Monthly Archives: March 2017

Could These 5 Sexual Issues all be in Your Head?

Could These 5 Sexual Issues all be in Your Head?


Many common sexual issues are actually psychological in nature.

Have you ever had problems with sexual desire or sexual performance? Although it’s not something most men openly discuss, the truth is that many men have experienced sex-related difficulties at some time in their lives. While some sexual troubles come about due to health issues, many sexual issues are actually psychological rather than physical.

Lack of sexual desire

Lack of sexual desire, or low libido, can cause problems in romantic relationships for both men and women alike. A man with the low libido may feel anxious about his seeming inability to provide the expected level of sexual desire. A woman who is partnered with a man who has a lack of sexual desire may worry that she is “not good enough,” or that her partner dislikes her. The truth of the matter is that there could be psychological factors at play causing the inhibited sex drive, such as stress, religiosity, or situational anxiety. Low libido isn’t always due to physical factors like an abnormally low testosterone level—sometimes, the cause is all upstairs.

Delayed ejaculation

Delayed ejaculation (DE), also called “inhibited ejaculation,” often has its ties to psychological `causes. DE happens when a man takes an unusually long period of time to have an orgasm. Frequently, men with a porn addiction can fall prey to DE, as well as men who experience performance anxiety. Although DE can be caused by physiological problems such as nerve damage, in many cases the issue is purely tied to the mind. Psychological DE can, however, be treated by enlisting the help of a sex therapist or using guided imagery therapy—whether under the care of a sex expert or in the privacy of your own home.

Premature ejaculation

Premature ejaculation (PE) occurs when the male orgasm takes place too early during sexual activity, typically within one minute of beginning penetration. It is one of the most common sexual issues that affect modern men. According to a 2010 study published in the Primary Care: Clinics in Office Practice journal, as many as 30 percent of men may experience premature ejaculation at some point in their lives. What may come as a surprise is that many cases of PE occurs due to psychological factors, such as stress or anxiety, rather than any underlying physiological issue.

Erectile dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (ED) happens when a man experiences difficulty with achieving or maintaining an erection during sexual activity. Although some men experience erectile dysfunction due to medical issues such as diabetes or advanced age, many men who are otherwise physically healthy experience erectile dysfunction. How can you tell whether your ED is medical or psychological? If you wake up with normal morning erections, or you don’t have any erectile troubles during masturbation, your ED is more likely to be due to psychological factors such as performance anxiety rather than physiological factors. Luckily, psychological ED is treatable and can be managed over the long term without ever having to set foot inside a doctor’s office.


Fetishism is something that is common among men, yet few of them talk about it. Having a “fetish” means having a paraphilia—a form of sexual disorder that has psychological roots—where an object or non-erotic body part is required in order for a man to become aroused. Common fetishes include foot fetish (sexualizing feet, particularly a sex partner’s feet) and types of clothing fetish (specific types of shoes, for example, or clothing made of specific fabrics). Without the presence of the sexualized body part or object, many fetishists are unable to perform sexually at all, as their arousal depends on the object or body part’s role in their sexual activity.

The bottom line

These problems and other sexual issues can be caused by psychological, rather than physical, means. While this may not seem like the most welcome news, the good thing about psychologically rooted sexual disorders is that treatment doesn’t have to involve medical procedures or taking pills each day for the rest of your life. In fact, many men find they are able to increase their sexual stamina and performance by using treatments such as mindfulness meditation or guided imagery therapy—both of which can be done in privacy, without ever having to leave your home. If you are experiencing sexual difficulties and you think the cause may be “all in your head,” don’t hesitate in seeking help. Many websites offer private, affordable treatment options that can help you regain your sexual prowess and keep it for a lifetime.

3 Experts On Maintaining Bisexual Health

3 Experts On Maintaining Bisexual Health


In some ways, maintaining sexual health as a bisexual is just like maintaining sexual health as someone with any other sexual orientation.

