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Dr Petra’s pick of the week

January 10th, 2005

Dr Petra

Every week we see countless stories in the papers about sex and relationships. Many of these aren’t based on reputable research, and some really good studies get missed out as a consequence. Here are the sex and relationships studies just published in academic journals that have caught my eye. They won’t have appeared in the mainstream press, and they could make great story ideas. More angles next Monday, so be sure to bookmark this page…

Changing Sexual Health Needs of Women
A study by Nusbaum, Helton and Ray in the Journal Maturitas highlighted the sexual health care needs of mid-life women – a group normally neglected in studies. Participants reported a number of concerns, many of which intensified as they aged. And yet many of them hadn’t discussed their questions about sex with their doctor – although they wanted to.
Use this story to:
Discuss patient/doctor communication, talk about the sexual health needs and concerns of midlife and older women, to write a feature about how women’s sexual questions and needs continue as they age.

Seeking sex online – pleasure or problem?
A study of people engaging in internet sex seeking, by Malu, Challenor, Theobald and Barton, published in the International Journal of STD and AIDS showed men who have sex with men use the internet to seek sex more than men who have sex with women, or women who have sex with men. However, those who used the Internet to seek sexual partners were also found to use it to seek safer sex advice. This research questions whether people seeking sex on the net outweigh the benefits of safer sex information online.
Use this story to:
Discuss safer sex, review the best sex sites for meeting people or getting advice, outline safe policies for meeting partners online. You may want to target the feature at seemingly straight men, since many men who have sex with men don’t classify themselves as ‘gay’ and may use the net as an anonymous way to meet partners – the sexual health needs for this group are great and aren’t always picked up on in the media.

You’re only as old as the woman (or man) that you feel!
Researchers Enzlin, Mak, Kittel and Demyttenaere published in Research in the International Journal of Impotence Research showed having sex more makes you feel more confident about your ability to have sex. 799 Belgian men aged 40-69 were asked about their sex lives. Of the 69% who’d tried to have sex in the past month, 90% could get and keep an erection and have intercourse. 75% of these men (compared with 15% of the sexually inactive men) said they were confident in their sexual functioning, suggesting the more you have sex, the more confident you feel.
Use this study to:
Talk about men’s sexual pleasure, problems with sexual functioning (and where to get help), and sexual confidence

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