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What are the issues that affect sexual health?

Sexual health is an integral part of overall health and is therefore affected by anything that impacts your health. In a previous answer from the Cleveland clinic, they outlined some excellent items. In addition to those, I would like to expand on some of the more emotional/social issues:

  • Stress, so common in today's society, has a huge impact. Not only does it dramatically alter one's mood and appetite for sex and intimacy, it can also translate into physical sexual health such as making periods irregular, etc. So handling stress is imperative and there are many ways of doing that; go for a quiet walk, do relaxation exercises, all the way to getting medications to help in the short term.
  • Prior experience has a significant impact on sexual function/health.  If you have had uncomfortable or painful sexual experiences previously, you will anticipate the same in future encounters until you have had enough good experiences to distance the memory or reduce the fear. Again, because everything about your health is interrelated, the fear can translate into physical symptoms such as nausea, headaches, etc.
  • Women abuse particularly by a domestic partner has a significant impact on sexual health. It can make sex an undesirable event even if the violence was not exactly sexual in nature. Positive sexual activities require trust and there is no trust when an intimate partner randomly beats you without warning. Woman abuse has far-reaching health effects on many levels if it is also directly sexual in nature. Something as simple as going for a routine Pap test becomes a huge undertaking emotionally and can be very painful.  Often, the practitioner is not aware of the cause of these difficulties, unless they routinely screen for abuse, and unwittingly makes the process worse instead of better.  

In summary, sexual health is impacted by everything that affects overall health. You cannot be healthy overall unless you are sexual healthy.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.