in men who have sex with men (MSM), according to a new study.

The findings, presented last month at the 2017 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle, found that risk was cut by 47%. But the researchers cautioned that more study is needed before this strategy can be recommended to doctors and patients.

The study involved 232 MSM who did not have HIV, but were taking on-demand medications for HIV prevention. Half of the men were instructed to take two 100-mg pills of doxycycline within 72 hours of having sex without a condom, not exceeding 6 pills per week. The other half did not take doxycycline. All of the men were given condoms and received safe sex counseling. Every eight weeks, they were tested for HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis. The median follow-up time was 8.7 months.

Overall, 73 patients contracted a bacterial STI – 28 in the doxycycline group and 45 in the non-treatment group. 71% of the STIs were asymptomatic, which means that the men did not have any symptoms, nor did they feel sick.

Seven of the men in the doxycycline group developed chlamydia infections, compared to 21 in the non-treatment group. Three men taking doxycycline developed syphilis, compared to 10 in the non-treatment group.

Rates of gonorrhea were not much different between the groups, with 25 men in the doxycycline group and 22 in the non-treatment group developing infections.

Side effects did not appear to be a problem for either group, although more men in the doxycycline group experienced gastrointestinal pain, nausea, or vomiting.

There is still more to learn about the protocol, however. Scientists are not sure how well the strategy would work over a longer term. Also, it is unclear whether antibiotic resistance would be a problem and, if so, to what extent.



Newman, Emily

“Research shows 47% reduction in STIs among gay men who took doxycycline after sex”

(February 16, 2017)

Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections 2017

Molina, Jean-Michel, et al.

“On Demand Post Exposure Prophylaxis with Doxycycline for MSM Enrolled in a Prep Trial”

(Abstract 91LB. Presented February 16, 2017)

Medscape Medical News

Boerner, Heather

“Antibiotics After Sex Nearly Halves Incidence of STIs”

(February 16, 2017)


FDA Approves Intrarosa for Sexual Pain in Postmenopausal Women

Feb 21, 2017

FDA Approves Intrarosa for Sexual Pain in Postmenopausal Women

Postmenopausal women who experience moderate to severe pain during intercourse may have a new treatment option.

Last November, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a drug called Intrarosa (prasterone) for sexual pain caused by vulvar and vaginal atrophy (VVA) due to menopause.

When a woman goes through menopause, her body starts producing less estrogen, a hormone that keeps the vagina and vulva healthy. In particular, estrogen helps keep the vagina flexible and lubricated during sex.

For many women, declining estrogen levels bring about cellular changes to the vagina and vulva, leaving them dry and brittle. With poorer lubrication and less elasticity in the vagina, intercourse can become uncomfortable or painful.

The active ingredient in Intrarosa is the hormone dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), which changes to estrogen. The drug is administered as a daily vaginal insert. In general, women are advised to place one insert into the vagina each night at bedtime, using a special applicator.  

The effectiveness of Intrarosa was tested in two 12-week clinical trials of 406 postmenopausal women between the ages of 40 and 80 who had moderate to severe pain during intercourse. The women were randomly assigned to try Intrarosa or a placebo insert. Those who used Intrarosa reported less severe sexual pain.

The most common side effects were vaginal discharge and an abnormal Pap smear.

Women who have vaginal bleeding should talk to their doctor before using Intrarosa. In addition, women who have a history of breast cancer should not use Intrarosa at all.

The FDA warns that while Intrarosa contains DHEA and has been approved to treat sexual pain in postmenopausal women, other products containing DHEA, such as dietary supplements, have not.

“The efficacy and safety of those products have not been established for diagnosing, curing, mitigating, treating, or preventing of any disease,” the agency said in a press statement.


Mayo Clinic

“DHEA – Background”

(Last updated: July 1, 2014)

MedPage Today

Walker, Molly

“FDA Approves Intrarosa for Sexual Symptoms of Menopause”

(November 17, 2016)

“Vulvar and Vaginal Atrophy”

(June 26, 2013)

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

“FDA approves Intrarosa for postmenopausal women experiencing pain during sex”

(News Release. November 17, 2016)

"Full Prescribing Information”

(Revised: November 2016)


Heat-activated Penile Implant Could Be Available in 5 – 10 Years

Feb 07, 2017

Heat-activated Penile Implant Could Be Available in 5 – 10 Years

Scientists have created a heat-activated penile implant that, in time, could be an additional option for men with erectile dysfunction (ED).

