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Why older men are healthier than older women: Lack of menopause leaves men feeling better (despite threat of dying younger)

Why older men are healthier than older women: Lack of menopause leaves men feeling better (despite threat of dying younger)

2018-11-30

By SAM BLANCHARD HEALTH REPORTER FOR MAILONLINE

Genes which come into play late in life could be the answer to why women suffer poorer health than men in old age – even though they live longer.

A study has revealed going through the menopause causes women to accumulate genes evolved to benefit males, which are bad for female health.

But because men can remain fertile long into old age, their bodies do not suffer the same decline when they pass middle age and they feel better for longer.

Women are still likely to live longer – in the UK their life expectancy is 82.9 years while men’s is 79.2 – but they can expect to be in worse health.

Scientists put the effect down to a genetic ‘sexual conflict’, where different genes benefit or harm the sexes in different ways and are in a constant ‘tug of war’.

Scientists at the University of Exeter did experiments on flies to track how genes change after the female body stops preparing to reproduce – the menopause.

They found because women no longer need to pass on their genes after middle age, they don’t produce as many which would keep them healthy in later life.

Whereas men remain fertile for longer so might need to pass on their genes at any time, meaning they are programmed to stay healthy and prepared to have children.

 

5 Mental Health Benefits Of Using Sex Toys In The Bedroom

5 Mental Health Benefits Of Using Sex Toys In The Bedroom

Although sex toys may be a 15 billion dollar business, that doesn’t mean everyone is using them. While reasons why someone might not use a sex toy vary, for those who identify as male, sex toys may seem emasculating. Women, on the other hand, generally have an easier time with owning, using, and fully enjoying sex toys.

“There are, surprisingly, a good number of psychological benefits associated with incorporating sex toys into relationships and self-pleasure,” Dr. Chris Donaghue, Ph.D., LCSW, CST, licensed sex and relationship expert, author, and TENGAambassador, tells Bustle.

As Dr. Donaghue notes, many men, both in the States and abroad, feel pressure about performing at “top-notch level in the bedroom.” It’s this pressure that can keep men from experimenting with sex toys, either alone or with their partner.

“For example, the TENGA 2018 Global Self-Pleasure Report found that almost half of millennial men (47 percent) feel they’ve been pressured to act a certain way… this includes keeping quiet about their masturbation habits, hiding their emotions, and pushing aside any yearning to better know their bodies,” Dr. Donaghue says. “This leads them to avoid using toys as aid with partners or their own pleasure, as they think that reflects on their ability to achieve orgasm or make their partners feel satisfied.”

In a world where sex toys and the innovation behind them is truly mind-blowing, they’re definitely something worth giving a try. Here are five mental health benefits of using sex toys in the bedroom.

Sex Toys Lead To More Sexual Satisfaction

“People who have used sex toys report being more satisfied with their sex life across all metrics, including quality of orgasm and quality of masturbation,” Dr. Donaghue says.

The more you explore your body and experiment with toys, the more likely you are to know how to get yourself off — whether you’re rolling solo or with a partner.

According to Dr. Donaghue, Americans report a 90 percent satisfaction level when they sleep with men who use sex toys. As for those men who shy away from toys and don’t use them, that satisfaction level is 76 percent.

Sex Toy Use Helps With Body Confidence

When you know the ins and outs of your body — literally — you gain an appreciation for it. The human body is a fine-tuned work of art. Just the fact that the clitoris exists solely for pleasure is, in itself, extraordinary.

“Those who masturbate weekly are more likely to feel positively about their looks and body than those who don’t,” Dr. Donaghue says. “Sex toys allow you to experiment with different sensations, stimulation areas and simultaneous pleasure points in a safe manner, giving you the gift of knowing what makes you feel good. Then, you can repeat this roadmap with yourself or know exactly what to communicate to your partner.”

Sex Toys Can Help You Sleep Better

Sleep is essential to our well-being. Not just because it keeps us from being cranky monsters, but it strengthens our immune systems, keeps our cognitive skills up to par, lowers depression and anxiety, and increases our libido — or at least prevents it from decreasing.

“Sex and masturbation can assist with insomnia and restlessness,” Dr. Donaghue says. “Since the activity releases oxytocin and endorphins, masturbation can help people feel calm and experience less stress. Both men and women report better sleep after incorporating masturbation into their nighttime routine, and using a sex toy can help you achieve your bedtime orgasm more quickly and effectively.”