For example, Denarii Monroe of the Bisexual Resource Center says, “Staying sexually healthy for me personally means making sure that I’m getting regular STI and HIV checkups, preferably before starting a new sexual relationship with someone.”

“In terms of tips for the happy, healthy bisexual, my number 1 tip for sexual health is to maintain [it] by getting those exams,” says Amy Andre, who works with the Bisexual Research Collaboration on Health at The Fenway Institute in Boston. She argues that routine screenings and preventative medicine are essential for long-term health.

“Unfortunately,” Andre acknowledges, “studies show that compared to women of other orientations, women who identify as bisexual are less likely to get cancer screenings like Pap smears and mammograms.”

It’s one of the many health disparities between bisexual women and men versus their non-bi counterparts.

“Bi+ sexual health means recognizing the specific systemic obstacles that bi+ people have to [overcome] obtaining adequate health care, including sexual health care,” says Monroe, who prefers the more inclusive “bi+” — a moniker meant to include pansexual, polysexual, and other orientations beyond gay, lesbian, or straight.

One of the main impediments for bisexual health is the “biphobia, bi invisibility, and the discrimination that people face who are out as bisexual,” says Andre. That stigma “impacts our physical and mental health, and even our ability to make choices around sexual health screenings.”

Andre sees being out to healthcare providers as an essential part of maintaining sexual health, but acknowledges, “the unfortunate reality is that many people do experience discrimination in healthcare settings when they come out, so it’s kind of a double-edged sword.”

Monroe says she fights this using “my community as resources to find doctors and other health professionals that aren’t just ‘LGBT’ friendly, but that are specifically bi+ friendly, so that bi+ antagonism doesn’t creep into my doctor’s visits so much when my sexual history and sexual desires are being discussed.”

Andre says health care providers truly committed to serving bisexual clients should publicize that they are nondiscriminatory — and then live up to that promise.

“For so many of us, even within the LGBT community, there are still enormous areas of discrimination. Just because this doctor has a rainbow sticker, or the [Human Rights Campaign] equality sign, does that necessarily mean that I’m welcome? Or that I can come out to them as someone who has male and female partners? Or as someone who identifies as bisexual regardless of the gender of a partner? I think that healthcare providers really need to go the extra mile to make it very clear that they [offer] a welcoming environment for their bisexual patients and clients.”

Preventative sexual health screenings are just the tip of the iceberg, when looking at the health needs of bisexuals, Monroe argues, because “we have higher rates of poverty than both straight people and gays and lesbians, [and] lower rates of health insurance coverage.”

Andre agrees. “There’s very little research on this, but what research there is shows that we tend to have less money, have higher rates of unemployment and underemployment. As we all know, healthcare in the United States can be expensive, and for many people, prohibitively expensive.”

Meanwhile, Andre says, bi folks have perhaps even more need for competent health care. “Bisexual women in particular, have higher rates of being victims of domestic violence. We have higher rates of depression, anxiety, suicidality, alcoholism, and other addiction behaviors. We already have a whole mess of things that we’re dealing with, and then to think, Oh, I better schedule my mammogram. That might not be at the top of someone’s list when they don’t have money, and they’re trying to escape from an abusive relationship, and they’re feeling like shit, and they’re thinking about suicide. I think that all of these things kind of snowball on each other and make it difficult for us to take care of ourselves. That’s just the unfortunate reality.”

“The majority of bi+ people are people of color and the majority of transgender people are bi+,” adds Monroe, who notes that the unique socioeconomic issues that bisexuals face impact “how much we’re able to access to adequately address our needs in a very oppressive set of systems, especially when we’re multiply marginalized. For me, addressing bi+ sexual health means addressing these specific needs, which means specifically acknowledging and then tackling bi+ erasure, bi+ antagonism, and monosexism.”

H. Sharif “Dr. Herukhuti” Williams, Ph.D., who cofounded both BiRCH and the Center for Culture, Sexuality, and Spirituality, says he tries to “practice acceptance and self-love for my sexual fluidity. Part of that also means being able to resist external societal pressures that aim to confine and limit my sexuality, and to pathologize it.”

