http://www.ashasexualhealth.org Fri, 21 Sep 2018 14:30:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/cropped-site_icon-32x32.jpg http://www.ashasexualhealth.org 32 32 ASHA Survey Shows Many Herpes Patients Diagnosed Incorrectly http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/asha-survey-shows-many-herpes-patients-diagnosed-incorrectly/ Tue, 10 Jul 2018 16:48:41 +0000 http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/?p=5617 Think you can tell that a rash or sore is a genital herpes infection just by looking at it? If you said “no,” you’re right. You can’t. And neither can your healthcare provider. And yet in a recent ASHA survey of 369 people diagnosed with genital herpes by a healthcare provider, more than 26% said […]

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Think you can tell that a rash or sore is a genital herpes infection just by looking at it? If you said “no,” you’re right. You can’t. And neither can your healthcare provider. And yet in a recent ASHA survey of 369 people diagnosed with genital herpes by a healthcare provider, more than 26% said they were diagnosed with a visual exam alone.

While experienced healthcare providers may recognize the classic symptoms of a genital herpes infection, they also understand that there are other conditions that can be mistaken for herpes, and that they can’t make a definitive diagnosis with just a look. Even if the infection is herpes, a visual exam alone can’t determine herpes type—and that matters.

Why does virus type matter?

There are two types of herpes simplex virus (HSV) that can cause a genital infection: HSV-1 and HSV-2. While most genital herpes is caused by HSV-2, an increasing number of new genital herpes cases are caused by HSV-1. Knowing the virus type is important in understanding what to expect and determining treatment options.

For example, those with genital herpes caused by HSV-1 have far fewer outbreaks than those with genital herpes caused by HSV-2. In fact, many people never have another recurrence of genital HSV-1 after the initial outbreak. For those who have genital herpes is caused by HSV-2, recurrences are more frequent, so more of those with HSV-2 than HSV-1 benefit from suppressive therapy. Appropriate type-specific tests can help a patient better understand what to expect—you can read more about herpes testing here.

It’s clear that knowing the virus type is important, but 30% of respondents in our survey were either not told, or not sure if they were told, the herpes type they were diagnosed with. About a quarter of those who were retested (25.32%) did so because they were not originally told the virus type.

Understanding the diagnosis

In answers to the open-ended survey question “How would you describe your response to your diagnosis,” the words used most often in responses were (in order): shocked, depressed, devastated, and sad. Also frequently mentioned was the word “confused,” and with good reason. A diagnosis can be difficult and confusing, but

The vast majority of respondents to our survey (80.34%) received no counseling after their diagnosis, and 34.78% of those who were counseled after their diagnosis were not satisfied with the counseling they received. Most of these patients turned to the web for more information, from sites like ASHA.

You can learn more right here about herpes diagnosis, treatment, and emotional issues. If you have more questions, you can ask an ASHA expert.

A Conversation with Terri Warren about Genital Herpes Diagnosis

Terri Warren, ANP—nurse, author, and owner of Westover Heights Clinic in Portland, Oregon that specializes in the genital herpes infection—offers her insights and expertise about genital herpes diagnosis in a two-part conversation on ASHA’s Sex+Health podcast. In part one, Warren explains the tests that can provide an accurate genital herpes diagnosis and how they work and clarifies that a physical exam alone should never be the final diagnosis for anyone, for many reasons. In part two, she discusses the importance of knowing herpes type and offers helpful insight into how to put a herpes infection into proper perspective.


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Coming Soon! Get the Latest on the Health is Power Initiative http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/coming-soon-results-nacchos-health-power-demonstration-site-project-implementation-evaluation/ Tue, 26 Jun 2018 14:13:44 +0000 http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/?p=5596 As rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among racial and ethnic minorities continue to rise, local health departments and community-based organizations are continuously exploring effective methods of reaching these populations with sexual health messaging and education. Effective use of social media and social marketing techniques can increase dissemination and reach of health promotion messages targeting […]

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As rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among racial and ethnic minorities continue to rise, local health departments and community-based organizations are continuously exploring effective methods of reaching these populations with sexual health messaging and education. Effective use of social media and social marketing techniques can increase dissemination and reach of health promotion messages targeting sexual and reproductive health (SRH) in underserved populations. One such population is African-American men.

