Sexual Health Affects Women's Well-Being

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2009
Sexual Health Affects Women's Well-Being
2
Thu, 05-13-2010 - 2:20am
According to the World Health Organization, sexual health is "the state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being related to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction and infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive, respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence."



Sexual health is important to overall well-being. Joining us to speak to this important women's health issue is cl-nenuphar_19, leader of the iVillage Sexual Health message board.




bunsofclay


Community Leader of Women's Health



   



iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2006
Thu, 05-13-2010 - 6:00am
Thank you for the introduction, and for inviting me here to talk about Sexual Health.



Believe it or not, I'm now practically tongue tied and at a loss for words, simply because there is so very much that can be said about the topic.



Your introduction is excellent, and it wouldn't hurt for me to reiterate the following:




According to the World Health Organization, sexual health is "the state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being related to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction and infirmity.



The four things mentioned, the physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being aren't separate, in fact, but are often closely linked. All four might come into play, or just a combination of them can be involved, to either help or hinder a woman (or man's) sexual health and well being. We are such complex creatures that it can be very difficult to step back and try to analyse for oneself what the problem is, and how to go about resolving it.

I think that in general women are aware of a great many of the health aspects of their sexuality, since we have to deal with our periods, deciding upon birth control, and then dealing with it and the many side-effects that can arise from the form chosen, for example. This barely touches on the many things that affect our sexuality and sexual health. But another thing that many women also end up facing and dealing with is the sexual health and problems of their male partner. While some women might be reluctant to talk to the doctor concerning their sexual health and well being, men can be even more reticent to do so. In both cases, the intimacy shared by a couple can be seriously affected, leading to problems within their relationship.



I think it's safe to say that any physical problem has an emotional side effect, if for no other reason than there is usually an attendant amount of pain or discomfort from the symptoms. The inverse is true, too. An emotional problem can often bring about a physical reaction, and in terms of sexual health, that can be misunderstood or misinterpreted, especially if there is a gradual or even sudden loss of libido.



A yeast infection, for instance, can be extremely painful and exhausting. Sometimes it is the sudden appearance of pain during intercourse that is the first symptom of it, but if there have been no other symptoms up until then, the pain experienced during sex isn't recognised as a symptom of something else that needs to be looked into, diagnosed, and treated. When any symptom isn't understood or diagnosed, that can also lead to a degree of stress and anxiety about one's health.



Both women and men can find the thought of going to the doctor to discuss symptoms or problems relating to their sexual health and well being embarrassing. Very few people experience the same sense of stigma about other parts of their bodies, and forget that the doctor has probably already seen and diagnosed whatever it is that is wrong before. In addition, the doctor is not there to judge the patient. If he or she does, then it is probably time to change doctors.



Being able to openly discuss sexual health and aspects of sexuality with a partner is something that ideally, we should all be able to do. However, it isn't always as easy to deal with as we would like, partly because the subject is so very complex, and as individuals, we often don't know everything about ourselves. There can be societal and familial constraints one was raised with that inhibit even getting to know ones own sexual desires and reactions, never mind being free enough to discuss them with someone else.



When that is the case, people frequently turn to the Internet and message boards, and even with the anonymity of the boards, it can be very difficult for some people to ask for help. On Sexual Health and Women's Health, as well as the majority of Health Boards here at iVillage, posters are given a friendly greeting and welcome, and consideration and care is taken when answering the questions that are asked.



If you have questions pertaining to your sexual health, or that of your partner, please come and visit the Sexual Health Board, or ask them here on Women's Health.







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Basking in the wonder of spring...













Edited 5/13/2010 6:06 am ET by cl-nenuphar_19




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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2009
Fri, 05-14-2010 - 6:56pm
Thank you for addressing such a complex and sensitive topic here, Nenu, and for providing a safe and welcoming venue for members to ask questions on the Sexual Health board. Your excellent analysis has given us all a lot to think about!




bunsofclay


Community Leader of Women's Health