ED – the inability to get and keep an erection firm enough for sex - is a common problem for men, especially as they get older. It is often a complication of other medical conditions, like diabetes or heart disease. Men may also develop ED after cancer treatment or an injury to the genitals.

Several ED treatments are available, including oral medications like Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis. However, these medications do not work for all men, and some patients cannot take them because of interactions with other drugs. Injections, suppositories, vacuum devices are alternatives, but they aren’t suitable for all men.

When these ED treatment options aren’t viable, many men turn to penile implants. Nowadays, the most popular type of implant an inflatable device. Spongy tissue in the penis is replaced with cylinders. When a man wants an erection, he activates a special pump in the scrotum, which fills the cylinders with fluid. When he is finished with sexual activity, he can deactivate the pump and the penis goes flaccid again.

While effective, inflatable implants require a rather complicated surgical process because they have separate components. Placing the heat-activated implant could be simpler, scientists say.

The new implant is made from a nickel-titanium alloy called Nitinol, a flexible metal with other medical applications. For example, stents – tubes used to keep arteries open – are sometimes made of Nitinol.

Nitinol’s chemical properties allow it to “remember” a different shape and assume that shape when heated. In the case of a penile implant, a man would wave a remote-control device over his penis when he wanted an erection. The device would heat the implant to a temperature just a few degrees above the man’s normal body temperature, causing the implant to expand in length and girth. The device would then be deactivated when desired.

Study co-author Brian Le of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his colleagues are now working on the remote-control device. If further studies and trials are successful, the implant could be available in five to ten years.

“We’re hoping that, with a better device, a better patient experience, and a simpler surgery, more urologists would perform this operation, and more patients would want to try the device, “Dr. Le said in a university press release.

Results of the scientists’ work with a Nitinol prototype implant were published online in September in the journal Urology.


University of Wisconsin-Madison

Smith, Susan Lampert

“Heat-activated penile implant might restore sexual function in men with E.D.”

(December 28, 2016)


Le, Brian, et al.

“A Novel Thermal-activated Shape Memory Penile Prosthesis: Comparative Mechanical Testing”

(Full-text. Published online: September 14, 2016)


Radiation to Penile Bulb Might Result in Severe ED, Study Suggests

Jan 24, 2017

Radiation to Penile Bulb Might Result in Severe ED, Study Suggests

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common side effect of radiation therapy for prostate cancer. However, new research suggests that avoiding the penile bulb – the base of the penis – during treatment might decrease ED severity.

The study, sponsored by the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London, focused specifically on image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT). This type of therapy uses images of the prostate to help doctors pinpoint exactly where the radiation should be targeted, improving the accuracy of the treatment.

Could aiming for – or avoiding – certain areas affect a man’s erections after treatment? Researchers turned to a larger study on prostate cancer (the CHHiP trial) to learn more.

They looked at data from a subgroup of 182 men who had localized prostate cancer. (Localized means that prostate cancer cells had not spread to other parts of the body.) None of the men had ED before undergoing IGRT. Between 35 and 55 months after treatment, the men completed questionnaires related to their sexual health and erections.

The scientists also wanted to know how much radiation each man had received on his penile bulb. This information was available for 90 men.

Forty-one men from this group had severe ED after IGRT. They also had the highest amounts of radiation directed at the penile bulb.

The findings suggest that avoiding the penile bulb during IGRT would have sexual benefits for men with localized prostate cancer. However, the results need to be validated with more research, the authors said.

“While finding new and better treatments for men with prostate cancer is important, it’s also essential that we find ways of diminishing the side-effects of these treatments,” said researcher David Dearnaley in an ICR news article.

Professor Dearnaley is Professor of Uro-Oncology at the ICR and Consultant Clinical Oncologist at The Royal Mardsen hospital

He added, “Erectile dysfunction can be very distressing for the patients I deal with every day. If doctors can plan radiotherapy treatment so that it avoids the penile bulb – the area at the base of the penis – we may have a real chance of reducing the severity of erectile dysfunction in these patients.”

The study was published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology in October 2016.