Sex Toys Aid In Relationship Satisfaction

“Couples who incorporate variety in the bedroom are more likely to stay together long-term, and be open and honest about their desires,” Dr. Donaghue says. “Trying new sexual endeavors alleviates boredom, lessens the likelihood of cheating, and improves overall communication between partners.”

When we open ourselves up to new things, it evokes communication between partners, which is essential to relationship satisfaction and overall health of the partnership.

According to Dr. Donaghue, sex toys are both a safe and reliable way to keep things spicy in bed. It’s just all about taking that first step toward getting that first sex toy.

“After becoming comfortable incorporating toys in the bedroom,” Dr. Donaghue says, “couples and individuals can continue to explore the sex toy category and what it has to offer.”

Sex Toys Help In Sexual Dysfunction

Sexual dysfunction is real, and both men and women can suffer from it. This where sex toys can lend a helping hand. According to Dr. Donaghue, research has found that “masturbatory tools” can really help common sexual issues, such as erectile dysfunction and performance anxiety.

The Womanizer Deluxe, for example, is used to help women who struggle to orgasm. If both men and women can learn to make themselves climax through the use of toys while masturbating, it will give them more confidence in reaching orgasm with a partner, because their mind will be at ease.

Although orgasms shouldn’t be the only goal during sex, as it’s also about the journey, there’s no denying that they can be the icing on an already delicious cake. Sex toys, because of the positive effect they have on mental health, can help you enjoy that journey even more — no matter what the outcome may be.

Five reasons why men visit the gynecologist

Five reasons why men visit the gynecologist

2018-11-29

While gynecologists are known to deal with sexual and reproductive health of women, they at times find themselves having to attend to male patients. Studies conducted over a period of time in different geographical areas show that at least 10% of people who seek professional advice and services from gynas are men.For men’s reproductive system queries, men are advised to see an urologist or an andrologist since they are trained in the field and are bound to give ways forward from their experience in the field. However, some men still find themselves straying into a gynecologist’s office once in a while.

Some of the reasons men who confessed to vising a gynecologist gave include;

Fertility problems

Being unable to sire children is a major problem for married couples and it prompts need for medial insights. Men who have issues with making their partners pregnant due to low sperm count or other infertility issues often find themselves seeing gynas. This can be as a couple or individually depending on a number of factors. Here, they get advised on why they can’t be fathers and how to go about it.

To accompany their spouse

Men and women have different needs at different times in their lives. This means that no matter how close you are to your partner, there are times you’ll be away from him and vice versa. Things like going to the salon, seeing your gyna and such are all female and most men do not even stop to wonder how it goes. For some though, accompanying you to your endeavors is not a task to them.

STDs/STIs

Sexually transmitted Diseases and Infections have bothered mankind for ages. Not keen to choose gender, they affect both men and women, often forcing them to seek health attention. According to gynecologists who talked about seeing male patients, some of the men who walk in through their doors are often in search for ways to handle STIs or such. Common diseases and infections bothering these men include Yeast infection, Gonorrhea and even Syphilis.

To know what women go through

Curiosity knows neither age nor boundaries. Just like some people want to know how some machinery works, there are men who are eager to know what happens to women at the gynecologists. These men will bear the stares they get once they walk into a gyna’s waiting roomful of women just to go through the experience. They necessarily do not have an issue to present to the gyna, they are just curious of the services offered.

Matters sexual health

Most men, almost all men are concern about their sexual life more than anything else. They want to know what is healthy for their reproductive system and its functionality from specialist. From ejaculation disorders, erectile dysfunction, low libido and such, some men get the impression that talking to a doctor who knows much about women reproductive health may give them a more satisfactory sex life.

https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/evewoman/article/2001304315/five-interesting-reasons-why-men-visit-the-gynecologist

Sexual Health: Discuss with adolescent children

Sexual Health: Discuss with adolescent children

2018-11-26

Parents should openly discuss sexual and reproductive health with their adolescent children breaking the taboo and social stigma, speakers said at a roundtable yesterday.

Sexual and reproductive health is so important that future health of all individual depends on how they practise it during adolescence, they said, urging the teachers to provide adequate lessons on the topic at classrooms.

Bangla daily Prothom Alo in association with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) organised the roundtable titled “Reproductive health of urban adolescents” at the newspaper’s office in the capital.

The speakers suggested that the government and non-government organisations should put emphasis on those adolescents living in slum areas, dropped out of schools and involved in work to increase reproductive health coverage in urban areas.

