By Pranay Jivrajka,
Vipul, 32 (name changed), married for the past year, has been dealing with problems with respect to sexual intercourse. He felt embarrassed during sex and avoided it as he was unable to go on for more than 2 minutes. This continued to prey on his mind and affected his mental health too. After months of discussion, his wife persuaded him to seek the help of a specialist. It was then he found that he suffered from a very common sexual problem called premature ejaculation. Regular interactions with his doctor and treatment helped restore both his sexual and mental well-being.
Sexual health and mental well-being are topics often only discussed behind closed doors. As important as they are to healthy living, they are also intertwined and have an impact on the quality of life.
Unfortunately, despite a boom in conversations around sex, intimacy and mental health issues, sexual health and well-being are still not discussed openly. While India has a large population of both men and women suffering from a plethora of sexual health issues, many suffer silently because of the shame and stigma associated with the matter. The underlying ignorance also leaves people unaware of its ramifications on mental health and overall lifestyle. This only increases the likelihood of people ‘mistreating’ their sexual health issues and imposing dangers on their well-being.
Sexual and mental health disorders impact quality of life
Sexual health and wellness are connected to more than that just sex, it is a blend of one’s physical and mental state as well as social well-being. Ignoring our sexual wellness can directly impact our overall living. However, there is a lack of knowledge about these topics amongst the public. Sexual issues are often dismissed as being ‘fertility issues’ or worse, venereal illnesses. They are also commonly brushed aside as being isolated incidents. These taboos alienate a person from addressing their issues or seeking help.
When one experiences any sexual difficulty, one often assumes the cause to be purely physical. The link between sexual well-being and mental wellness is quite intrinsic and often ignored. While there has been some progress in destigmatising mental health, sexual health and dysfunction must also be treated in a careful, judgement-free manner.
Poor mental health can lower one’s self-esteem, induce fatigue and lead to performance issues. Research has shown that both anxiety and depression heighten the risk of sexual dysfunction, erectile dysfunction, and impact one’s ability to orgasm.
A lot of women’s health issues, including vaginismus and sexual pain have been tied to psychiatric conditions as well. They can also limit a person from having a lasting and fulfilling sexual relationship. The reverse is also true. Facing sexual problems can profoundly impact a person’s mental health and self-esteem. Additionally, the fear and embarrassment put a person at a greater risk of experiencing issues like loneliness, fear, anxiety, etc. Discussing these topics, and normalising conversations around the same are the only way to raise awareness on these matters.
Maintaining a sex-positive outlook can normalise sexual health
How you feel about yourself can positively or negatively impact your life. While there is a certain level of taboo and stigma that restricts public dialogue and conversations, neglecting sexual health symptoms can escalate the severity of the condition and jeopardise one’s health.If you find it difficult to enjoy a healthy sex life, do not shy away and approach a doctor in time.
To get to the root cause of the matter, an individual needs clinical and psychological support in a manner which is the most comfortable for him/her. Thankfully, telemedicine and digital health clinics act as safe spaces and communities, which makes it easier for people to get judgement-free treatment. Remember, sexual health is just as important and impactful as physical and mental health.
(The author is Founder & CEO Allo Health. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of FinancialExpress.com.)