American Cancer Society

“Radiation therapy for prostate cancer”

(Last revised: March 11, 2016)

“Bulb of penis”

(Reviewed: March 31, 2015)

The Institute of Cancer Research

“Avoiding penile bulb with radiotherapy could save men with prostate cancer from harmful side-effects”

(November 28, 2016)

International Journal of Radiation Oncology

Murray, J., et al.

“Effect of Dose and Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) on Patient-Reported Sexual Function in Prostate Radiation Therapy”

(Full-text. October 1, 2016)

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

“Image-Guided Radiation Therapy”

(Last updated: April 21, 2016)

Prostate Cancer News Today

Fernandes, Joana, PhD

“Prostate Radiation Therapy Induces Changes in Penile Bulb, Causing Erectile Dysfunction”

(December 5, 2016)


What Should Physical Therapists Know About Female Sexual Pain?

Jan 09, 2017

What Should Physical Therapists Know About Female Sexual Pain?

Understanding the biopsychosocial aspects of sexual pain could help physical therapists treat women, according to a recent study in Sexual Medicine Reviews.

Female sexual pain is a common – but complex - problem for women. Physical causes can include gynecological, urinary, gastrointestinal, and muscular problems. Sometimes, a combination of these factors leads to sexual pain.

Cultural and religious beliefs may also be involved. Women may not feel comfortable with the ideas of discussing or treating sexual pain. Healthcare providers may feel uncomfortable too, and they might not refer patients to appropriate specialists.

The study authors pinpointed several areas to consider when assessing and treating female sexual pain.

First, a complete physical examination that includes the vaginal, rectal, vulvar, and anal areas is essential. Other medical conditions, such as hormonal and autoimmune disorders should also be evaluated.

Providers should also consider how the central nervous system responds to the anticipation of pain. If a woman perceives a threat to her body, her central nervous system may react with a “protective pain response that is unrelated to the health of the pelvic muscles, skin or the visceral systems and might be the driving force in the perpetuation of hypersensitivity,” the authors explained.

Second, it is important for patients to feel some hope that their pain can be successfully treated. Choosing certain words to describe the pain, such as persistent instead of chronic is one approach.

Third, taking a complete patient history can provide helpful clues that can inform treatment. “Through a careful history, the clinician might be able to identify personal challenges or threats that were present for the patient when the pain began,” the authors noted. A number of validated assessment tools can be used as well.

Fourth, patients can benefit from understanding pain biology and, in turn, re-think their responses to pain and become less fearful. “Educating patients about pain can change their pain levels more than any current modality for persistent pain,” the authors wrote.

They suggested that physical therapists undergo further training in these areas so that they can address the many complexities of female sexual pain.


Sexual Medicine Reviews

Vandyken, Carolyn, PT, Cred MDT, CCMA (Acup) and Sandra Hilton, PT, DPT, MS

“Physical Therapy in the Treatment of Central Pain Mechanisms for Female Sexual Pain”

(Published online: August 3, 2016)


Kink-oriented Individuals Address Healthcare Concerns

Dec 19, 2016

Kink-oriented Individuals Address Healthcare Concerns

Individuals who engage in kink sexual behaviors can have special healthcare needs, but they may not always see a doctor because of the stigma associated with kink sexuality, experts report.

The word kink is used to describe sexual activities outside the mainstream. These activities can include bondage, discipline, domination and submission as well as sadism and masochism. Sometimes the acronym BDSM is used to refer to these activities.

Kink sexual practices often involve power roles, with one participant taking a dominant or “top” role, while the other is in a more submissive or “bottom” position. Activities are always between consenting adults, and the specifics are usually negotiated between partners. However, some activities, such as punching or whipping, can cause injury or increase the risk of sexually-transmitted infections or blood-borne illnesses.

Seeking care for kink-related health concerns can be a challenge for those who participate. Recently, a team of healthcare providers and researchers formed the Kink Health Project to learn more about the kink community and their experience with medical care in the San Francisco Bay area.

The team conducted focus groups and interviews with 115 kink-orientated individuals between the ages of 23 and 69. The participants’ average age was 46 years. Forty-four percent of them had seen a doctor for a kink-related issue. Among those who had a primary doctor, only 38% had revealed their kink orientation to that doctor.