Iqbal Hossain, an education specialist of UNICEF, said many adolescents in the country do not have enough knowledge about sexual and reproductive health. Even, majority of those who have some knowledge do not know the correct information.

“So, we should give them the correct information at first and then guide them properly. Then, we will have to come up with physical facilities like hygienic toilets and sanitary napkins for them,” he observed.

Noted actress Sabnam Faria said, “When my menstruation started for the first time, my parents didn’t discuss it although they are well-educated and my father is a doctor. This happened because our society doesn’t support it.”

Parents should avoid such practices and people of the society should change their mindset considering discussion on reproductive health as a taboo, she added.

Kanica Fardosh, an adolescent health expert of Save the Children, said children in slum areas and those who dropped out of school lag behind others in getting reproductive health services and advices and should get more emphasis.

MA Mannan, state minister for finance and planning, Prof Abul Kalam Azad, director general of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), and Abdul Quayum, associate editor of Prothom Alo, among others, spoke at the discussion.

https://www.thedailystar.net/backpage/news/sexual-health-discuss-adolescent-children-1664827

How Long Do Most Men Need to Reset Between Orgasms?

How Long Do Most Men Need to Reset Between Orgasms?

Porn might have you convinced that men are like Energizer bunnies that keep going and going and going, but the reality is a lot more human, and a lot more realistic: Even at their youngest or most virile, everyone needs some recovery time between sessions.

The male refractory period, a.k.a. the time between orgasms, can last minutes to days, says board-certified urologic surgeon Jamin Brahmbhatt, M.D. After sex, your penis becomes flaccid from neural signals telling your body to relax, especially the organ that’s been doing most of the work (yep, the penis), Brahmbhatt says.

Just like our computers or phones sometimes need a reboot, our bodies need that time as well. The excited fight-or-flight nervous system recedes, and the rest-and-restore system comes forward,” explains board-certified urologist and men’s sexual health expert Paul Turek, M.D.

After orgasming, a man’s dopamine and testosterone levels drop, while serotonin and prolactin increase. “If prolactin levels are lower, his refractory period will be shorter,” says sex expert Antonia Hall. “Other variables include stress and energy levels, arousal levels, and drug and alcohol use—including antidepressants and other prescription drugs that can hinder sexual desire.”

Individual recovery time also depends on your overall health and age, Brahmbhatt says. “Generally speaking, men in their 20s often need only a few minutes, while men in their 30s and 40s may need 30 minutes to an hour,” says Xanet Pailet, sex and intimacy educator and author of the new book Living An Orgasmic Life.

Many of the factors that impact MRP are out of men’s control. But being extremely aroused can shorten the length of the refractory period, Pailet says.

Gaining control of your orgasms can be a start to managing your recovery times.

“My best recommendation to men who want to be able to have sex multiple times in a short period is to learn ejaculatory control, which allows them to still experience an orgasm without ejaculating,” Pailet says. Ejaculatory control can be learned through breathwork, according to Pailet. There are tantric breathing techniques that can help you delay orgasm (and some breathing techniques that just make for better sex, tbh).

Of course, being your healthiest never hurts. “The best you can do is to keep that body of yours as healthy as possible by eating right, exercising regularly, and treating it like a temple,” Turek says. “A healthy body will reboot quicker than an unhealthy one.” That also includes avoiding too much alcohol, which is known to act as a depressant.

Maybe the best motivation to order that salad… ever.

Aly Walansky is a New York-based lifestyle writer. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @alywalansky.

https://greatist.com/live/how-long-between-orgasms

Men’s anxiety: How to combat middle-aged pressures so they don’t reach crisis point

Men’s anxiety: How to combat middle-aged pressures so they don’t reach crisis point

2018-09-25

The mid-life crisis is a common cliche, but an expert today explains how pressure to perform in life is driving many men into mental health difficulties.

our middle years can be a high pressure and confusing time, but don’t bottle up your feelings (or get a tattoo that you’ll regret later).

We all know the cliches of the midlife crisis – the sports car, the wardrobe overhaul, the desire to chuck yourself around at Arctic Monkeys gigs and, um, the affairs.

But there are reasons behind the stereotype.

There’s a wake-up moment in middle age when you realise most of your life is probably behind you.

Plus the stress of caring for a young family as well as ageing parents, while ­shouldering job ­pressure can take its toll on your mental health and relationships .

