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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » The rise of sexual medicine & its impact on you

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Author Topic: The rise of sexual medicine & its impact on you
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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In around two weeks, I'm part of a summit on sexuality where I've been placed on a panel to talk about sexual medicine, and the impact of sexual medicine, pro and con. Looking at the panel, I'm the only one on it who works with youth, so I suspect I'll be asked for those perspectives, perspectives I'd probably bring anyway, since that's most of what I do.

Now, I have my own ideas about how this has impacted young people, just based on observing and talking with so many of you over the years. But I always like to check in with things like this, because it's always a bit weird to be the person giving youth perspectives who is in her 40s. [Razz]

Like I said, I have my own feelings and observations, but I'm wondering if some of you can't talk about yours.

"Sexual medicine" in this context isn't mostly talking about things like contraception or STI testing and treatment, but instead things like Viagra and Cialis, treatments for female sexual "dysfunction," (though that can also include medicine for sexual pain conditions) potentially cosmetic genital surgeries, etc. All things that are now very much out and about, impossible to miss if you read mainstream magazines or watch television, like,ever, but really, like a lot of other kinds of medicine, 30 years ago, little to none of this was in existence, and what was were things that someone would likely only ever find out about from their doctor or by reading medical journals.

I'm curious what impact you feel all of this -- whether this medicine is actually a part of your life beyond media and general talk or not -- has had on your sexual life, your sense of your own sexuality, on any sexual partners, peer attitudes, etc.

Fill me in? Thanks!

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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copper86
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To be honest, I personally think that these medicines have a positive impact on youths and society as a whole. Youth or people of any age with female sexual "dysfunction" can be comforted by these medicines and can achieve personal and physical satisfaction upon using the products. I'm not sure if this convention will also address erectile dysfunction, but I do see more awareness of this around me, like fliers in doctors' offices and TV commercials; though the TV commercials seemed to be geared towards parents or older adults.

One thing that pains me as a youth (though I do not use this medicine, but it does affect me a bit emotionally) is the consistent amount of junk mail I receive on my internet email account regarding "purchasing Viagra and Cialis" and other like-minded medicines. It bothers me that these kinds of emails in spam form - therefore giving the entire subject of the email a "negative" connotation, at least for me - can be sent around and might hit other youths or adults harder if they themselves feel like they need it or are embarrassed to ask their doctors about it. Again, this is only opinion-based.

I think that some youths may joke around about this subject, and I personally do not find it funny. Some TV shows can give humour to it or to the condition, and I really do not find anything comical about it. I find that some of my friends just laugh about STI's or other health issues like "dysfunction," and I personally find it aggravating. I think that the younger generations and also the adult generations should be better informed and educated about Viagra and Cialis and about the conditions that affect our sexuality, because everyone's bodies are so unique and varied, so why should one "body" be the norm? I think my generation should be snapped awake when it comes to being more aware of these conditions which do not "choose" who to affect and we should be helpful and positive instead of either not caring about it if it doesn't affect us or being negative about it.

Please let us know how everything goes! As usual, your involvement with youth and your caring for us never ceases to amaze me and make me happy.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Heather
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Maybe I should add in here a question abut what the notion of "sexual dysfunction" means to all of you?

(Just sounds like from your response, copper, it might mean something pretty specific, or maybe even something it doesn't often mean in practice, so figure it's good to ask, especially when you talk about how sexualities and bodies are so unique, which makes defining what is and isn't "dysfunction," versus diversity tricky.)

Perhaps I can also inject into this any of your feelings about the profit margins of sexual medicines, and the for-profit nature of them, if that's something anyone wants to address.

Thanks again, y'all, and thanks for pitching in, copper!

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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copper86
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Hi Heather!

Well, if I am honest with myself, the concept of "sexual dysfunction" was something foreign that happened to those of older ages; but this ties into my point of myself and perhaps othe young people being misinformed or uneducated about sexual dysfunction; since I am sure that this can occur to others of younger ages or not just "x" type of people under a certain age.

I think what I meant about bodies being so diverse is that I believe that youths just "assume" that a certain level of sexual health is the norm for society; or perhaps they think that we can all function a certain way; or do not think that there are many people who have different body functionings or attitudes around their sexual medicines or health or those of others. I certainly am not being rude at all here. I think stereotypes about medicines - and not just the medicines discussed here - are prevalent among youths, and I personally think that youths (and that includes me, for sure!) should be better educated about these medicines and sexual dysfunction; esepcially so, if we find ourselves or others we know in that situation, we can ask for help with confidence or aid those we know to resources or to give them comfort or refer them to someone for help.

I truly don't know if this made any sense, but I certainly meant it in a polite way. [Smile] I just think that the area of sex and sexual medicine should be more openly discussed and not felt as taboo or outside of the range of "discussed" topics, because it is certainly something that affects all of us as a society.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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eryn_smiles
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I don't think I can offer a young people perspective haha but I am very interested in this stuff. I feel there are plenty of negatives about the pushing of treatment for various 'sexual dysfunctions' and cosmetic genital products/surgeries. I think it is dumb how we talk about erectile dysfunction or even 'erectile failure' when being unable to get an erection sometimes is basically a universal experience. I also think the term 'premature ejaculation' should be banned...

Re: profit margins, the main thing that strikes me is how only people with certain class and financial privilege can go for these products. It also seemed to me that sexual medicine by your definition was mostly a white people concept. But I guess there are similar things in other parts of the world, changing according to cultural context- like that appalling 18 again 'vagina tightening gel' in India.

A positive thing about all these TV advertising and programmes (like UK embarrassing bodies), I think, is that people feel more comfortable to come and talk to healthcare providers about sexual issues- because, if it's on TV, maybe it's not just me who's having this issue. I actually had a woman come and say "I saw on Embarrassing bodies about this lady who had a vaginal tear during labour then had pain during sex for years- I'm having exactly the same problem". And then hopefully they can also open up about some of the related stuff like the relationship arguments or the family or financial stresses that might be underlying.

[ 10-12-2012, 05:31 AM: Message edited by: eryn_smiles ]

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"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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Heather
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(Anymore, here in the west anyway, people seem to be using "youth" to mean people under the age of 30.

I agree with you, btw, about the racial issues in terms of sexual medicine. Especially here in the states, where access to a lot of this is very different for poorer versus wealthier people; those with private insurance versus those using public health. And that's an issue whether we're talking about medications or treatments intended for pleasure -- where there are huge barriers, save with ED medications, which Medicare covers -- or contraception and STI care.)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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eryn_smiles
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Glad i'm still considered a youth for awhile then [Smile]

I don't quite understand the situation with insurance, public health and Medicare in USA. In NZ, women have fully funded access to a range of short term contraceptive methods plus 1st trimester abortion and partial funding for long term methods. One ED drug is also partly publicly funded. The Government recently made moves to offer fully funded long term contraception for women and teenagers living on social welfare payments. Interestingly, many people opposed this, calling it state policing of poor (often coloured) women's bodies.

Do you include hormone therapy for gender transition and SRS in 'the rise of sexual medicine'? I was considering this when my friend who is FTM recently underwent publicly funded top surgery. Prior to these funding changes, most people would need to travel to Thailand on an 'SRS holiday' for cheap surgery- another interesting economic issue! Talking with a colleague, I referred to SRS as a cosmetic procedure; she quite rightly called me out on a 'cis-privileged' viewpoint, saying that some would consider access to hormones and SRS a basic human right. Actually, I think it is awesome that these treatments are becoming more accessible to people who wish to use them.

[ 10-13-2012, 03:08 AM: Message edited by: eryn_smiles ]

--------------------
"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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