“If I choose to be with a particular person of a particular gender,” Herukhuti maintains, “the outside world will want to place labels on me that can be internalized. I must stand in the power of my own truth, and give myself the space to be moved sexually across genders.”

Sexual health, for many bisexuals, also involves establishing and maintaining healthy relationships.

“I make sure that I understand my own relationship needs so that I can communicate them clearly and confidently to my partner or partners,” says Monroe. “I stay sexually healthy by only engaging in sexual encounters with sober people when I’m sober.”

Herukhuti adds that “when seeking a relational partner,” he tries to be prepared “for their lack of knowledge, their biphobia, their fears and prejudices that have not been explored. Being able to counter those things and stand in my own truth is a part of my sexual health. I grew up in the ’80s, in the height of fear-based HIV messaging, so I must continue to stand in the power of my own truth, to be rigorously honest about my own fears and anxieties in seeking a partner, and be able to work through those.”

“There are different sexual cultures that exist in our society between men and women,” Herukhuti concludes. “I have learned how to swim in both of those cultures and recognize the problematics of both. The ways that men are not socialized to be emotionally intelligent, or how women are socialized to limit their sexual agency. That also has an impact on my social interactions and relationship possibilities. As a bi man, I am often challenged by the patriarchy and misogyny that men are socialized to uphold. I am personally attracted to women who are sexually empowered — who don’t limit their sexual agency — and to men who have developed their emotional intelligence in ways that are deeply moving. All of these things are involved in maintaining my personal sexual health and wellness.”

How having more sex can improve your health, mood and even your career

How having more sex can improve your health, mood and even your career

Want to give your career a boost? Try having more sex .

Workers who get ­intimate the night before heading into the office are better at their jobs, an Oregon State University study revealed this week.

Sexpert Dr Lori Beth Bisbey says: “There is lots of evidence that having a good sex life gives people more energy and means they have lower stress, making it easier to concentrate.

“Good sex lowers stress and good sex means good relationships which also means less attention and energy spent worrying about the relationship and less distraction at work.

“Also when you are sexually satisfied you have lower levels of frustration – so you have more energy to put towards work.”

And becoming a fantastic employee is just the start when it comes to the benefits we can get from jumping between the sheets.

Dr Lori says: “I would say it’s essential to have a good sex life – lower stress, improved immunity, lower blood pressure, greater self-confidence and self-esteem, improved sleep and pain relief are just a few of the reasons why.

“And of course people with good sex lives are happier – and happiness provides loads of health benefits.”

Here’s why making love really is good for your health…


It is the famous reason we give when we don’t fancy doing the deed but having sex can actually help ease painful headaches. Making love causes a surge in “love” hormone oxytocin and other feel-good endorphins.

This can also help to reduce the symptoms of arthritis and many women find period pains ease when they climax, thanks to the contractions relieving tension in muscles of the uterus.


Sex could be a cure for insomnia according to the Berman Center for Women’s Sexual Health in the US. Our bodies change chemically after making love. Oestrogen levels rise in women, encouraging a better night’s sleep. The male anatomy releases prolactin, which causes fatigue.


One in eight British men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer . A Harvard study found a daily orgasm could reduce the risk. Research at Queen’s University Belfast found having sex three times a week could halve the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

In Australia, scientists found people who climaxed at least three times a week had a 50% lower chance of dying from any illness than those who only climaxed once a month.


Sex is a great fat burner and a 30-minute session can shed up to 150 calories. Moderately active sex twice a week can help burn an extra 5,000 calories a year.

Varying positions can help tone up muscle groups – try the ­scissors pose to work your hip flexors. Or trim your glutes in the missionary position.


Having sex once or twice a week has been linked with boosting immunity to colds and flu. One study found higher levels of immunoglobulin A – a substance found in saliva that is thought to help fight off bugs – in those who made love more often.


