Good sexual health is important for overall health and wellbeing. Safer sex (using a condom) helps to reduce the risks of picking up or passing on sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and from unwanted pregnancy. However, lots of us will have problems with sex or relationships from time to time and help, treatment and support is available.

Understanding your sexual health

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are one of the main causes of sexual ill-health for men and can be passed from person to person during oral, anal or vaginal sex. Around 1 in 10 men will have an issue with sexual performance at some point in their lives - they can be short lived or long-term and can affect any man whether he is gay, straight, bisexual or transgender. Sometimes too, sex can be difficult or painful, the causes of which can vary. However, there's lots of help and advice available for any of these issues from either your GP or sexual and reproductive health clinic.

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The common causes and reasons for sexual ill-health in men

If you can’t get or keep an erection, you may be suffering from erectile dysfunction. Reasons for this can be both physical and psychological, and most men will experience it at some point in their lives. Poor health, alcohol and worries about work or money are big factors.

Another common problem to affect men is a loss of sex drive, or lack of libido. This can be down to any number of factors, including physical – such as poor health or the side effects of medication - and psychological – like relationship issues, stress and anxiety.

Premature ejaculation is where a man reaches climax and ejaculates (comes) sooner than he wants. It can happen to everyone, but becomes a problem if it bothers you or your partner. Anxiety, stress or relationship issues can be some of the reasons behind it.

Non-specific urethritis (NSU) - or non-gonococcal urethritis (NGU) as it is sometimes known – is the name given to the inflammation of the urethra (the tube that carries urine from your bladder) when the causes of the redness and soreness are not known, and a gonorrhoea infection has been ruled out. It’s fairly common, and usually treated by antibiotics.

Sexual violence is a crime, no matter who commits it or where or when it happens. Don’t be afraid to get help. St Mary’s Sexual Assault Centre in Manchester offers help and support for women, men and children who have experienced rape or sexual assault, recently or in the past.

St Mary's Sexual Assault Centre (SARC)