Updated June 20, 2008

Sex may sell, but sexual problems are rarely as openly discussed or as well understood as other common health issues. For all the candor about erectile dysfunction (thanks to Viagra and its offspring), topics such as sex drive and womens sexual dysfunction dont get as much attention as they deserve.

Although sex is not vital for good health, its definitely good for you. It can boost circulation, help depression, soothe chronic pain, and reaffirm the joys of living. And sexual problems often signal deeper ills: Low libido, erectile dysfunction, genital infection, or sexual pain may hide a serious health problem such as diabetes or heart trouble.

As sexual health expert RidwanShabsigh, MD, likes to tell the patients in his urology practice, "If youare sexy, you are healthy, and if you are healthy, you are sexy.” This Health Journey is dedicated to increasing knowledge about both health and sex, and the link between them.

Note: The term sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is in ever-wider use as an alternative to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), but we're sticking with the latter for now.

Our Sexual Health Journey team includes editorial advisers Andrew T. Goldstein, MD, and Ridwan Shabsigh, MD; editor Sally Chew; research editor Michael Gollust; lead writer Louise Sloan; and many contributing journalists.

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