Bruising and open wounds were some of the more common kink-related health concerns. For example, one participant mentioned using a knife to scratch his partner, causing moderate bleeding. Others reported having multiple partners and non-traditional social structures, such as non-monogamous relationships, that healthcare providers might not understand.

Often, participants preferred to seek medical advice within the kink community rather than from a doctor. Many were afraid of being judged for their behavior. Some would lie to doctors about the source of their concerns. For example, one man told his doctor that his bruises were caused by rugby.

Fear of being investigated for abuse was a serious concern among the participants. “I know that what I’m doing is safe and consensual,” one woman explained, “but I worry if I ever went to the doctor and was covered with bruises they would not understand that they were consensual behaviors.”

However, many participants reported positive experiences with their doctors. One woman described her OB/GYN, who was open to explaining what types of kink activities would be safe during pregnancy.

The authors acknowledged that their findings may not apply to all everyone who engages in kink behaviors. “San Francisco is well known for its sexual open-mindedness, and we could have encountered different results if we had conducted the study in other parts of the United States or in other nations,” they wrote.

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


The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Waldura, Jessica F., MD, et al.

“Fifty Shades of Stigma: Exploring the Health Care Experiences of Kink-Oriented Patients”

(Full-text. First published online: October 27, 2016)


Study Examines Body Esteem in Female Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse

Dec 06, 2016

Study Examines Body Esteem in Female Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse

Body esteem tends to be lower in women who have been sexually abused as children, experts say. And this lower esteem can lead to more inhibited sexual responses.

Similar to self-esteem, body esteem refers to how people feel about their body. Do they feel attractive and healthy? Or do they find fault with certain body parts? These are common questions, but for women with a history of childhood sexual abuse, body esteem is particularly important. Studies have shown that women in this category feel less attractive than women without a history of abuse.

A new study, recently published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, examined how body esteem influenced feelings about sex in women with and without a history of childhood sexual abuse.

Two hundred twenty-two women participated in the study. One hundred thirty-nine of them had a history of childhood sexual abuse, defined as any unwanted sexual contact before the age of 18. The remaining 83 women had not experienced sexual abuse as children. The women ranged in age from 18 to 64; their average age was 34 years.

The participants completed several questionnaires concerning their experiences with childhood sexual abuse, depression, body esteem, and feelings about sex.

When compared to the women who had not been abused, those with an abuse history were more likely to feel depressed and have significantly lower body esteem, especially in terms of sexual attractiveness. They also tended to feel more inhibited about sex.

It’s possible that the abused women had lower body esteem because they associated specific body parts with the abuse, the authors noted.

They added that women who have experienced sexual abuse often feel anxious and fearful in sexual situations, which might prompt them to “avoid the threat.”

The authors acknowledged some limitations in their research. For example, they did not assess to what degree a woman’s religious beliefs affected her attitudes toward sex. They also did not know if women received counseling for childhood sexual abuse before the study.

Comparing these results to those of women who had been abused (but not sexually) during childhood might provide further insights, they said.

The authors also suggested that healthcare providers who work with adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse consider building positive body esteem into their treatment plans.


The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Kilimnik, Chelsea D., MSc and Cindy M. Meston, PhD

“Role of Body Esteem in the Sexual Excitation and Inhibition Responses of Women With and Without a History of Childhood Sexual Abuse”

(Full-text. First published online: September 27, 2016)


Survey Addresses Patients’ Views on Sexual Health

Nov 22, 2016

Survey Addresses Patients’ Views on Sexual Health

How important is sexual health and satisfaction to a person’s quality of life? The answer depends on age, gender, sexual activity status, and overall health, according to a new study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

Sexual dysfunction - such as erectile dysfunction (ED) in men and painful intercourse for women – are common, especially for people with medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, depression, and anxiety. But sexual problems aren’t always discussed during doctor’s appointments. Some assume that doctors or patients will bring up the subject if it’s really important.

The importance of sex to one’s overall well-being hasn’t been widely studied by medical researchers. A group of American scientists decided to learn more.

They asked 3,515 people to complete an online questionnaire. The group was almost equally split between men and women, and their average age was 49.

Importance of Sexual Health

Among the entire group, about 43% of the women and 62% of the men said that sexual health was important to their quality of life. Participants who were in better overall health tended to rate sexual health as important, too.

Respondents who were not sexually active were less likely to consider sexual health to be highly important.

