As this column comes out today, the worldâ€™s biggest Aids conference (Aids 2012) ended on Friday in Washington DC, USA. There are a number of journalists and correspondents whose articles and reports hopefully will fill the pages of Weekend Nation in these and the next coming days. Depending on what gets published, I will reserve my comments and summary of the conference proceedingsâ€¦so what should we discuss this weekend?
I got an e-mail from someone asking whether ARVs increase sexual desire. I have never heard about this before so I resorted to doing some research. Sexual desire is almost like a hunger that needs to be satisfied for someâ€¦Some will go hungry often and require little in order to be satiated, others hardly ever have the appetite while others require a three-course meal with all the trimmings.
Sex drive varies from person to person. A number of social, psychological, biological and physical factors contribute to this. Biological factors include things like levels of hormones (chemicals in your body) like testosterone, which is the principal male sex hormone. Social factors include work, family and lifestyle. Excessive intake of alcohol or recreational drugs use can diminish both the desire and ability to have sex while exercising and even some foods are believed to have a positive effect. Physical factors like partnerâ€™s attractiveness and biological fitness also influence desire.
While psychological factors include personality and emotional state e.g. depression and stress, lack of privacy and/or intimacy and fatigue. Experience of sexual abuse, assault, trauma, neglect, body image issues (e.g. not wanting to be seen naked because of weight) and sexual performance anxiety can also negatively impact sex drive. Sex drive, libido, can also be affected by medications, medical conditions, lifestyle and relationship issues.
All these factors exist in a complex milieu that drives our sexual urges. Hypersexual people want sex frequentlyâ€¦.(although it is debatable as to what should be considered a normal level of sexual activity) while asexual people are simply not interested in sex. Males apparently reach their peak sexual drive in their teens while for most women, it does not happen until their 30s. (Seems like an evolutionary disconnectâ€”should 30 year old women be sleeping with teenagers?)
Sadly in some relationships, when one partner is not getting any or not getting enough or not getting what they want because of a lack of connection with the partner, or poor communication of sexual needs and preferences, they resort to infidelity.
As much as we have urges, it is how we choose to act on them that matters. As human beings and the most intelligent animal, we have filters that stop us acting on impulse. Imagine a world where everybody acted on all the their impulses and desiresâ€¦.now thatâ€™s a thought!