In 2016, African-American men experienced the highest reported rates of primary and secondary syphilis and gonorrhea across all other races/ethnicities and genders, as well as the highest rates of chlamydia among all other racial/ethnic groups. Improving and addressing male SRH needs, particularly in adolescent and young adult populations, are concrete objectives in Healthy People 2020. The benefits of addressing male SRH contribute to improving the lives of individual men and boys, but also extend to their partners, children, families and communities. Yet, compared to female SRH needs, men – particularly heterosexual men – receive minimal attention in literature, clinical health services, and community-based and population health interventions. Additionally, limited guidance exists on effectively reaching African-American men with SRH health promotion messages.

Health is Power (HisP), a social marketing campaign created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Division of STD Prevention (DSTDP), was specifically designed for heterosexual African-American men, ages 18-30. The campaign seeks to promote positive sexual behaviors through a multi-phased campaign with strength-based messaging around increased condom use, healthy relationships, STD testing and prevention, and open partner communication. The “Health is Power Toolkit” provides various health promotion tools including customizable posters, postcards, social media messages, web banners, and “drop-in” website articles. The availability of these resources allows for further dissemination of the HisP messages along with the option to further evaluate the efficacy of HisP messages within local communities.

In 2016, the National Association of County and City Health Officials and CDC DSTDP partnered with Louisiana Public Health Institute (New Orleans, Louisiana), CCM Foundation (Houston, Texas) and Baltimore City Health Department (Baltimore, Maryland) to conduct demonstration site projects focused on implementing and evaluating local HisP campaigns. Demonstration sites adapted and expanded HisP messages and materials to meet the needs of their local target audience, developed customized implementation plans, and evaluated campaign reach and effectiveness. NACCHO provided technical and capacity-building assistance on effective implementation and evaluation of local HisP efforts. The HisP demonstration sites will finish implementing and evaluating their campaigns by the end of June 2018. Over the next few months, NACCHO will be highlighting the results of this demonstration site project on their website. Stay tuned for detailed information regarding HisP implementation and evaluation results.

 

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National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/national-youth-risk-behavior-survey-yrbs/ Mon, 18 Jun 2018 14:27:16 +0000 http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/?p=5584 The latest YRBS reports some positive health trends for American youth but points out nagging disparities still persist with sexual minorities. The 2017 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows fewer young people in the U.S. are having sex and using drugs but cautions that […]

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The latest YRBS reports some positive health trends for American youth but points out nagging disparities still persist with sexual minorities.

The 2017 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows fewer young people in the U.S. are having sex and using drugs but cautions that a number of troubling risks remain for youth in at-risk groups.
The report finds that between 2007-2017 the percentage of high school students who say they’ve ever had sex dropped from 47.8% to 39.5%. Condom use during last sexual experience also dipped from 61.5% to 53.8%. The percentage of students using illicit drugs declined from 22.6% in 2007 to 14% in 2017.
Of concern, though, is that Gay, lesbian, bisexual and questioning youth were far more likely to report having experienced violence and bullying. In the press release outlining the findings Jonathan Mermin, M.D., director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention said ““Today’s youth are making better decisions about their health than just a decade ago. But, some experiences, such as physical and sexual violence, are outside their control and continue at painfully high levels. Their experiences today have powerful implications for their lives tomorrow.”

