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Valentine's Day and Your Sexual Health Wake Up Call

Posted Feb 10 2009 12:12pm
It wouldn't surprise women to know that staying sexually active through the years provides a host of health benefits including an immune system boost. And, a Scottish study completed in 1999 found that people who enjoy sex every other day looked about seven to 12 years younger than their peers.

But with all the focus on Viagra and the little blue pill, you might be taking a back seat yourself to your sexual health and wellness.

Why not use Valentine's Day as a great excuse to put sexual health on your radar screen and integrated into your wellness plan. Here's some interesting information that might help you:

1. Did you know that anti-depressants can get in the way of your sex life? According to The Women's Sexual Health Foundation (TWSHF), more than half of women who participated in a research study were never informed of the potential side effects of taking antidepressants. Yes, 75% of those surveyed said they've had a decrease in sexual desire since starting the drug.

2. If you are taking an antidepressant, talk to your doctor about the side effects. You will need to take the lead here since most doctors do not bring up the subject with women. In another research study, TWSHF found that less than 9% of women ages 21 to over 80 are always asked by their healthcare provider if they are having sexual health difficulties. With the average time length of an office visit at 2.5 minutes, likely you'll need to have your question ready to be asked! However, doctors aren't the only resource for you. Consider talking to a nurse pracitioner or ask your provider for a referral to someone you can talk to who focuses on women's health. Be your own best advocate here and contact The Women's Sexual Health Foundation for more information.

3. You're not alone! Occassional problems are quite common. According to TWSHF, up to 43% of women in general experience sexual difficulties. This may be due to lack of awareness and discussion about post-menopausal effects of loss of estrogen and other conditions such as cancer, diabetes, and stress urinary incontinence. The term "female sexual dysfunction" has been often used in the medical and lay press to discuss the problems such as lack of desire, inability to become aroused, lack of orgasm and painful intercourse.

But, whatever you do, don't pin your hopes on the little blue pill for women or "Fem-agra". For most women this may not end up to the miracle pill it seems to be for men. "Women's sexual functioning is by and large above the neck", says Dr. Linda Smirz, a gynecologist with the Women's Health Alliance in Carmel, California.

To get the information you need to know about sexual health and wellness...and tell your girl friends, tune in to Real Women on Health! blogtalkradio by clicking here: on February 14th at 9:30 am or dial in on your phone at (646) 929-2625. I will be interviewing Lisa Martinez, Executive Director, The Women's Sexual Health Foundation and taking your questions live and on the chat forum.
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