America’s Sexual Health Sucks and Here’s 5 Reasons Why

For years I’ve been talking about the inevitable consequences of our piss-poor public sex ed resources, and how the lack of comprehensive sex ed translates into poor, even atrocious, sexual habits that perpetuate the problem. Given that most European countries have outpaced us in sex medicine, that HPV is pandemic in the US, that many Americans don’t understand how to protect themselves against HIV and other dangerous STIs, and that sexually dead marriages and sexually dysfunctional people may run as high as 40-50% of our population, we have to accept the fact that sexual health in the US is crappy overall. It is a growing concern for doctors and wellness professionals of every stripe, as more and more Americans show up with problems they could have prevented if they had healthy sex habits.

Here are the top five reasons why American sexual health is growing into a national crisis:

 

1 People don’t take care of their genitals. When you’re raised to think genitals are dirty, you develop a have major disconnect between your body and your genitals. Most people ignore their genital health until it goes terribly wrong. Your genitals have to be maintained, inside and out, like the nose on your face or eyes in your head. They have to be cleaned, wiped, protected against disease and injury, groomed, routinely inspected, and treated like any other part of your body. They shouldn’t be swamped with chemicals to change their smell and they shouldn’t be trapped inside of synthetic fabrics either.

You should be genital aware the same way you are eye aware: pay attention if there’s an itch, if it swells or turns red, if there’s an unusually bad smell or you can’t use it the same way you did before. All those little changes are important to tell your doctor because any one of them could mean a disease. With early detection, reproductive cancers can be treated and even cured, while most vaginal infections could become a thing of the past.

 

2 People are so embarrassed by sexual dysfunction they don’t get help. Because of the sex-negativity in culture and because the realities of adult sexuality are literally banned in US classrooms, Americans grow up believing that when they are adults everything will go as planned and sex will be unproblematic and easy. So when their sex life goes awry, they are flabbergasted and feel freakish. The truth is that when you’re ashamed about sex in the first place and don’t get educated about all the potential things that could and might go wrong, you probably are not going to be able to handle talking openly about issues like impotence, lack of orgasm, inability to stay aroused, and other common problems that affect adults. Instead, people hide it from their friends, their families, from their partners and may even be in denial about it themselves.

The number of people who see a sex therapist or a physician specializing in sex medicine is a tiny fraction of the total number of people who desperately need help with their sex lives. What’s especially sad is that most common problems can be treated and fully resolved — if only people weren’t too ashamed to admit they were having them. Today’s sexual health professionals can correct issues and teach clients how to build healthier lives through compassionate methods, including therapy, sex education, and fact-based treatment.

 

3 People are deceived into thinking that sex is just something you do. The way Americans treat sex is that you don’t have to think about it or learn about it, you just automatically know what to do, and if you don’t, something’s wrong with you. Yeah…NO! SAFE WORD on that nonsense!

The psychological and emotional sides of sex make it more than something you do. Your sex life speaks to who you are as an individual and how you feel about the sex you are having. Sure, as long as you have people who are both feisty and ready to have a great, safe time in bed, sex can indeed be as easy as “Me Tarzan, You Jane.” Something goes in somewhere and everyone feels fine. That’s how it looks in movies and books. Nobody gets softies or fails to orgasm. In real life, adult sexuality is more like “When Harry Met Sally and Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice, visited Sex and The City, detoured to Brokeback Mountain and came home all kerfuffled.”

Adult sex, as adults usually learn, is not a matter of matching body parts and letting nature take its course without further thought or effort. It’s all about the QUALITY of the sex you have. To build a great sex life you have to be educated on how to nurture quality in your sex life. That’s because, in real life, our bodies and minds follow our biologies. Once the honeymoon period is over with someone, an adult’s sex hormones typically return to battling with adult-style stress. It takes deep relaxation and trust bonds to have fantastic orgasmic sex when stresses intervene. It takes practice and skill to give great oral sex, and even a handjob requires know-how.

The myth that sex is just something any two (or more) people can do if their genitals function is primitive thinking. OK, maybe they can do it technically but they may not receive any of the joyous benefits of deeply satisfying sex. Thinking you know it all if you know how to spread your legs or get a hard-on is more often than not a horrible formula for an enduringly enjoyable sex life. Learning from experience, growing and evolving your sex life are critical piece of the puzzle that makes for a high-quality, dependably functional sex life.

 

4 People think God will punish them for coming. Literally. We live in a very religious culture, and religious leaders are bizarrely opinionated about the type of sex people should have and who they have it with. It’s bizarre to sex scientists because their advice so often is counter-intuitive, biologically inaccurate and myth-based, it’s hard to believe they even go there! Judging by what most priests, rabbis, pastors and imams teach, it’s obvious they are either making it up according to their personal beliefs and sex fears, or they are repeating outdated lessons they learned.

I don’t meddle in people’s beliefs but this much is clear from the science of sex: we were born for sexual pleasure. Made for it, if you will. Our brains demand it. Our brains reward it. Our brains reward us equally whether or not the sex we have produces any offspring. Our brains depend on those orgasms for the body’s complete health. That’s why we have sexual thoughts and fantasies: it all starts in the brain. So if you believe a deity runs the show, then you must believe that deity programmed the show to play sexual music day and night. After all, even if you never touch yourself, your brain still sends fantasies to your mind and impulses to your genitals that arouse you.

The facts are in on this point. Optimum adult health depends on a healthy sex life. So would a supreme being make your body dependent on orgasms for optimized function and then punish you for doing exactly what you were designed to do? The fact is that, bless their hearts, religious instructors don’t know more about sex than their followers.

Ignore the spout of sanctimonious sermons and follow the science on this: orgasms are part of the plan for your life.

 

5 They don’t know they pay a heavy price for poor sexual health. Again, since nobody gets the positive and truthful message from teachers that sex is good for you — much less that masturbation is a normal way to get those all-important orgasms — they also do not learn the consequences of an adult life without orgasms. They don’t learn that if you crave sex and don’t get it, if you carry sexual frustration and sexual loneliness with you, and that if you don’t know how to control and direct that innate sexual programming in life-affirming ways, your body will get sicker than other people’s bodies.

Medical science has shown that your body ages faster without orgasms. Your risk of heart problems and stroke rise as much as 65%. You’re 45% more likely to get prostate or cervical cancer than people who regularly orgasm. You’re more vulnerable to depression, mania, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and other mental issues. And you die earlier than other people too. Orgasms have been medically linked to increased longevity.

And for now and the near future, that’s where the state of American sexual health seems to be frozen. Millions of adults suffer needlessly over problems that can be remedied. Millions more die younger than their peers. And under the current administration, we should probably expect to see a further decline in the state of sexual health in the US.

 

image via school.failblog.org

 

 

Want to learn more? Get my audio series to learn how to overcome all the sex-negativity and anti-sex social training that cripples adults and prevents them having happy sex lives. My two empowerment series distil the best of my clinical advice from 30 years of teaching people how to get over their shame and start a sexual revolution in their minds.  Master sessions in erotic awakening will teach you new paths to sexual self-liberation, relaxation and connecting with your primal nature.