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Men’s Health Month http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/mens-health-month/ Fri, 01 Jun 2018 15:30:30 +0000 http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/?p=5572 Each year in June we put a special focus on the health needs of boys and men. Sexual health is important across the entire lifespan and involves more than just sex! Body image, relationships, understanding sexual anatomy (and keeping it healthy) are all a big part of a guy’s overall health. ASHA has an array […]

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Each year in June we put a special focus on the health needs of boys and men. Sexual health is important across the entire lifespan and involves more than just sex! Body image, relationships, understanding sexual anatomy (and keeping it healthy) are all a big part of a guy’s overall health. ASHA has an array of sexual health resources developed just for men at all stages of life.

Health is Power!

The Health Is Power toolkit is designed for organizations to better promote sexual health among young African American men (ages 18-30). The toolkit is designed mainly for heterosexual men, but also includes imagery and messaging that can be used with gay and bisexual men.

Men’s Health Podcast

We ruminate on men and sexual health in this episode with Dr. Abe Morgentaler of Men’s Health Boston and ASHA’s vice president for strategic partnerships Kay Phillips.  Both offer their insights and we highlight the tools and resources ASHA offers for men (and organizations serving them).

 

Health & Wellbeing for Young Males

This self-assessment tool is designed for young male patients, roughly ages 14-18, to help provide a picture of overall health and wellbeing. This assessment can be shared with a healthcare provider, who can answer any questions you might have about the questions covered.

Anatomy 101

There’s more to it than what you see. Although most of the male reproductive organs are external, it’s important to understand how all your sex organs—external and internal—work together.

Sexual Difficulties in Men     

Sexual difficulties in middle age are just as natural to the aging process as a change in hearing, vision, or physical strength. While it’s important to understand why most men over 40 experience some form of sexual difficulty, it’s more important to understand that sexual difficulties in middle age (and beyond) can be managed.

Take Ten

Talking to a healthcare provider about your sexual health can be intimidating. You might feel embarrassed about the questions that you have; you might not want to admit to certain feelings or fears about your health. However, being able to talk to your healthcare provider about your physical health as it relates to your sexual health is absolutely crucial. Ten Questions to Ask has tools for finding the right provider and talking with them once you do.

Sexual Health TV

Sexual Health TV (SHTV) is your one stop for a wide range of sexual health programming including men’s health videos like Myths and Facts about Erectile Dysfunction.

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Hepatitis B Virus: Five Things to Know http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/hepatitis-b-virus-five-things-know/ Fri, 25 May 2018 19:12:51 +0000 http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/?p=5565 Hepatitis B is a virus that causes inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) can be experienced as an “acute” infection causing mild illness for a few weeks or months or as a more serious “chronic” infection lasting a lifetime. Chronic HBV infection can cause complications such as cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) and […]

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Hepatitis B is a virus that causes inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) can be experienced as an “acute” infection causing mild illness for a few weeks or months or as a more serious “chronic” infection lasting a lifetime. Chronic HBV infection can cause complications such as cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) and even lead to liver cancer.

Hepatitis B is More Common Than You Think
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates as many as 2.2 million persons in the U.S. are living with chronic hepatitis B.
Hepatitis B Is Most Commonly Transmitted Through Sexual Contact
Hepatitis B is transmitted through contact with infected body fluids such as semen, vaginal secretions, and blood. HBV is most often transmitted through sexual contact but can also be contracted when injecting drug users share needles and other injecting equipment. Mothers with HBV can also pass the virus to their infants during birth.

But Most Don’t Know They Have It
Adults often have few – if any- symptoms. When they occur, symptoms can be mistaken for the flu (nausea and vomiting, malaise, loss of appetite and abdominal pain). Some people with hepatitis B also experience jaundice, a yellowing of the eyes or skin.

The Only Way to Know is to Get Tested
The only way to know for sure is to test! Ask your health care provider if a test for HBV or other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are right for you. Special blood tests are used that can detect either HBV particles or antibodies (proteins in the blood your body produces against infections). Blood tests can determine if someone with hepatitis B has an acute or chronic infection.

