Men and women are different in many ways, (Mars and Venus, anyone?) and there are heaps of scientific evidence to support this idea.
And obviously, each sex faces varying physiological and psychological challenges due to physical, hormonal and behavioral differences. While both sexes face some health problems at equally high rates, there are certain health conditions that affect one sex more than the other.
Men and women's health-related differences extend to their sexual health as well. To get a better understanding of how men and women differ in their overall and sexual health, here are seven things you should know about each sex:
1. Women have a stronger immune system.
Some animal and human studies suggest that females from many species have a better advantage in the maintenance of health and, as a result, live longer.
For instance, a study out of the University of Sheffield by Jens Rolff suggests it makes sense that female biology invests in immunity, as women need to be healthy to carry offspring, while male biology is more about investing in mating success.
2. Depression and osteoporosis are not female diseases.
Although more women are diagnosed with both conditions than men, this discrepancy might be the result of men feeling less inclined to seek treatment for either condition.
This argument is especially true for depression, as women are culturally conditioned to talk about their feelings, while men are often encouraged to avoid such discussions.
3. Both men and women are at risk of heart attacks.
Women typically develop cardiovascular disease seven to 10 years later than men, mainly because estrogen protects against cardiovascular diseases, such as atherosclerosis. Nevertheless, after menopause, women reach the same risk rates for developing heart disease that men do.
While most research focused on cardiovascular disease being a risk factor for erectile dysfunction, there is growing evidence suggesting the same mechanism might be one of the major causes of female sexual dysfunction as well.
4. Women are more likely to have sexual problems.
According to an article from Current Psychiatry Reports, sexual dysfunction affects approximately 43 percent of women and 31 percent of men. Despite this fact, however, studies and treatments of sexual problems tend to focus more on men than on women.
The sexual problems that affect women are quite different from those affecting men, not only due to anatomical differences between the sexes, but probably due to psychological and cultural factors as well.
5. Men can develop pelvic floor problems as well.
Women of childbearing age are frequently recommended to practice Kegels to keep their pelvic floor muscles strong. This is not only beneficial for female sexual functioning, but for proper bladder control and bowel habits as well.
However, not many are aware of the benefits of Kegel exercises for men. The Journal of Sexual Medicine suggested proper sexual response and arousal, in both men and women, greatly depends on the functioning of this particular group of muscles.
6. Depression causes a decrease in sex drive for both sexes.
Depression is considered an “invisible” disease, with a rising number of people being diagnosed with the disorder. One of the many symptoms of depression is a diminished sex drive, alongside poor sexual functioning.
While women tend to experience symptoms like vaginal dryness, men may develop erectile dysfunction as a result of depression. To make matters even worse, antidepressants don't help with sexual functioning. Rather, they only seem to contribute to a loss of sex drive in both men and women.
7. Male menopause might be a real thing.
We're all aware of female menopause. Low serum estrogen levels are easy to test, and the cessation of menstruation is an obvious sign a woman is at the end of her reproductive age.
On the other hand, men can father children well into old age, and there's no obvious sign a man is going through what is described as "male menopause" or even "andropause."
Nevertheless, older men tend to experience symptoms similar to menopause and a decline in testosterone levels that researchers believe may be to blame for sexual dysfunction, loss of muscle, increasing fatigue, mental fog and other symptoms some men experience in mid-life.