Common Sexual Health Problems & How to Manage Them.

Common Sexual Health Problems & How to Manage Them

Each year, 374 million people around the world contract a sexually transmitted disease (STD), according to the World Health Organization. However, STDs are not the only way that sexual health impacts overall well-being.

Sexual health is an important part of your overall health. It’s essential to understand common sexual health problems and know how to manage them. Learn more about the most common sexual health concerns.

Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is one of the most common sexual health issues men face. Research available in the National Library of Medicine states that 30 million men in the United States suffer from some form of erectile dysfunction.

In addition to an inability to get or maintain an erection, this condition can also include problems with ejaculation. Although it is more common in older men, erectile dysfunction is not part of the natural aging process.

Some of the most common causes of erectile dysfunction include:

  • High blood pressure

  • Heart disease

  • High cholesterol

  • Diabetes

  • Obesity

  • Multiple sclerosis

  • Sleep disorders

  • Substance use disorders

  • Low testosterone

  • Depression

  • Anxiety disorders

  • Stress

For men experiencing erectile dysfunction, there is help available. The first step is to understand the cause of this sexual health problem. For many men, prescription medications can make a huge difference.

In addition, penis pumps can help bring blood to the penis, helping men achieve and maintain erections. Some men have found relief with penile implants. Exercise, especially aerobic exercises, can also help.


Dyspareunia is a condition in which afflicted women experience pain during penetrative intercourse. It is one of the more complex sexual health issues and concerns, especially because there can be many causes.

The pain associated with dyspareunia can be an ache or a burning sensation, and it can last for hours after sex. Some of the causes include:

  • Not enough lubrication

  • Inflammation

  • Infections

  • Skin disorders

  • Injuries

  • Vaginismus

  • Scarring from surgeries

  • Uterine prolapse

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease

  • IBS

  • Pelvic floor dysfunction

  • Stress

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • History of sexual abuse

Medications can effectively treat many cases of dyspareunia, especially if the cause is physical. Topical creams can help postmenopausal women because pain with intercourse often comes from not having enough lubrication.

Relaxation exercises can be another way to manage this condition. Counseling can also be a great help if the cause is psychological.

Premature Ejaculation

Premature ejaculation occurs when semen leaves the body sooner than planned during sex. It is one of the most common issues affecting sexuality and sexual health in men.

Although most men experience premature ejaculation at some point, it should not happen during every sexual encounter. If it is an ongoing issue, getting help is important.

Some common causes of premature ejaculation include:

  • Irregular hormone levels

  • Genetic traits

  • Swelling of the urethra or prostate

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Relationship problems

The treatment of premature ejaculation sexual health problems can vary depending on the cause. Pelvic floor exercises can help many men since stronger pelvic floor muscles can make it easier to delay ejaculation.

There are also behavioral techniques that can help. One of these techniques is to masturbate an hour or so before sex. Some men find that they need to avoid sexual intercourse for a while and instead participate in other forms of sexual play.

Other effective treatments include medications as well as topical agents. These include numbing creams that can delay ejaculation by reducing sensation.

Porn Addiction

Both men and women can develop porn addictions. If you are emotionally dependent on pornography and this dependence interferes with your daily life or sexual well-being, you might have developed a porn addiction.

Some of the most common signs of porn addiction include:

  • Ignoring your responsibilities to watch porn

  • Spending large sums on pornography

  • Needing to watch more extreme porn to get the desired effect

  • Feeling frustrated or ashamed but unable to stop viewing porn

  • Using pornography to deal with emotional issues

There are many potential causes of porn addiction, including dissatisfaction with a relationship or mental health concerns.

Some people have a higher risk of developing addictions due to biological factors. Along with addictions to alcohol or drugs, they are more likely to develop a porn addiction.

The treatment of porn addiction usually involves psychotherapy or talk therapy. A therapist can help you understand the relationship you have with porn and work with you to develop healthier ways of coping with distress.

Lifestyle changes can also be vital. If you turn to porn out of boredom or stress, you can learn to change your habits with the help of an expert.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Perhaps the most common sexual issues and concerns are sexually transmitted diseases. There are many different types of STDs, including:

  • Chlamydia

  • Gonorrhea

  • Genital warts

  • Genital herpes

  • Viral hepatitis

  • HIV

  • Trichomoniasis

  • Syphilis

STDs do not always cause symptoms, so it is possible to have one of these diseases and not know it.

Although there are many symptoms of STDS — and they vary from one disease to another — the most common ones are:

  • Unusual discharge from the penis or vagina

  • Abnormal vaginal odor

  • Warts or sores in the genital area

  • Painful or frequent urination

  • Fever

  • Abdominal pain

  • Itching and redness in the genital area

Most STDs can be treated with medication. Antibiotics are the standard treatment if a parasite or bacteria has caused the disease. STDs caused by viruses are generally not curable, but medications can help you manage symptoms and prevent you from spreading the disease.

Make sure to speak with your doctor if you suspect you have an STD.

Low Sex Drive

Low sex drive or low libido is a sexual health issue that both men and women can suffer from. If you occasionally are not interested in sex, there is no cause for concern.

However, if a low sex drive is persistent and impacts your relationships or emotional well-being, getting help is important.

Some of the most common causes of a low sex drive are:

  • Stress

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Relationship problems

  • Vaginal dryness

  • Erectile dysfunction

  • Pregnancy

  • Menopause

  • Blood pressure medications

  • Antidepressants

  • Hormonal contraception

  • Excessive alcohol use

The treatment of a low sex drive depends on the cause of the problem. If the cause is stress, talk therapy can help. For sexual health concerns like erectile dysfunction and vaginal dryness, a doctor might prescribe medication. When a low sex drive is due to menopause, there are also hormone replacement therapy options.

If you are dealing with a mental health condition that affects your sexual health, you might find relief with behavioral therapy. Antidepressant medication can also help. If you take contraception medications, like the pill, you may need to switch to another option if it affects your sexual health.

Some medications for health conditions can lower your sex drive. If this is the cause of your low libido, you may want to consult your doctor to find alternatives that do not have sexual side effects.

The Importance of Sexuality and Sexual Health

Your sexual health can impact all aspects of your life, including your emotional, physical, and mental health. Many conditions can cause sexual issues and concerns, including STDs, erectile dysfunction, low sex drive, and porn addiction.

By understanding the impact that these issues can cause and knowing that there is help available, you can maintain your sexual health and improve your quality of life.

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