Medicalising sex damages relationships

Overly medical approaches to sex ignore the social and interpersonal dynamics of relationships, argue researchers in this weeks BMJ.

The medicalisation of sex has resulted in surgery and drugs being used to enhance sexual pleasure, write Graham Hart and Kaye Wellings. Viagra (sildenafil citrate) has become the worlds most popular drug ever, and gynaecological surgery is also being harnessed to enhance female sexual pleasure and improve aesthetics.

In America, erectile dysfunction is estimated to affect half of men aged 40-70 and 70% of men over 70. This high level of sexual dysfunction may simply reflect peoples expectations and feelings of inadequacy in the light of the escalating sexualisation of our culture, they add.

The problem with an overly medical approach to sexual behaviour is that social and interpersonal dynamics may be ignored, say the authors. The last century saw a considerable increase in acceptance of diversity of sexual expression. It would be a shame if this century saw diversity replaced by uniform expectations of performance and desire, they conclude.


Contact: Emma Wilkinson
BMJ-British Medical Journal

Page: 1

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