The researchers also examined how specific health conditions (arthritis, rheumatism, cancer, heart disease, depression, anxiety, diabetes, and high blood pressure) affected the respondents’ views. However, none of these conditions influenced the ratings.

Sexual Satisfaction

What factors contributed to satisfaction with one’s sex life? To find out, the authors analyzed information from the 55% of the men and 45% of the women who said they’d been sexually active within the last month. Findings were based on scores on one portion of the questionnaire designed to evaluate sex life satisfaction.

They found that people in their mid-to-late thirties were the most satisfied with their sex life. After age 70, satisfaction rates decreased. Health status was also an important factor, as people who rated their overall health as excellent were more satisfied than those who said they were in fair or poor health.

Certain health conditions did influence satisfaction with one’s sex life. High blood pressure was the biggest factor for women. For men, depression and anxiety had the greatest impact on satisfaction.

The authors pointed out that physical health isn’t the only factor that determines satisfaction with one’s sex life. Beliefs on what makes a satisfying sex life are quite personal, they noted.

Race was a factor only for men. Latino and Hispanic men were more likely to say sexual health was highly important, and black men had better scores on the sex life satisfaction assessment.

The survey results can be useful for healthcare providers, the authors explained, recommending that practices have “resources in place” to address patients’ sexual health issues.

“These resources should be available for all patients across the lifespan,” they added.   


The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Kathryn E. Flynn, PhD, et al.

“Sexual Satisfaction and the Importance of Sexual Health to Quality of Life Throughout the Life Course of U.S. Adults”

(Full-text. Published online: September 23, 2016)


Can Disclosing a Sexual Assault Help a Woman’s Sexual Functioning?

Nov 08, 2016

Can Disclosing a Sexual Assault Help a Woman’s Sexual Functioning?

It’s not uncommon for women to have sexual problems after a sexual assault. However, new research suggests disclosing the assault to someone might alleviate those problems to some extent.

Experts estimate that between 13% and 45% of women will be the victim of an adult sexual assault (ASA) at some point in their lives. ASA is defined as “any unwanted or non-consensual sexual experience” occurring after age 14.

But not all women tell others about their assault. Some worry that others won’t believe them or that they’ll be blamed for what happened.

Some women find that their sexual interest wanes after ASA. They might have trouble becoming aroused or reaching orgasm. Or sex might be painful. These issues might last for years.

Researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle wanted to know more about how disclosing an assault might affect a woman’s sexual health later on. They recruited 652 women between the ages of 21 and 30 to participate in an online survey. About three-quarters of the women had experienced a sexual assault. Of these, 83% had disclosed the assault to someone.

The scientists found that disclosing the assault could indirectly help with sexual function by lessening the impact of trauma symptoms. It’s possible that exposure to positive sexual experiences could create a “corrective learning experience” for the women, in which they can focus on the positive aspects of sex.

More research is still needed, the authors added. Future studies might focus on ASA victims’ feelings about non-penetrative sexual activities, such as oral sex. They might examine whether the time frame between assault and disclosure plays a role or how the reactions to the disclosures might ultimately affect the women.


The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Staples, Jennifer M., MS, et al.

“Sexual Assault Disclosure and Sexual Functioning: The Role of Trauma Symptomatology”

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


FDA Announces New Testosterone Labeling Rules

Nov 01, 2016

FDA Announces New Testosterone Labeling Rules

Labels on all testosterone products must now include information about the risk of abuse, according to a ruling issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last week.

The agency explained that the labeling change stems from published literature and case reports on the abuse of testosterone and other anabolic androgenic steroids.

Produced by the testes, testosterone is an important hormone for men. It creates and maintains many of their masculine characteristics, including facial hair, muscle mass, and a deep voice. It is also involved with sex drive and erections.

Doctors may prescribe testosterone when men’s bodies don’t produce enough of it on their own. For example, certain genetic conditions, chemotherapy, infection, and injury to the testes can all affect a man’s testosterone production. Currently, the FDA approves the use of testosterone for men in these situations.

However, testosterone levels naturally decline as men get older. As a result, men may feel weak, fatigued, and irritable. They may also lose interest in sex and have problems getting erections. Sometimes, doctors prescribe testosterone to treat these symptoms.