It’s Easy to Prevent
Use male or female condoms (sometimes called external or internal condoms) each time you have sex. While they don’t provide 100% protection against hepatitis B and other STIs, when used consistently and correctly condoms are one of the best ways to reduce your risk for hepatitis B and other STIs. Those sharing households with someone diagnosed with HBV should contact with infected blood or other body fluids directly or on objects such as needles, razors, toothbrushes, and the like. Clean surfaces contaminated with blood or other body fluids with a solution of 1 part household bleach and 10 parts water.

There is a vaccine that can prevent hepatitis B! CDC recommends hepatitis B vaccination for sex partners of anyone who has hepatitis B; anyone who is sexually active but not in a long-term, monogamous relationship; those treated for STD/STIs; and men who have sex with men. Others may benefit from vaccination against HBV so ask your health care provider what is recommended for you.

For more on HBV and other STIs visit www.ASHAsexualhealth.org and follow us at #ISpeakSexHealth.

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New CDC Data Show that STD Rates Continue to Rise http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/cdc-data-shows-std-rates-continue-rise/ Wed, 29 Aug 2018 19:11:41 +0000 http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/?p=5641 New data released today from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveal that STD rates continue to climb in the U.S., with nearly 2.3 million cases reported to CDC. The data on five year trends in reported STDs show that increases in STDs have continued for four consecutive years. From 2013-2017: Syphilis cases […]

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New data released today from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveal that STD rates continue to climb in the U.S., with nearly 2.3 million cases reported to CDC. The data on five year trends in reported STDs show that increases in STDs have continued for four consecutive years. From 2013-2017:

Data on STD rates 2013-2017As Gail Bolan, MD, Director of the Division of STD Prevention at CDC commented, “After decades of declining STDs, in recent years, we’ve been sliding backwards. In addition to these sharp increases, we’re also facing new challenges that we must address like the potential link between STD risk and drug use and the ongoing threat that gonorrhea will eventually wear down our last highly effective antibiotic.”

While striking, the data on reported STDs is only part of the story. Many cases go undiagnosed and untreated, and the consequences of untreated infections can be severe. While chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis are curable with antibiotics, complications of untreated infection include infertility, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth in infants, and increased HIV risk.

Also important to note is the fact that STDs impact some groups more than others. Men who have sex with men (MSM) made up almost 70 percent of primary and secondary syphilis, and young women 15-24 made up about 45 percent of the 1.7 million reported cases of chlamydia.

In a press briefing announcing the release of the new data, Bolan noted the importance of following CDC’s recommendations for screening. As she stated, “We recommend that all sexually active women less than the age of 25 go in and get checked for chlamydia and gonorrhea on an annual basis. We recommend that men who are having sex with men, go in and get checked at least annually for sexually transmitted diseases…We just need to get our providers doing sexual histories and doing the appropriate screening and we need to have clients who come in and access care to be asking, do I need to be – everyone needs to ask their doctor, should I be tested for STDs, I hear they’re going up. So, have that conversation.”

Learn more about screening for STDs and how to talk to your healthcare provider about your sexual health.

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Women’s Health Month http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/womens-health-month-2/ Tue, 01 May 2018 14:38:52 +0000 http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/?p=5525 Every year in May we shine an especially bright spotlight on the unique health needs of girls and women. New policies and programs make quality healthcare accessible for millions and we want to make sure you take advantage of all that’s available. You deserve to be well cared for in mind and body! Sexual Health […]

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Every year in May we shine an especially bright spotlight on the unique health needs of girls and women. New policies and programs make quality healthcare accessible for millions and we want to make sure you take advantage of all that’s available. You deserve to be well cared for in mind and body!

Sexual Health Across the Lifespan

Menopause is a normal, natural event—not a disease!
Menopause isn’t a one-size-fits-all event and affects each woman differently. Some women reach natural menopause with little to no trouble; others may experience symptoms that can hamper their lives. And when menopause starts suddenly as a result of surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation, the adjustment can be tough.

