We have been told that it is good to talk – and yes, we are all so much better than before to discuss our emotions and difficulties. However, there is one subject that still confuses people: sex.
We may be surrounded by it – in books and magazines, on TV, and in films and advertisements – but now it appears that we are not just talking about sex, we are not doing it.
According to researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, fewer than half of Britons have sex once a week, who found that intimacy has fallen sharply since 2001, especially for people over 25 and married couples.
If the libido does not match, the person with a higher sex drive can use porn so easily and forget that his partner still occasionally wants sex [File photo]
Why? It seems that technological “distractions” such as box sets, social media and e-mail are really a problem here, making it too easy to ignore the person sitting or lying next to you.
For example, if you stay up Line Of Duty late and your partner retires earlier, your sex life will naturally suffer.
And then there is the proliferation of pornography via the internet. Where there is a lack of libido, the person with a higher sex drive can so easily turn to porn and forget that his partner still occasionally wants sex.
This can lead to the breakup of relationships, where the person with the lower sex drive feels unloved or unattractive.
Sex is undoubtedly good for our mental health. It releases the “binding” hormone oxytocin, helps us relax and – more importantly – gives us the feeling that we are wanted in a relationship [File photo]
Whatever the cause, half of the women and two-thirds of the men told the researchers that they wanted sex more often.
If you think about it, there’s a lot of sadness behind that statistic – and a profound failure of communication between couples that is at the basis of so many miserable, sexless relationships.
Resentment, frustration and anger can bubble beneath the surface and manifest themselves in all sorts of ways.
I recently saw a very depressed woman in the clinic. She had a bad body image, tried several diets, and made herself sick after dinner in a vain attempt to lose weight.
This had led to heart problems, which resulted in hospitalization. I asked what she thought it had caused and was shocked when she answered “sex.” Or rather, she clarified, a lack of it.
She told me she had been married for 30 years, but she and her husband had not had sex for more than ten years. She was convinced that it was all her fault because she was “ugly” and repelled him.
I suggested that I talk to her husband alone, and he also mentioned the lack of sex as a reason for the tension in their relationship.
He explained how this had started when his wife was being treated for breast cancer and because she was often in pain and feeling sick, he had stopped trying to initiate sex out of consideration for her.
Yet his wife had interpreted this as a rejection and this continued even after her recovery.
We may be surrounded by it – in books and magazines, on TV and in films and advertisements – but now it appears that we are not only not talking about sex, we are not doing it [File photo]
It was heartbreaking to think of these two people who still loved each other, misunderstood the thoughts and intentions of the other and couldn’t talk about it.
I suggested couple therapy and after six sessions with a counselor they could resume intimacy, their relationship improved and her depression was lifted.
It was much better than any antidepressant.
Sex is undoubtedly good for our mental health. It releases the “binding” hormone oxytocin, helps us relax and – more importantly – gives us the feeling that we are wanted in a relationship.
Yes, it is a difficult subject to raise and there is always a fear that talking about it will lead to rejection or humiliation.
But if sex is a problem in your relationship, then talking about it – with your partner or with a counselor – is the only way to get it back on track.
Henry Marsh, the celebrated neurosurgeon and writer, says he thinks women are better doctors on average than men.
He argued that they are usually better listeners, more empathetic and work better in groups.
In general, I tend to agree with him. Whether this has to do with a congenital difference between the sexes or depends on how boys and girls are raised is another matter.
What is interesting is that Marsh had said the opposite – that men had become better doctors – he would have immediately been sued on social media and, probably, fired.
Isn’t it strange how we tolerate sexism when it is aimed at men!
Star treatment for future mothers
Prior to the arrival of Master Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, there was much speculation about where the Duchess of Sussex would give birth.
Rumor has it that she wanted a home birth, but eventually Archie was born in a private hospital.
Meghan is lucky that she had a choice. Giving birth in the NHS is often a completely different experience.
Little Archie Harrison was introduced earlier this week by his proud parents to the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and Meghan’s mother Doria. Rumor has it that she wanted a home birth, but eventually Archie was born in a private hospital
It is not uncommon to see a different midwife at each of the nine or ten prenatal appointments that most expectant mothers attend.
If they give birth, it is quite possible that a doctor or midwife they have never met before will be present. This lack of “continuity of care” significantly increases the feeling of powerlessness that women experience.
Too often they feel that their needs are not being met while being transferred from one anonymous clinician to another, making them anxious. It can be overwhelming.
We know that women who are stressed are more likely to have complications during delivery and are more likely to have postnatal depression.
But let’s not lose hope. This week the NHS announced that it would double the funding for maternity care to £ 40 million and – most importantly – women will be offered the same obstetrician to see them during their pregnancy and delivery.
This is a real step in the right direction.
We cannot let our NHS care due to costs of care
People with dementia need help with “unfair and unsustainable” healthcare costs, according to a cross-party group of MPs, and should have a share in a new £ 2.4 billion booster fund for the NHS.
I certainly agree that we need to take urgent action to tackle the crisis in dementia care, but I am not sure whether the use of NHS funds is a long-term response.
The so-called “dementia tax” in the Theresa May 2017 manifesto – it was proposed to use real estate to finance the care of people at home – turned out to be not popular, to say the least, but with an aging population the money has to come from somewhere.
I think the fairest way is that everyone over 40 years old pays a contribution to their future healthcare costs.
Indeed, social care modeled on the state pension, with taxpayers financing a flat-rate “universal care law” that patients could supplement with their own resources, was recently proposed by the former minister of Damian Green.
If we do not do such a thing, the costs of dementia care can cause the NHS to fall.
When a G&T can beat CBT
The British drink less alcohol than ten years ago, according to the latest figures.
But before we all pat ourselves on the back, a closer analysis of the figures shows that this clear reduction is not because we all drink less: it is mainly young people who abstain.
Many of my patients are in their late teens and early 20s, and I am surprised how few of them drink.
Yet it must be said that they do not seem happier for it! Far from. They seem more depressed, anxious and stressed than previous generations.
Instead of therapy, I wonder if the strange tipple and a chance to lower their hair might not benefit them. A case of G&T instead of CBT.
Dr. Max prescribes …
Yang Sheng: The Art of Chinese Self-healing
Traditional Chinese medicine has much more to offer than acupuncture and herbal teas.
One of the appeal of Yang Sheng, which means “feeding life,” is his holistic goal of rebalancing body and mind.
The focus of this book is on prevention, and it is a guide to everything you need to know to incorporate the Yang Sheng approach into your daily life, from meditation to nutrition. Moreover, it is especially good at sleep and mood management.