Oestrogen is pumped out when women have sex and this can have a plumping effect on the skin, smoothing out fine lines. This can be particularly effective after the menopause, when levels of the hormone drop. One US study found menopausal women who have sex every week had oestrogen levels twice as high as those who abstained.


Scientists in Italy found people who have regular sex, especially those in new relationships, showed an improvement in cranial nerve growth, which is crucial to mental alertness. This was backed up by a Princeton University study, where researchers divided rats into two groups and found those who mated more often experienced greater nerve growth.


It is a problem that affects nearly a quarter of us as we get older – and women can benefit from sex. Making love is a great workout for pelvic floor muscles, which control orgasms and urine flow. Pelvic floor exercises can have the same effect – but are less fun.


Workers might perform better after a night of sex because of its positive impact on stress levels. A study in Psychology Journal found people who were intimate in the previous 24 hours coped better with stressful scenarios. Touching and cuddling during and after making love reduces the levels of cortisol, the hormone people secrete when stressed.


Like any cardio workout, sex releases feel-good chemicals that boost your levels of serotonin, the happy hormone. One US study found sexually active women in long-term relationships were less likely to feel depressed than those who went without.


We often say people who had sex the night before are “glowing” – and it is not our imaginations. Making love pumps more oxygen around the body, increasing the flow of blood and nutrients to the skin. This gives us the lovely glow.

Sex coach Dr Lori Beth Bisbey has these top tips to bring more passion back into your life.

“Start by being clear about what you enjoy sexually. If you aren’t sure, it’s time to explore.

“Make time to spend with your lover. Often couples don’t leave enough time and space for sex. If sex has been a battleground, make time to be affectionate without the expectation this will lead to sex.

“If you have sex but it is routine, try something new – watch a hot movie together, read each other some erotica, there are apps (such as Pillow Play and Desire Game) that can add some excitement.

“Good communication is the key to great encounters so work on your communication about sex and what you enjoy. If you are still having difficulty, get some sex and relationship coaching or therapy.”

Reckless reporting increases HIV risk

Reckless reporting increases HIV risk

Keletso Makofane, MPH

MSM technical adviser: The Anova Health Institute

Member: World Health Organisation Civil Society Reference Group on HIV

“Reckless sexual behaviour among gay teens and men” is being fuelled by the increasing use of PrEP. This claim rests on a conceptual misunderstanding and some factual errors.

I was alarmed to read the article titled Playing with fire (City Press, March 5 2017) on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) among gay men. It makes the claim that “reckless sexual behaviour among gay teens and men” is being fuelled by the increasing use of PrEP. This claim rests on a conceptual misunderstanding and some factual errors.

The conceptual misunderstanding is to equate sex without a condom among people who are on PrEP with “recklessness”. Accessing PrEP takes planning and resources.

In a context where many doctors are still uninformed about basic sexual health for gay men, never mind PrEP, it takes courage for gay men to bring it up with their doctors and make plans to access it.

Accessing PrEP means one must go for regular HIV testing (you can only be on PrEP if you are HIV-negative). A person who is diligent and courageous in protecting their health is hardly “reckless”.

Further, there has been a bevy of studies that show that PrEP is protective against HIV with or without condoms, and that if someone is HIV-positive and virologically suppressed, they do not transmit HIV. The concept of “recklessness” must change as we learn new ways of preventing HIV transmission.

The claim that there is a spike in sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among young people on PrEP has no basis in data.

In South Africa, there are not enough people on PrEP to draw that conclusion (or at least not enough people whose STI burden we can measure). Further, in settings where STIs among gay men are on the increase, it is not clear that this increase is attributable to expanding PrEP use, or whether STIs are increasing for other reasons.

Large-scale PrEP trials certainly have not found that people who are on PrEP increase their sexual risk. On the contrary, it has been the people who know that they are already at higher risk for HIV who have opted to take PrEP to manage their risk.

Finally, we make a critical omission when we speak about a potential spike in STIs without speaking about the fact that the STIs in question are largely curable, or at least much easier to manage than HIV.