In fact, a report from the Office for National Statistics found middle-aged people are the least happy, have the lowest levels of life ­satisfaction and suffer the most anxiety.

And men are more vulnerable than women, who reported feeling more satisfied overall.

“There’s always been a clear ­correlation between how the economy is doing and the mental health of middle-aged men,” says Dr Rafael Euba, consultant psychiatrist at The London Psychiatry Centre ­(psychiatrycentre.co.uk).

“There’s pressure to achieve, which isn’t always easy, especially in times of economic hardship, and that can provoke a deep sense of failure.”

While women tend to deal with psychological distress by talking to each other, Dr Euba says men are reluctant: “Most men still think acknowledging they’re suffering is a sign of ­weakness, and so put up with stress which is more likely to come out in other ways, such as drinking.”

Have you reached a crisis point? Our Q&A could help you to find out, and learn how to navigate those rocky years…

Do you fail to embrace new things and feel the best is behind you?

Middle age can actually be a great time to try new things, says Dr Euba: “When you’re young there are many possibilities in the future, but by middle age it’s common to think, ‘this is my life’, and dwell on things you haven’t achieved.

“But you could argue you’re in the peak of life. Yes, if you watch films and read novels you’d think that peak time is the 20s, but people in their 20s make huge mistakes.

“By now, you’re ­experienced, you know what you like and what you don’t, you will ­probably have more money and freedom, so potential to enjoy life is huge. You may also look at life in a balanced way.”

Do you feel overwhelmed by stress, but keep it bottled up?

Planning your goals and reaching out to friends for support are key, says Dr Euba.

He says: “Stress often comes down to economic ­pressure and dealing with the system – providing for your ­family’s future and dealing with authorities over schools and care provided for elderly parents.

“You need to be able to delegate if you can, to compromise where necessary, to negotiate and to plan.

“If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s crucial to make use of your social network and don’t regard stress as a sign of weakness, but as a sign you have to plan things and get support from the other people in your life.”

Do you feel trapped or dissatisfied at work?

This is a tough one to sort out, admits Dr Euba: “Most of us can’t just walk out of a job if we have dependents. But it can help to remind ourselves of the norm – that it’s a minority of privileged people who genuinely love their job and earn good money from it. They are the exception to the rule – not you.

“Don’t compare ­yourself to others. These days, largely thanks to social media, if your life isn’t amazing it’s tempting to believe you’re failing. But it’s normal to have difficult days.

“Set yourself smaller, achievable goals and celebrate those wins and, if possible, try to carve out areas of your work that you’re in control of.

“It’s also important to understand there’s much more to being a man than how big your salary is and how far you go in the hierarchy.”

Are you anxious about your physical health?

Our bodies begin to decline in middle age and it can be a painful glimpse of what’s to come.

Dr Euba says: “The knowledge there’s less ahead combined with the onset of physical ailments can cause anxiety. Getting fitter is good for the mind and there’s growing medical evidence that exercise can help people beat depression. The key is, don’t overdo it.

“Pay more attention to lifestyle – don’t smoke and don’t drink too much – and just be aware of your body. Taking responsibility for your health will help you feel in control.”

Do you feel your sex life and relationship are dull? Do you want to cheat?

If you’ve been in a relationship a long time, along with a sense of stability can come a sense that life is, well, just a bit boring.

Dr Euba says: “Men’s sexual potency does start to decline in middle age, and although it’s more subtle than it is for women, it can affect self-image for some men.

“If that’s combined with a lack of sexual interest from their partner, many guys take that as a personal failure. These things make couples more vulnerable to affairs.

“It helps to know these issues are normal and seeking help in therapy doesn’t mean you’re less of a man.”

This Bi Visibility Day, let’s hear it for the “B” in LGBTI!

This Bi Visibility Day, let’s hear it for the “B” in LGBTI!

Today is Bi Visibility Day and this year we’re marking the moment with a brand new mini-campaign focusing on busting the myths surrounding bisexuality.

Bi people suffer many of the same abuses as gay men and lesbians – including criminalization, violence and discrimination. They also have to deal with an additional set of negative stereotypes, such as the myth that being bi is a phase or that bi people are promiscuous, confused, or just seeking attention. Some people wrongly believe that bi people don’t experience violations because they can “choose” to be in relationships that will be perceived as straight. As a result, most bi people fear coming out – even to their closest family and friends.