Self Assessment Tool for Young Females
These self-assessment tools are designed for young female patients – one for ages 9-14 and the other for ages 15-young adult years – to help provide a picture of overall health and wellbeing and to get them thinking about a number of health topics as they prepare for a visit to their health care provider.

Pleasure is Healthy

Beyond the Big “O” 
Sexual pleasure is good for you! Listen to the ASHA podcast as Dr. Logan Levkoff dishes on everything from not only having more sex but better sex, and why sexual pleasure doesn’t need to involve a partner!

 

Sexual Pleasure 101
If you’re wondering why your sex life isn’t playing out like a steamy love story, it’s good to remind yourself that your sexual-response triggers are unique to you! So just how will you experience sexual pleasure?

Women and Sexual Health Care

Yes Means Test
 A happy and healthy sex life starts by saying #YESmeansTEST. It’s as easy as having a chat with your healthcare provider. They can help you figure out which tests for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are right for you. At a minimum, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that sexually active women under age 25 get tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea every year.

Preventive Care and the ACA
Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a number of preventive care health services are now available for women without cost sharing–in other words, nothing out of pocket! See which services are covered and learn what it means for you .

Take Ten
Talking to a healthcare provider about your sexual health can be intimidating. You might feel embarrassed about the questions that you have; you might not want to admit to certain feelings or fears about your health. However, being able to talk to your healthcare provider about your physical health as it relates to your sexual health is absolutely crucial. Ten Questions to Ask has tools for finding the right provider and talking with them once you do.

Relationships

R-E-S-P-E-C-T
Listen to Aretha! Truly good relationships take time and energy to develop, and should be based on respect and honesty. This is especially important when you decide to date someone. While it’s important that dating partners care for each other, it’s just as important that you take care of yourselfHealthy Relationships gets you started towards the relationships you deserve.

For Your Viewing Pleasure

Sexual Health TV

Sexual health TVSexual Health TV (SHTV) is your one stop for a wide range of sexual health programming including our library of women’s health videos. Check out one of our most popular videos, How Well Do You Know Your Partner?

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HPV: What’s the Real Story? http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/hpv-whats-real-story/ Thu, 05 Apr 2018 17:04:37 +0000 http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/?p=5495 Featuring video interviews from ASHA staff and a National Cervical Cancer Coalition chapter leader, this series tells you what you need to know about how a common infection sometimes leads to cancer and the way vaccination can protect you or your children. ASHA developed this program in collaboration with WebMD Education and the Yellow Umbrella […]

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Featuring video interviews from ASHA staff and a National Cervical Cancer Coalition chapter leader, this series tells you what you need to know about how a common infection sometimes leads to cancer and the way vaccination can protect you or your children. ASHA developed this program in collaboration with WebMD Education and the Yellow Umbrella Organization.

These short educational episodes include:

  • HPV: What’s the Real Story?
  • HPV Infection Is Cancer Prevention
  • HPV Infection Prevention: Not Just for Girls
  • HPV: Why It Matters

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Sexually Transmitted Diseases Awareness Month 2018 http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/sexually-transmitted-diseases-awareness-month-2018/ Thu, 29 Mar 2018 20:19:12 +0000 http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/?p=5477 #STDMonth18 Each April ASHA recognizes STD Awareness Month. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): • There are 20 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases (also referred to as sexually transmitted infections) in the U.S. every year • The medical costs for these new cases are $16 billion • Adding the […]

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#STDMonth18

Each April ASHA recognizes STD Awareness Month. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

• There are 20 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases (also referred to as sexually transmitted infections) in the U.S. every year
• The medical costs for these new cases are $16 billion
• Adding the new cases each year with existing infection, there are an estimated 110 million total STDs among Americans.

People may not know they have an STD because many do not have symptoms, and they can cause serious health consequences if they are not detected and treated appropriately. For example, chlamydia left untreated can put a woman at risk for pelvic inflammatory disease, a condition that can lead to infertility.