If, as a by-product of protecting people against HIV infection, we end up with more cases of curable STIs, we would still be having a positive effect on people’s lives.

Contracting HIV is no longer a death sentence, but it is a chronic condition that requires strict adherence to the regime of taking daily medication and making regular clinic visits for the rest of one’s life.

In a time when the global HIV epidemic is raging among gay and bisexual men, it is reckless to stigmatise new prevention technologies and the users of these technologies.

It is especially reckless in the South African context to spread misinformation about HIV.

It is not gay men on PrEP who are playing with fire, it is the author of this article and the editors who approved it.

It feels like slut-shaming

Ben van Heerden (via email)

I’m writing in response to an article published on Sunday, March 5 2017, headlined Playing with Fire.

The article is about “reckless sexual behaviour among gay teens and men who are increasingly ditching their condoms, believing their preventive HIV medication will protect them”.

There are several issues with the article:

1. There are not enough people on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to draw the conclusion that its use encourages promiscuity. The evidence presented is anecdotal.

2. Even assuming PrEP use does encourage promiscuity, it’s illogical to argue that its use increases the risk exposure of users. By its very design, PrEP reduces the risk of HIV. Of course, there are other ways of reducing risk, like abstaining altogether.

But seriously, this is like arguing that the use of seat belts in cars encourages more driving, thereby increasing risk exposure.

Seat belts, like PrEP, are designed to reduce risk, not increase it. Sure, you can elect to walk (or masturbate), but what about people who want to drive/have sex?

Since there is no logic in this argument, I think it’s coming from a position of moral superiority, as if there is something inherently immoral about promiscuous sex.

It’s sex between two consenting adults, who are taking active steps to reduce their risk exposure. There’s absolutely nothing immoral about this.

3. Lastly, PrEP users are taking active steps to manage their sex lives and their risk exposure. The easy/stupid thing to do would be to simply have unprotected sex without PrEP. It’s cruel to judge people who are taking active control in this way. It feels a lot like slut-shaming.

Stop Missing the Point: Sex Ed Is a Human Right

Stop Missing the Point: Sex Ed Is a Human Right


Ensuring that all people—and especially young people—have a complete and accurate understanding of how sexuality can shape and affect us is a necessary and moral thing to do.

I’m going to pose an awkward truth: When it comes to sex ed in the United States, supporters and critics alike are missing the point.

Sexuality is a fundamental part of who we are; to deny that is to deny a person’s humanity. That’s why we, as sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice advocates, must promote sex ed not just as a health need but as a human right. Ensuring that all people—and especially young people—have a complete and accurate understanding of how this core part of our identities can shape and affect us is a necessary and moral thing to do.

Right now, in the United States, too much of the sex ed conversation, instruction (both inside and outside of schools), and funding focuses on risk reduction, as in disease or pregnancy prevention. While promoting medically accurate information about contraception, pregnancy, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is critical, it’s not the full A to Zs of sexuality education. That full range includes key components of health and well-being such as being able to communicate needs, wants, and desires; developing relationships with people; setting boundaries; and learning that you have a right to be treated with dignity and respect, no matter your identity.

So how can we ensure young people receive what they need and have a right to? Fortunately, comprehensive sexuality education (CSE), a framework developed more than 25 years ago with the publication of the first Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education: Kindergarten–12th Grade and further fleshed out by the National Sexuality Education Standards: Core Content and Skills, K–12, provide a roadmap.

With CSE, young people are provided medically accurate instruction—which is appropriate based on age, development, and culture—throughout their K–12 school years. Curricula adhering to the minimum criteria outlined in the National Sexuality Education Standards incorporate aspects of sexuality that go beyond sexual health or even sexual behaviors like using condoms and contraception, and yes—of course—abstinence. It’s a holistic approach to learning about your body; about different ways of communicating and establishing relationships of all kinds with peers, partners, parents, and society; and about having autonomy to assess and challenge the injustices that our culture perpetuates around sexuality.

