- Protect Your Sexual Health Center
- Surprising Benefits of Sex Slideshow
- Take the Sex & Love Quiz
- Sex-Drive Killers Slideshow: Causes of Low Libido
Take steps toward a healthy, satisfying sex life
By Sylvia Davis
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD
Importance of sexuality
Research has shown that sex is more important to happiness than money. After analyzing data from 16,000 people, English researchers estimated that the happiness gained from increasing intercourse from once a month to once a week is equivalent to the happiness generated by getting a $50,000 raise.
Along with the positive aspects of sexuality, however, there are illnesses that can affect your sexual health. But by taking precautions, you can stay well.
Among the issues that can affect your sexual health are:
How your health affects your sex life
Experts agree: There is an important relationship between overall health, overall lifestyle, and sexual satisfaction. Research also suggests that certain physical conditions that go along with obesity also affect sex drive, further dampening the desires of those who are overweight.
The good news: You can make some lifestyle changes to enhance your libido, experts say. Those changes include:
- If you're overweight, lose a little weight (even 10 pounds) to stimulate sex hormones.
- Eat more nutritious foods, which control cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Choose heart-healthy foods such as grains, fruits, nuts, vegetables, and lean sources of dairy and protein.
- Exercise regularly. To strengthen your heart and help build endurance, add a few high-intensity bouts to your fitness routine. Strength training is also a good idea, to build shapely muscle and to keep your body strong enough to handle all your day-to-day activities (including sex).
- Get enough rest. It's hard to be in the mood for love when you are exhausted!
- Keep a positive attitude. Accept your body, whatever its size, and believe in your sensuality.
Get help if you need it
Although small changes in lifestyle -- along with some healthy "self-talk" -- can go a long way toward improving both drive and desire, if you still are experiencing sexual problems, professional help may be in order.
It's not as simple as getting a prescription for Viagra; sexual problems may be physical or psychological in nature, and can affect both men and women.
If the problems are persistent, or cause distress for you or your partner, it's time to see your doctor for evaluation and treatment.
Published February 2006.
SOURCES: WebMD Medical Reference in collaboration with the Cleveland Clinic: "Sexual Health." WebMD Feature: "Sex Better Than Money for Happiness." WebMD Weight Loss Clinic Feature: "Better Sex: What's Weight Got to Do With It?" Weight Loss Clinic Expert Column: "3 Secrets to a Steamier Sex Life" by Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD. WebMD Medical Reference in collaboration with the Cleveland Clinic: "Male Sexual Problems."
©2006 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top Sexual Health Related Articles
Barrier Methods of Birth Control
Many barrier methods of birth control are available for a man or woman, for example, the sponge, female and male condoms, diaphram, spermicides, male condoms, female condoms, contraceptive sponge, diaphragm, and cervical cap. Side effects, and efficacy (in preventing pregnancy) depends on the type of birth control used.
Blood In SemenBlood in semen is also known as hematospermia. Blood in semen can be caused by many conditions affecting the tubes that distribute semen from the testicles (seminal vesicles) or the prostate gland. Symptoms that may accompany blood in semen include blood in the urine, fever, painful urination, pain with ejaculation, tenderness, and swelling in the testes or groin area. Urinalysis, ultrasound, and MRI may be used to diagnose blood in the semen. Treatment depends upon the underlying cause of blood in the semen.
Contraceptive Measures After Unprotected SexContraceptive birth control measures after unprotected sex include: emergency hormonal contraception (the morning after pill), and emergency IUD. The morning after pill is not meant to be a long-term contraception. Once the emergency is over, a woman should consult with her physician so that an appropriate contraceptive method can be chosen if the woman continues to be sexually active. The emergency IUD can provide a woman with long-term contraception. Emergency IUD insertion does however, increase the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
HIV/AIDS Myths SlidesWhat is HIV AIDS (human immunodeficiency virus-acquired immunodeficiency syndrome)? Discover myths and facts about living with HIV/AIDS. Learn about HIV/AIDS treatment options, symptoms, and diagnosis.
Impotence QuizDid you know that certain medical condition may be responsible for ED? Some causes of impotence are medically treatable and reversible. Learn more about what can be done about erectile dysfunction with the Impotence Quiz.
Impotence SlideshowHaving erection problems? What is erectile dysfunction (ED)? Learn about erectile dysfunction causes and treatments such as drugs (pills), pumps, and more.
Menopause SlideshowWhat is menopause? What are the signs of menopause? What age does menopause start? Learn about menopause and perimenopause symptoms. Find the latest treatments for menopause.
Natural Methods of Birth ControlNatural methods of contraception are considered "natural" because they are non-mechanical and non-hormonal. Fertility awareness methods (FAMs) are based upon knowing when a woman ovulates each month. Natural methods of birth control include: the calendar rhythm, basal body temperature, mucus inspection, symptothermal, use of an ovulation indicator testing kit, withdrawal, lactational infertility, douching and urination, and abstinence.
Phlebitis and Thrombophlebitis
Phlebitis is the inflammation of a vein. Thrombophlebitis is when a blood clot causes the inflammation. Phlebitis can be superficial or deeper in the veins. A blood clot deep in a vein is deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Some of the common causes of phlebitis include prolonged inactivity, varicose veins, trauma to a vein, underlying cancers, clotting disorders, and other causes.
Symptoms of phlebitis may be mild (pain, tenderness, redness, or bulging of a vein. Treatment of phlebitis depends on the cause.
Senior SexEnjoying a satisfying sex life as we age is important to both physical and mental health. As we age, diseases and conditions may pose challenges in our sexual health, and sexual experiences. Learn how to manage your conditions and still have a gratifying sex life as you age.
Sex & Love QuizRelationships, sex, and love! Could it be that what motivates physical attraction in us may be all in our minds? Take the Sex & Love Quiz to challenge yourself on healthy human sexuality!
STD QuizThere are more sexually transmitted diseases than just the ones you've heard of. Find out what you've been missing with the STD Quiz.
STDs in Men Overview
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections transmitted during sexual contact. They may be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites. STDs in men cause no symptoms or symptoms like genital burning, itching, sores, rashes, or discharge.
Common infections that are sexually transmitted in men include gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, hepatitis C and B, genital warts, human papillomavirus (HPV), and genital herpes.
Some STDs in men are treatable while others are not. STDs are diagnosed with tests that identify proteins or genetic material of the organisms causing the infection. The prognosis of an STD depends on whether the infection is treatable or not. Use of latex condoms can help reduce the risk of contracting an STD but it does not eliminate the risk entirely.
STDs Facts SlideshowLearn about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) including symptoms, signs, diagnosis, and treatment options. Get more information on herpes, genital warts, chlamydia, scabies, HIV/AIDS, and other STDs.
Surgical SterilizationSurgical sterilization is considered a permanent method of contraception. In certain cases, sterilization can be reversed, but this is not guaranteed. For this reason, sterilization is meant for men and women who do not intend to have children in the future. Types of surgical sterilization include: vasectomy, tubal ligation, STOP (selective tubal occlusion procedure), and hysterectomy.
VasectomyA vasectomy is a simple surgical procedure used as a permanent form of male birth control. The odds of pregnancy after a vasectomy are low and the side effects are few. Although the procedure can be reversed, it is usually difficult, expensive, and unsuccessful.