None of these assumptions are true, but they leave many bi people feeling misunderstood, isolated and at risk of harm. You can help change that!

Click on the link, below, to visit our new campaign action page, where you’ll find a new animated myth-busting video, advice on how to be an ally to the bi community, and a factsheet for those looking to learn more. Please take a moment to read up, watch the video and share a message of support on social media.

https://www.unfe.org/bivisibility/

This Bi Visibility Day, let’s hear it for the “B” in LGBTI!

In solidarity,

Team UN Free & Equal

www.unfe.org

India’s Anti-Gay Law Is History. Next Challenge: Treat LGBTQ Patients With Respect

India’s Anti-Gay Law Is History. Next Challenge: Treat LGBTQ Patients With Respect

2018-09-18

Two years ago, Shivam Sharma rushed to a Mumbai hospital at 2:30 a.m. He’d had sex earlier that night with a man who was HIV positive. They’d used protection, but Sharma just wanted to be sure he was safe.

So he went straight to the emergency room and asked a junior doctor for a preventative dose of antiretroviral medicines, or PEP — post-exposure prophylaxis.

Hospital staff “were absolutely clueless,” Sharma, 28, recalls. No one had ever asked for a PEP before, staff told him.

“They pulled out a massive manual on how to deal with sexually-transmitted infections and insisted I take something like 25 different tests,” he says. They phoned a senior doctor at 3 a.m.

Sharma felt frustrated. He had to fight for a basic prescription.

It was just like the first time he got tested for HIV, back in college. He went to a posh health clinic, and the nurse yelled across the room, warning a colleague — and anyone else within earshot — to “be careful” of him.

The implication was that Sharma was dangerous and dirty because he had identified himself as “queer.”

For more than 150 years, homosexuality was a crime in India. Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, a British colonial-era law, banned sexual acts that were “against the order of nature.” There have been prosecutions under the law. But more frequently, it gave police license to harass and blackmail gay men.

Section 377 drove generations of LGBTQ Indians into the shadows. It prevented many from fully embracing their sexual and gender identities. It complicated both patients’ and doctors’ access to information on LGBTQ-specific health issues. And it got in the way of access to vital medical care.

When India’s Supreme Court ruled Sept. 6 to decriminalize homosexuality, modifying Section 377, it opened a new era for public health policy.

In its judgment, the court said the Indian constitution guarantees all Indians, including LGBTQ people, “the right to emergency medical care and the right to the maintenance and improvement of public health.”

FYI: Masturbating Wrong Can Lead To Sexual Dysfunction

FYI: Masturbating Wrong Can Lead To Sexual Dysfunction

Do you masturbate? If you answered ‘no’, you’re likely to be one of those automated internet bots; or else you’re probably lying, according to a recent survey on sexual health and behavior. The study showed that for people in their twenties, 84.6 per cent of women and 93 per cent of men admitted to masturbating! But if so many of us are doing it, why aren’t we speaking openly about it?

Why is masturbation taboo?

Why do kids love to put sugar on corn flakes? This is because corn flakes are, well, bland; and this is no coincidence. The product was designed by a medical doctor called John Kellogg – a proponent of the anti-masturbation movement who intentionally made corn flakes neutral tasting as he believed a bland diet would reduce sexual desire!

This idea that masturbation is bad has been reinforced by other ill-informed health professionals of the 20th century. It was said, for example, that rubbing one out could cause blindness, cancer, tuberculosis and a range of other ailments – ideas which have since been disproved. And of course, since biblical times religious institutions have told us that masturbation is a mortal sin. Why is our society so uncomfortable about the simple act of tugging the slug?

Life is chaotic and unpredictable – we all know this, on some level. As a society, then, we experience an unconscious need to gain a sense of control over ourselves, our lives and our world. Sexual urges are natural and inevitable – we’re going to experience them one way or another. But masturbation is an act which we can choose to control.

By portraying masturbation as dirty, bad, forbidden and unhealthy, we are giving ourselves a wonderfully simple choice: don’t masturbate and you’ll be good; do the five-finger shuffle and you’ll be bad. This may be part of the reason why masturbation is a taboo topic: it’s comforting, on a psychological level, to have things set out in black and white and to portray something that we don’t fully understand as being bad.

Why should we speak more openly about masturbation?

Upon reaching a legal drinking age, an adolescent is likely to pay a trip to the bottle store. Ideally, the teen should also get a lecture on how to drink responsibly. The same should apply when it comes to masturbation! Let’s explore why.