Comprehensive sexuality education is a core building block from which to destigmatize reproductive health-care options, including abortion, and support healthy relationships from a position of equity and empowerment. In short, CSE is foundational in developing and sustaining an equitable and just understanding of ourselves and others.

Let’s be clear, comprehensive sexuality education is happening in some of the nearly public 14,000 school districts across the country. In 2015, California passed the Healthy Youth Act, which requires elements of CSE from middle school onwards. And last year, the Omaha Public Schools district adopted new standards for sex education for middle and high school students.

This patchwork approach, however, leaves far too many young people without access to even the most basic information about sexuality.

National leadership eliminating abstinence-only funding once and for all and supporting comprehensive sexuality education in schools would go a long way toward ensuring the rights of the about 50 million young people in public schools today.

Unfortunately, for far too long, proponents of abstinence-only programs have perpetuated a “just say no” agenda supported by more than $2 billion in federal funding since 1982. For 35 years, the predominant federal (and often state) approach to sex ed has been ideologically driven, shaming and stigmatizing sexuality, whether we are discussing the act of sex itself or a broader understanding of our sexual identities. Not surprisingly, this perspective that sex is dangerous has affected how some parents, educators, policymakers, and advocates have approached discussions about sexuality for young people. Despite progress that was made under the Obama administration in the establishment of funding streams for research-based programs to support adolescent sexual health, which can include sex ed, the perception of sex and sexuality as a risk to young people also enabled a 55 percent increase in abstinence-only funding last year alone.

Now, the threat of a continued resurgence of abstinence-only programs in place of sex ed is all too realunder this administration and a Republican-controlled Congress. By driving funding toward these shaming and stigmatizing programs, the federal government helps perpetuate harmful ideas about young people and sexuality.

Abstinence-only programs not only dictate particular choices to young people (no sex until marriage, only heterosexual marriage can be considered marriage, you’re “damaged goods” if you have sex, getting pregnant as a teen condemns you to a life of poverty, etc.) without regard to their lived experiences, they also perpetuate the endorsement of ideological over educational content. Program content that intentionally or inherently withholds or misconstrues information is not education.

And while all the right phrases are turning up in newer abstinence-only promotional materials, terms like “healthy relationships” and “communication skills” all come back to saying “no” to sexual activity before marriage. These programs are not talking about bodily autonomy, consent, or condom use negotiation, but rather reinforce stereotypically gendered, queer-excluding narratives about sex.

Particularly troubling, abstinence-only programs treat pregnancy as the worst thing that could possibly happen to a young person, with proponents and even federal funding promoting the prescriptive “success sequencing for poverty prevention” (i.e. graduate from high school, get a job, get married, then have children). Perhaps not surprising to many of us, this pathway to “success” generally only holds true if you’re white.

So much of what is ignored in abstinence-only programs is centered around systemic inequities that people of color, those with low-incomes, LGBTQIA+ individuals, and other marginalized communities face. Abstinence-only programs—and, to a greater extent than should make sex ed advocates comfortable, disease and pregnancy prevention evidence-based programs—expect a young person to ignore their whole self and their lived experience to get information in a vacuum.

On the other hand, comprehensive sexuality education addresses a young person’s lived experience and says “I see you. All of you. And you deserve to be treated with dignity and respect so that you can live a healthy, fulfilled life that is right for you.”

If we’re going to make the kind of progress we need at local, state, and federal levels in preventing the spread of abstinence-only programs and encouraging the adoption of comprehensive sexuality education, we as sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice advocates and activists must embrace this truth: Sexuality education is a human right. It’s time we start fighting for it.

When a Partner Dies, Grieving the Loss of Sex

When a Partner Dies, Grieving the Loss of Sex

After Alice Radosh’s husband of 40 years died in 2013, she received, in addition to the usual condolences, countless offers of help with matters like finances, her car and household repairs. But no one, not even close friends or grief counselors, dared to discuss a nagging need that plagues many older women and men who outlive their sexual partners.