Some men abuse testosterone, taking more than the recommended dose and/or taking it with other anabolic androgenic steroids. Some athletes and bodybuilders take testosterone or other drugs to enhance their performance.

The FDA reports that testosterone abuse can damage the heart, brain, liver, and the endocrine system. It may also affect a man’s mental health.

“Reported serious adverse outcomes include heart attack, heart failure, stroke, depression, hostility, aggression, liver toxicity, and male infertility,” the FDA said in a press statement, adding that men undergoing withdrawal from testosterone may have symptoms such as “depression, fatigue, irritability, loss of appetite, decreased libido, and insomnia.”

The FDA also advised healthcare providers to measure a man’s testosterone if they suspect he is abusing the hormone.


Rettner, Rachel

“Prescription Testosterone Gets New Warning”

(October 25, 2016)


MD Magazine

Black, Ryan

“FDA Announces Stern New Warning Labels for Testosterone Treatments”

(October 25, 2016)



Brooks, Megan

“FDA Adds New Warnings to All Testosterone Product Labels”

(October 25, 2016)



Clarke, Toni

“U.S. FDA adds abuse warning to prescription testosterone”

(October 25, 2016)


U.S. Food and Drug Administration

“FDA approves new changes to testosterone labeling regarding the risks associated with abuse and dependence of testosterone and other anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS)”

(Press statement. October 25, 2016)


Women’s Sexuality Affected by Body Image and Relationship Quality, Study Says

Oct 18, 2016

Women’s Sexuality Affected by Body Image and Relationship Quality, Study Says

A woman’s acceptance of her body and the quality of her relationship with her sex partner may influence her overall sexual function, according to a new study.

Researchers from Germany noted that good sexual health involves a person’s “emotional, mental, and social well-being” and is so much more than simply physical function. To learn more, they designed a study to examine the roles of body image and partnership quality.

The participants were 2,685 women age 35 or under who were medical students in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Their average age was 24 years. Each woman completed an anonymous online questionnaire and answered questions about their age, weight, relationship status, partnership quality, physical health, smoking status, alcohol use, history of pregnancy, and use of birth control pills.

The assessment included the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI), a tool that is often used in medical research on female sexuality. The FSFI includes questions on a woman’s experiences with desire, arousal, vaginal lubrication, sexual satisfaction, pain, and orgasm during the previous four weeks. Lower scores on the FSFI correspond with poorer sexual function.

Also included was a questionnaire called the Self-Acceptance of the Body Scale, designed to help researchers learn about a person’s feelings about his or her own body. The woman were asked to rate their agreement with certain statements, such as “I would like to change certain parts of my body” and “I am satisfied with my appearance.”

The women categorized their relationship status using one of four terms: enamoredness, love, friendship, or conflicted.

Ninety-two percent of the women had been sexually active within the previous four weeks and almost three-quarters of them had been in a steady relationship during the previous six months. Based on FSFI scores, about 39% could be considered to have a sexual dysfunction. However, some experts feel that FSFI scores are not useful for women who are not sexually active. With this in mind, the researchers based their analysis only on sexually active women.

In this group, women who were in a steady partnership and had greater body self-acceptance tended to have higher FSFI scores. Those who called their relationship “enamored” or “loving” had the highest FSFI scores of all.

Single women and those who classified their sexual relationships as “friendship” or “conflicted” had lower FSFI scores.

While a cause and effect relationship could not be determined from the data, the researchers suggested that good relationships and positive body self-acceptance could act as “buffers” in certain situations. For example, single women and those in conflicted relationships might have better sexual function if they have a high degree of body self-acceptance. And having a good, steady relationship might contribute to better sexual function in women with low body self-acceptance.

Helping young women develop a positive body image might ultimately improve their sexual health, the authors wrote.

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


The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Wallwiener, Stephanie, MD, et al.

“Sexual Function Is Correlated With Body Image and Partnership Quality in Female University Students”

(Full-text. Published online: August 26, 2016)


Glaucoma and Erectile Dysfunction (ED) May Be Linked

Oct 04, 2016

Glaucoma and Erectile Dysfunction (ED) May Be Linked

Researchers from the University of British Columbia in Canada have found a link between glaucoma and erectile dysfunction (ED) – the inability to get and keep an erection firm enough for intercourse.