1. Sex addition is a growing phenomenon

Can you become addicted to masturbation, or perhaps porn? Sex-based addictions and compulsions aren’t yet counted as official diagnoses in their own right, at least not by the American Psychiatric Association. But that doesn’t mean that these problems aren’t real! A visit to any sexual health clinic – or my own consulting room, for that matter – will show that compulsive porn use and masturbation (which often go hand-in-hand) can cause big problems in people’s lives. It’s by talking about these risks -and creating a space where people feel comfortable to ask for support – that we can combat this problem.

2. Incorrect masturbation habits are linked to sexual dysfunction

Some of us may have developed a habit of rushing through masturbation – we learnt this when we were shameful adolescents, nervous about being caught or overheard by our parents. Rushing the process, however, trains our bodies to do the same during sex; and this can lead to a form of sexual dysfunction called premature ejaculation, which can be extremely distressing and emotionally debilitating for men who suffer from it.

Furthermore, do you use porn to help you masturbate? If so, you’re not alone; but researchtells us that porn actually changes the structure of our brains, desensitizing us to sexual stimuli and making it unlikely that we’ll be aroused by anything other than porn. This can put you at risk of serious sexual health concerns such as erectile dysfunction and performance anxiety.

3. Men feel unnecessary emotional distress

While societies attitudes toward masturbation are slowly shifting (particularly for men), those who do wax the carrot often end up feeling embarrassed, guilty or ashamed from participating in this natural and healthy process. Women who masturbate are potentially at an even greater risk of feeling shame, given the taboo that surrounds female masturbation in particular!

Apart from being unpleasant, these sorts of emotions can cause unnecessary harm. One study, for example, found that men who felt guilty about solo sex experienced higher levels of general distress, anxiety, depression, alcohol use, relationship problems and general sexual problems! However, this unnecessary guilt can be avoided if we’re able to speak openly and normalize this ordinary aspect of our sexuality!

4. Masturbation is healthy

Despite what 20th century doctors – and perhaps your grandmother – have been saying: masturbation won’t make you go blind, become impotent or grow hair on your hands. Quite the opposite, doctors today will tell you that masturbation, especially when done correctly, is healthy!

The benefits are extensive: masturbating can lower your risk of prostate cancer and may improve your immune system; it creates a cocktail of feel-good chemicals such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin and also lowers your levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) which can protect from you from other stress-related illnesses. One study even suggests that masturbating more primes your body and mind for intercourse, meaning that you’re likely to have more sex; and if you know how to masturbate correctly you can program your brain and body to last longer in bed!

In my own therapy room, clients usually become visibly uncomfortable when we start talking about masturbation! Ironically, it’s once they start opening up about this important aspect of their sexual and psychological health that they truly stand to gain from what sex therapy can offer.

As a society, we have come a long way since repressive, Victorian times. Nonetheless, we still have a long way to go. We need to start combatting the taboo and stigma that accompanies discussions of masturbation, so that those engaging in it (i.e. everyone) can make sure that they’re accessing the multiple health benefits on offer!

Daniel Sher is a registered clinical psychologist. He serves as a professional consultant for the Between Us Clinic, which provides sex-therapy online programs.

https://www.menshealth.com.au/incorrect-masturbation-habits-are-linked-to-sexual-dysfunction?category=Sex

4 Common Sexual Insecurities, And How To Fight Them

4 Common Sexual Insecurities, And How To Fight Them

2018-09-07

Sex and anxiety go together like socks and flip-flops; i.e. not well at all. We’re all a little bit insecure, whether we’re aware of this or not. When it comes to the bedroom, however, us men are particularly prone to doubting ourselves. Unfortunately, sexual insecurities can have a devastating effect on our sex lives, relationships and self-esteem.

What’s the link between anxiety and sexual performance?

Anxiety can trigger various forms of sexual dysfunction. How? This happens because anxiety hijacks your brain and body, generating a burst of hormones and electrical activity that sends you into fight-or-flight mode. It’s impossible to have sex in this state because on a biological level, your brain is pushing your body to fight or flee – not fornicate. We discuss four common sexual insecurities faced by men and what you can do to address them.

Penis Envy

Most men would like a bigger penis, but why is this such an issue for so many? The short answer (ha!) is that our joy-sticks carry a lot of symbolic weight, representing everything from power and dominance to competency and success. We are also told that a real man should be, well, Khal Drogo from Game of Thrones: dominant, confident, aggressive and super ripped.