Dr. Radosh, 75 and a neuropsychologist by training, calls it “sexual bereavement,” which she defines as grief associated with losing sexual intimacy with a long-term partner. The result, she and her co-author Linda Simkin wrote in a recently published report, is “disenfranchised grief, a grief that is not openly acknowledged, socially sanctioned and publicly shared.”

“It’s a grief that no one talks about,” Dr. Radosh, a resident of Lake Hill, N.Y., said in an interview. “But if you can’t get past it, it can have negative effects on your physical and emotional health, and you won’t be prepared for the next relationship,” should an opportunity for one come along.

Yes, dear readers of all ages and the children of aging parents, many people in their golden years still have sexual urges and desires for intimacy that go unfulfilled when a partner becomes seriously ill or dies.


“Studies have shown that people are still having and enjoying sex in their 60s, 70s and 80s,” Dr. Radosh said. “They consider their sexual relationship to be an extremely important part of their lives. But when one partner dies, it’s over.”

In a study of a representative national sample of 3,005 older American adults, Dr. Stacy Tessler Lindau and co-authors found that 73 percent of those ages 57 to 64, 53 percent of those 65 to 74 and 26 percent of those 75 to 85 were still sexually active.

Yet a report published by the United Kingdom’s Department of Health in 2013, the National Service Framework for Older People, “makes no mention of the problems related to sexual issues older people may face,” Dr. Radosh and Ms. Simkin wrote in the journal Reproductive Health Matters. “Researchers have even suggested that some health care professionals might share the prejudice that sex in older people is ‘disgusting’ or ‘simply funny’ and therefore avoid discussing sexuality with their older patients.”

Dr. Radosh and Ms. Simkin undertook “an exploratory survey of currently married women” that they hope will stimulate further study of sexual bereavement and, more important, reduce the reluctance of both lay people and health professionals to speak openly about this emotionally and physically challenging source of grief.

As one therapist who read their journal article wrote, “Two of my clients have been recently widowed and felt that they were very unusual in ‘missing sex at my age.’ I will use your article as a reference for these women.”

Another wrote: “It got me thinking of ALL the sexual bereavement there is, through being single, through divorce, through disinterest and through what I am experiencing, through prostatectomy. It is not talked about.”

Prior research has “documented that physicians/counselors are generally uncomfortable discussing sex with older women and men,” the researchers noted. “As a result, such discussions either never happen or happen awkwardly.” Even best-selling memoirs about the death of a spouse, like Joan Didion’s “The Year of Magical Thinking,” fail to discuss the loss of sexual intimacy, Dr. Radosh said.

Rather than studying widows, she and Ms. Simkin chose to question a sampling of 104 currently partnered women age 55 and older, lest their research add to the distress of bereaved women by raising a “double taboo of death and sex.”

They cited a sarcastic posting from a woman who said she was not a good widow because “a good widow does not crave sex. She certainly doesn’t talk about it…. Apparently, I stink at being a good widow.”

The majority of survey participants said they were currently sexually active, with 86 percent stating that they “enjoyed sex,” the researchers reported. Nearly three in four of the women thought they would miss sex if their partner died, and many said they would want to talk about sex with friends after the death. However, “76 percent said they would want friends to initiate that discussion with them,” rather than bringing it up themselves.

Yet, the researchers found, “even women who said they were comfortable talking about sex reported that it would not occur to them to initiate a discussion about sex if a friend’s partner died.” The older the widowed person, the less likely a friend would be willing to raise the subject of sex. While half of respondents thought they would bring it up with a widowed friend age 40 to 49, only 26 percent would think to discuss it with someone 70 to 79 and only 14 percent if the friend was 80 or older.

But even among young widows, the topic is usually not addressed, said Carole Brody Fleet of Lake Forest, Calif., the author of “Happily Even After” who was widowed at age 40. In an interview she said, “No one brought up my sexuality.” Ms. Fleet, who conducts workshops for widowed people, is forthright in bringing up sex with attendees, some of whom may think they are “terrible people” for even considering it.

