For men, discussing sexual health issues might be an uphill task because any indication of a challenge in this regard is usually considered to be an indictment of his masculinity. However, this shouldn’t be the case. In addition, sexual health issues can be a sore spot for men in relationships whose situations will largely impact on their partners.
For instance, 15 percent of couples are deemed to be infertile and while women are commonly seen as the root cause, especially in countries like Nigeria, research suggests that men are 50% culpable too. This is why we think it is important for men to take their sexual health seriously and consult medical professionals if need be.
Here are a few sexual health issues faced by men, and Why:
Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
Commonly referred to as impotence, this is when a man can no longer achieve or maintain an erection for intercourse. It could also be when a man experiences a marked decrease in sexual desire. ED is often caused by an existing physical problem because for a person’s to become sexually aroused, his brain, hormones, nerves, muscles, and blood vessels all need to be functional – in tandem and individually. Possible causes of impotence include: heart disease, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol and blood pressure, low testosterone, excessive use of alcohol, etc.
This might not be a problem if it’s a one-off but if it becomes an ongoing issue, it can affect a man’s self-confidence and negatively impact his relationship.
Premature ejaculation occurs when a man ejaculates sooner during sexual intercourse than he or his partner would like. Premature ejaculation is a common sexual complaint. Estimates vary, but as many as 1 out of 3 men say they experience this problem at some time.
As long as it happens infrequently, it's not cause for concern. However, you might be diagnosed with premature ejaculation if you:
- Always or nearly always ejaculate within one minute of penetration
- Are unable to delay ejaculation during intercourse all or nearly all of the time
- Feel distressed and frustrated, and tend to avoid sexual intimacy as a result
Both psychological and biological factors can play a role in premature ejaculation. Although many men feel embarrassed talking about it, premature ejaculation is a common and treatable condition. Medications, counseling and sexual techniques that delay ejaculation — or a combination of these — can help improve sex for you and your partner.
Low Sperm Count
Semen is the fluid containing the sperm a man ejaculates during intercourse. It is not the same as sperm, which can be likened to the passenger while the semen is the bus. If a man ejaculates semen that contains less sperm than normal, he is considered to have a low sperm count. This condition is also referred to as oligospermia, where as if an individual has zero sperm, it is known as azoospermia.
This condition can be caused by a variety of factors, many of which are avoidable: smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, obesity, direct heat to the groin, and excessive intercourse (yes, this is a ‘thing’).
Testosterone is the hormone that influences a man’s sex drive, as well as his muscle and bone strength in adulthood. Basically, testosterone is the key hormone that makes a man, a man – biologically speaking. Symptoms of low testosterone include: low libido, poor erectile function and an overall reduction of sexual activity. Low testosterone is often linked to other health issues like diabetes, obesity, infection, an additional hormone disorder, testicular cancer, etc.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
Also known as prostate enlargement, this is a natural aspect of ageing in men but can have adverse effects later on. The prostate surrounds part of the urethra, the tube that carries urine and semen out of the penis. When a man has BPH, the prostate is larger than usual so it squeezes the urethra. This can cause a weak stream when men pee and cause them to wake up a lot at night to go to the bathroom.
BPH isn’t prostate cancer and doesn’t make one more likely to get it.
It is a common condition, especially in older men but there are a lot of treatments for it, from lifestyle changes to surgery.