But nobody is all of these things all of the time; and so we carry a perpetual sense of insecurity, which we project onto our junk. Unfortunately, however, this can lead to serious self-esteem issues and research shows that men who worry too much about the size of their penis are more likely to face erectile problems and premature ejaculation.

Regrettably, there are limited penis enlargement strategies that actually work. While surgery may add a few centimeters to your flaccid penis, it does not change the size of your erection and it can cause serious nerve and tissue damage. Other strategies – creams, devices, weights and pills – are not effective, so don’t even waste your time.

So, what can you do? Keep in mind that statistically speaking, your penis is probably of normal proportions, despite that niggling voice in your head that says otherwise. Moreover, remember that in most cases penis size doesn’t really matter that much: research shows, for example, that only a minority of women are concerned about this issue; and 85% of females were perfectly happy with the length of their partners’ gear.

This means that ultimately, you’d be better off investing your energy into aspects of yourself that can be changed. Like what? You could work on your communication skills and take your emotional connection to a higher level. You could also work towards becoming a foreplay master. These skills will be far more useful in the bedroom than an elephant trunk in your pants.

Body Image Concerns

Body image concerns are becoming an increasingly common source of sexual insecurity among men. Who wouldn’t want to be stronger, slimmer and more ripped? Studies have shown that 40% of us are unhappy with our bodies and a quarter of men prefer to have sex with the lights off as a result.

Apart from negatively impacting your sex life, these sorts of concerns are linked to self-esteem issues, eating disorders, depression and more. But no one should have to feel ashamed of their body and if this is causing you serious distress or getting in the way of your ability to live a normal life, speak to your doctor or psychologist about getting some support. Apart from that, if you’re able to adopt a healthy lifestyle in terms of your diet, exercise and sleep schedules, this may help you change the way you feel about yourself by increasing your self-esteem and confidence.

Worrying About Satisfying Your Partner Sexually

Why are we so hung up on this, especially when it’s not necessarily such a bad thing? One study showed that men desperately want their partners to orgasm because this makes them feel more masculine. So, we’re obsessed with giving orgasms because we care about our partners, but also because we’re caught up in our own fragility.

What can you do? Remember that penetrative sex with an orgasm at the end is not the be all and end all. Rather, we need to focus on creating an experience of mutual pleasure. Sexually, this often means concentrating more on foreplay. But don’t restrict yourself to that: a fulfilling sex life is built on solid emotional foundations. Aim for satisfaction by giving her a massage, cooking her dinner and providing your undivided attention after asking about her day. All of this will ease the pressure and help you to realize that your relationship can be intensely satisfying, even if she doesn’t climax every time.

Falling into the Performance Anxiety Cycle

The three sexual insecurities listed above are common sources of sexual anxiety; and the big problem is that a single case of erectile dysfunction is often enough to make a man anxious about whether or not he can get an erection the next time he tries to have sex. After a bad sexual experience or two you might find yourself deep in the sexual performance anxiety cycle, which is challenging to get out of.

In fact, so many of us are insecure about our erections that in 2017, Pfizer earned $1.2 billion from Viagra sales in the U.S. alone! However, while drugs might work for erectile problems that are caused by aging or medical conditions, these sorts of pills fail to address the underlying cause in people who have erectile dysfunction that’s caused by psychological factors.

It’s common to worry about being able to get or keep it up. But because of the way that anxiety affects the brain, worrying about your erection reduces your ability to have one. Whether or not you’ve actually been diagnosed with erectile dysfunction, the best way of tackling this common form of insecurity is by treating the underlying sexual performance anxiety that causes erectile problems in so many of us.

wning Your Sexual Insecurity

Insecurity is part and parcel of being a man, even though so few of us are able to speak about it. It’s important, though, that we become comfortable with the parts of ourselves that don’t quite match up to what our society deems masculine. One way of doing this is by focusing on an aspect that so many men are acutely aware of: sexual insecurity. If we’re able to heal or at least accept the four sexual insecurities that we have discussed here today, we’ll be able to improve our own sex lives whilst also strengthening our relationships and ultimately become better men by being more open, honest and self-aware.

Daniel Sher is a registered clinical psychologist. He serves as a professional consultant for the Between Us Clinic, which provides sex-therapy online programs.

https://www.menshealth.com.au/how-to-overcome-sexual-insecurity