She cited “one prevailing emotion: Guilt. Widows don’t discuss the loss of sexual intimacy with friends or mental health professionals because they feel like they’re cheating. They think, ‘How can I feel that?’ But you’re not cheating or casting aspersions on your love for the partner who died.

“You can honor your past, treasure it, but you do not have to live in your past. It’s not an either-or situation. You can incorporate your previous life into the life you’re moving into. People have an endless capacity to love.”

However, Ms. Fleet, who remarried nine years after her husband died, cautioned against acting precipitously when grieving the loss of sexual intimacy. “When you’re missing physical connection with another person, you can make decisions that are not always in your best interest,” she said. “Sex can cloud one’s judgment. Maybe you’re just missing that. It helps to take sex out of the equation and reassess the relationship before becoming sexually intimate.”

Dr. Radosh urges the widowed to bring up grief over the loss of sexual intimacy with a therapist or in a bereavement group. She said, “Even if done awkwardly, make it part of the conversation. Let close friends know this is something you want to talk about. There is a need to normalize this topic.”

Chaps, is your blood type letting you down in bed? Men with A, B or AB four times more likely to suffer impotence

Chaps, is your blood type letting you down in bed? Men with A, B or AB four times more likely to suffer impotence


  • Scientists have discovered a link between sexual performance and blood type
  • Research suggests that those of A, B or AB blood type are less likely to perform
  • Those with blood type O are four times less likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction or impotence
  • Roughly 44% of men have blood type 0, less than half the population 



Millions of men in the UK suffer problems in the bedroom due to ageing, obesity and illnesses like diabetes.

But now scientists have discovered there could be another surprising reason why so many struggle to perform – their blood type.

A new study shows men with blood types A, B or AB are up to four times more likely to suffer impotence – or erectile dysfunction – than men who have blood type O.

The findings are potentially significant as it’s estimated more than half of all men carry A, B or AB blood.

Roughly 44 per cent have type O.

Scientists who made the discovery say it supports earlier research showing blood type also influences the risk of developing heart disease.

One in ten men suffers erectile dysfunction at some point in their lives.

Some studies suggest more than a third of those over 40 are affected.

Although drugs like Viagra have revolutionised treatment, around 30 per cent of men who take them see no improvement.

Until now, doctors thought lifestyle-related factors such as smoking, being overweight and having high blood pressure were the key triggers.

But the latest study, by a team at Ordu University in Turkey, suggests many may be at risk of erection problems simply because of the blood type they were born with.

Researchers recruited 350 men in their sixties and split them into two groups according to whether they suffered problems getting or maintaining erections.

Each one gave a blood sample to check which type they had.

The results, in the Archives of Italian Urology and Andrology, revealed men with types A, B or AB were three to four times more likely to flop in the bedroom than those with blood type O.

Just 16 per cent of O blood types had problems getting aroused, compared to 42 per cent of A types.

Even when researchers accounted for whether the men smoked, or had high blood pressure, the differences were still substantial.

It’s not clear how blood type might affect sexual performance but the theory that it can influence health first emerged nearly 100 years ago.

Since then, studies have claimed it determines the risk of numerous conditions, including heart disease, cancer, infertility and stomach ulcers.

Heart problems, for example, are much less likely to be found in men with O-type blood than other groups.

One theory is people with type O have a lower genetic risk of some illnesses.

Research suggests, for example, that they are less likely to have dangerously high cholesterol levels that harm blood flow to both the genitals and the heart.

In a report on their findings researchers said: ‘In our study, A, B and AB blood groups were related to the risk of erectile dysfunction.

‘We believe this study is very important.

‘It’s the first to show such a relationship.’

Dr David Goldmeier, sexual medicine expert at Imperial College London, said men with blood types A, B or AB should take extra care of their health in order to ensure healthy hearts and sex lives.

‘They need to be more assiduous about getting the right amount of exercise and eating healthily,’ he said.