Sexual health

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This column will examine how sex, gender, and sexuality impact physical and mental wellbeing and how these issues shape, and are shaped by, the types of societies we build and value. Frits Ahlefeldt-Laurvig/Flickr

Sex, health and society: what’s the connection?

“What do you do?” It’s a question that always makes my heart sink, which aspect of what I do should I highlight in the answer to this minefield of a question. The answer must be brief because the attention…
Some people may be turned on knowing their sexual activities are being monitored by experts. Yves Hanoulle/Flickr

Health Check: why some people have sex for science

The who, how, and what of sex-based laboratory studies may all be a little problematic, so can we generalise from their findings?
How long did they wait? Feet via wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

When can you start having sex after a heart attack?

Each year in the United States about 720,000 people have heart attacks and about 124,000 people in the UK and 55,000 people in Australia will have them as well. Since the 1980s, survival rates from heart…
Still at it. Couple by Shutterstock

People in their eighties have sex – get over it

When we consider society’s prevailing view of late-life sexuality, the convention has been that older people are not particularly sexually active or interested in intimate sexual relationships. These preconceptions…
Love is blind. Pyty

Explainer: what is sexual fluidity?

Sexual preferences are not set in stone and can change over time, often depending on the immediate situation the individual is in. This has been described as sexual fluidity. For example, if someone identifies…
Baby Boomer women are challenging ideas around what it means to grow old. Cesar Vargas/Flickr

Sex, desire and pleasure in later life: Australian women’s experiences

Older people, and particularly older women, are often thought of as being asexual or sexually undesirable. Although the particular age this is believed to happen varies somewhat in the popular imagination…
Our culture tells women there’s something wrong with them if they don’t orgasm. Gustavo Gomes/Flickr

Female sexual dysfunction or not knowing how to ask for what feels good?

The recently published Italian study suggesting women can only have clitoral, rather than vaginal, orgasms raises important questions about the medicalisation of female sexuality and sexual dysfunction…
Studies that deliberately exclude older adults from their samples render older adults' sexuality invisible. shutterstock

Invisible sexuality: older adults missing in sexual health research

The Australian Study of Health and Relationships (ASHR), the latest findings of which were released recently, has much to commend it. Like its counterpart, the British National Survey of Sexual Attitudes…
Most women are just happy to have an orgasm, any old way. Ares Tavolazzi/Flickr

Health Check: clash of the orgasms, clitoral vs vaginal

Controversy over vaginal versus clitoral orgasm is nothing new; it’s a debate that has consumed sexologists and psychoanalysts for the last 100 years. Now, new research has added fresh fuel to the controversy…
When we talk about sexting, are we focusing on the real risks? Image of people texting from www.shutterstock.com

Everything you wanted to know about sexting, but were afraid to ask

Stories of teens taking and sending a naked picture of themselves with their phones have been all over the news media in recent years. The outcome? Shocking, according to reports which have suggested that…
Technology has done away with the need to insert swabs into the male urethra and speculums into the vagina. Instead, blood and urine are tested. In Tune/Shutterstock

Health Check: the STI check-up – warts and all

Sexuality is a means of pleasure, fulfilment and intimate connection with other humans. But it can also be a source of anguish. So it’s perhaps no surprise that of all the areas in health care, the “STI…
Would sex ed have changed anything? Teenage pregancy via Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

Compulsory sex education won’t reduce rates of teenage pregnancy

Proposals to force all schools to teach a compulsory sex education curriculum from primary level up and to restrict the right of parents to opt-out their children are back on the parliamentary agenda…
Believing sex to be important is the strongest predictor of embodied sexual desire in older women. Candida.Performa/Flickr

Getting on and getting it on: good sex isn’t just for the young

Research tells us that women’s sexual functioning declines after midlife, manifested by reductions in arousal and orgasm, and increases in sexual pain. This is linked to reports of reduced sexual activity…

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