The study, published recently in the Journal of Glaucoma, found that men with glaucoma are over two and a half times more likely to have ED than men without the eye disease.

Glaucoma is the result of damage to the optic nerve, which is connected to the retina. When a person sees an image, the retina sends a message to the brain. The brain uses this information to interpret what is being seen. Glaucoma is often caused by excess fluid at the front of the eye, which increases pressure. But it can also be caused by inflammation and eye injury.

The scientists collected data from 128 men over age 40 who were patients at an ophthalmology clinic. Sixty-one men had open-angle glaucoma, the most common type. The remaining 67 patients did not have glaucoma.

Each man completed a questionnaire called the Index of Erectile Dysfunction (IIEF), which is commonly by scientists to assess sexual function.

Based on IIEF scores, the researchers determined that 40% of the men with glaucoma had ED. Severity of both conditions was correlated – the more severe the glaucoma, the more severe the ED.

The researchers also considered other factors that can contribute to ED, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high lipid levels, and smoking, but the association between glaucoma and ED remained.

The findings do not mean that glaucoma causes ED or vice versa. It simply means that there is an association.

It was not clear why the two conditions were related, but the scientists thought that inflammation in the blood vessels could be involved. Problems with blood flow can cause problems with the eyes and with erections.


American Academy of Ophthalmology

Boyd, Kierstan

“Causes of Glaucoma”

(December 29, 2015)


Boyd, Kierstan

“What Is Glaucoma?”

(January 10, 2015)


Journal of Glaucoma

Law, Geoffrey BScH, et al.

“Correlation in Severity Between Glaucoma and Erectile Dysfunction”

(Abstract. September 2016)


National Post

Blackwell, Tom

“Glaucoma and impotence unexpectedly linked in new study from UBC”

(August 29, 2016)


Does a Man’s Sexual Interest Affect His Partner’s Sexual Function?

Sep 21, 2016

Does a Man’s Sexual Interest Affect His Partner’s Sexual Function?

How might a man’s sexual issue affect the sexuality of his female partner? It’s a complicated question, but a new study by Italian scientists suggests that the way women perceive their partner’s sexual interest could be a factor.

Past research has focused on sexual problems like erectile dysfunction (ED), premature ejaculation (PE), and delayed ejaculation (DE) and their effects on women’s sexual health. However, for many of these studies, the focus was on diagnosing and treating a man’s sexual problem.

In this study, the researchers wanted to know more about how a man’s sexual factors – considered from a woman’s point of view – might influence female sexual function.

The study involved 156 heterosexual women who had been in a stable relationship during the previous six months. On average, the women were around 47 years old; their partners’ average age was 50. Eighty-three percent of the couples were living together.

Each woman completed a questionnaire called the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI). This is one of the most common tools used to assess female sexual problems, covering the domains of sexual desire, arousal, vaginal lubrication, orgasm, pain, and overall sexual satisfaction. Higher scores on the FSFI mean better sexual function.

The women also had physical exams and answered questions about their psychological well-being, sexual desire, lifestyles, medications, and relationships with their partners.

About 37% of the women had a partner with a sexual problem. About a third felt their partner had lost his desire for them. Almost a quarter of the partners had ED, 14% had PE, and 8% had delayed ejaculation.

After analyzing the data, the researchers discovered that FSFI scores tended to go down when the couple had disagreements and did not live together. Scores also went down when women had intercourse just to please their partner.

In contrast, FSFI scores generally increased when women had intercourse more often or when they were trying to conceive a child.

Women who perceived low desire in their partner had lower FSFI scores overall as well as in the arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction, and pain domains. However, no correlation was found between FSFI scores and a partner’s problems with erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, or delayed ejaculation.

In addition, women who felt their partner had less sexual interest tended to masturbate more often, have intercourse less often, and feel that the man did not care about the woman’s sexual pleasure.

“It can be speculated that erectile function and ejaculatory behavior are not the most pressing concerns in the perspective of women with [female sexual dysfunction],” wrote the study authors. “Conversely, among factors related to their partner’s sexuality, feeling unloved and/or undesired is the main determinant of sexual impairment.”

The study was published online in July in the journal Andrology.



Maseroli, E., et al.

“Which are the male factors associated with female sexual dysfunction (FSD)?”

(Full-text. First published: July 13, 2016)