 

To spread the message about the importance of STD testing ASHA is continuing the “YES Means TEST™” initiative to educate and empower young
adults who say “YES” to sexual activity also to say “YES” to getting tested for STDs.
STD testing can be confidential and free or low-cost, and common STDs, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea, are usually effectively treated with antibiotics. For more information about STDs, “YES Means TEST” or how and where to get tested, visit www.yesmeanstest.org. Join the conversation online with #YESmeansTEST.

Talking about STIs and Sexual Health

Reduce Your Risk

  • Your Safer Sex Toolbox has the scoop on the different types of condoms (and how to use them), lubricants and more

Take Charge of Your Sexual Health

  • Sexual Health TV: ASHA’s videos give you the facts about STDs and condoms
  • Learn about STI tests and find a clinic near you
  • Say Yes To PrEP: along with condoms, pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) is an HIV-prevention option for those at higher risk that involves taking a pill once daily. Visit #SayYesToPrEP to find out if PrEP is right for you and search for clinics in your area.

We’ll add new items all month long so check back often. Also join our #STDMonth18 Twitter chat on Thursday, April 12th at 2:00 pm ET. We’ll highlight tons of resources and answer YOUR questions (Tweet them to us @infoASHA).

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March is Sexual Pleasure Month http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/march-sexual-pleasure-month/ Fri, 02 Mar 2018 18:34:27 +0000 http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/?p=5450 It’s on! March is Sexual Pleasure Month and the focus is #PleasureIsHealthy! Pleasure has many benefits: sex helps you sleep better, reduces stress and increases happiness. Sex and orgasm actually release chemicals that our bodies love. We can experience the benefits of pleasure with or without a partner, too, so here’s a plug for masturbation […]

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It’s on! March is Sexual Pleasure Month and the focus is #PleasureIsHealthy! Pleasure has many benefits: sex helps you sleep better, reduces stress and increases happiness. Sex and orgasm actually release chemicals that our bodies love.

We can experience the benefits of pleasure with or without a partner, too, so here’s a plug for masturbation as a normal, natural, healthy practice! There’s no one “right way” to have sex and we hope you’ll use some of our resources this month and beyond to explore the many approaches to pleasure and satisfaction we believe you so richly deserve. Enjoy!

Sexual Pleasure beyond the Big “O”

Listen in as Dr. Levkoff dishes on everything from not only having more sex but better sex, and why sexual pleasure doesn’t need to involve a partner!

In this episode we chat with Dr. Logan Levkoff on the value of pleasure not only in a relationship but as part of our overall well-being. Whether alone or with a partner, sexual pleasure is good for you! Listen in as Dr. Levkoff dishes on everything from not only having more sex but better sex, and why sexual pleasure doesn’t need to involve a partner!

Sexual Pleasure 101

We’re all different. What turns you on (or off)? What are your fantasies? Take a look at our #PleasureIsHealthy overview page for tips on having great sex with or without a partner.

 Breathing New Life into Your Sexual Relationship

In this episode of the ASHA podcast we talk with sexuality and relationship expert Walker Thornton about reigniting the spark in your sex life and enhancing pleasure for you and your partners.

Sex and Relationships

There are all kinds of relationships we can choose to enter. What are you looking for? Committed or non-committed? Friendly or romantic? Our primer on sex and relationships covers the range from casual relationships to life partnerships.

Talking about Sex

This is a big one. Communication is key in getting the sex and pleasure you want and there is much to talk about with your partners. How do you start the conversation? Read on!

Your Safer Sex ToolboxTalking about condoms

Pop the latch on this toolbox and get the scoop on male and female condoms, choosing the right type of lube and so much more. It’s about safer sex, sure, but we show you how these tools can add spice to your sex life and boost the pleasure factor.

 

Sexual Difficulties

Sexual difficulties are common for both men and women and the good news is there are solutions. It’s smart to ask for help when needed and this episode of ASHA’s Sexual Health TV shows you just how to begin.

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