Sexual Health

HowStuffWorks explores the functions -- and dysfunctions -- of the reproductive system. Learn about maintaining a healthy sex life and avoiding and treating sexual problems.

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Lena Dunham Got Us Thinking About Ovarian Cysts

'Girls' creator was recently hospitalized with a ruptured ovarian cyst. What causes them?

Take That, Viagra! Sound Waves Can Help With Erectile Dysfunction

Scientists say this zap to the penis is the first real alternative to the little blue pill in 15 years.

Attention, Men: Live to 100, With One Horrible Trade-off

Study shows longevity is increased by castration.

How ‘Get In My Belly’ Could Lead to ‘Get In My Bed’

A relationship between food, romance and sex may begin in the brain. For some women, full bellies may lead to fuller hearts.

Do women hit their sexual peak in their 30s?

An enduring "fact" about our sex lives is that women reach their peak in their third decade. What about before that? After? Find out the truth behind the secret lives of women.

Do men hit their sexual peak in their 20s?

A long-held belief about sexuality is that men hit their sexual peak in their 20s. Does it all go downhill from there? Don't panic, guys -- you have biology on your side.

Can antibiotics affect menstruation?

"Misbehaving periods" doesn't appear on any list of medication side effects, but as many women can attest, menstrual irregularities aren't uncommon when you're taking antibiotics. The culprit may not be the drugs.

10 Aphrodisiac Myths

Throughout history, every culture has been looking for that one thing that will up users' sexual game. But most of it's just hooey.

10 Crazy Contraceptives from History

Humans have been searching for ways to prevent pregnancy as long as they've been having sex. Some have been effective, some have been nonsense and some have been downright dangerous.

10 Completely Wrong Ways to Use a Condom

OK, so you've never pinned a rubber to a bulletin board. But what about the old inside-out error? Or the thing about squeezing the air out of the tip? It's never too late to learn. We won't judge.

Why are breasts different sizes?

During puberty, breasts don't always receive identical amounts of the hormone that makes them grow. Why does this happen, and how common is perfect symmetry anyway?

About the IUD

The intrauterine device, or IUD, is a T-shaped device that is inserted into a woman's uterus to prevent pregnancy. See if the IUD is right for you.

10 Ways to Spice up Your Sex Life After Baby

Do you need to spice up your sex life after having a baby? Here are 10 ways to spice up your sex life after having a baby.

References for Having Sex: What's really happening?

What happens during sex? We'll explain all the crazy things that happen to your brain and your body when you're getting it on.

How RISUG Works

The search for the perfect male contraceptive hasn't been going so well, but a clear gel that's injected into the penis once every decade or so could prevent a lot more sperm from reaching the finish line. What's the deal?

Do new fathers have lower testosterone than single men?

Superficially, men's bodies remain largely unaffected by their children's births, but that doesn't mean that they're untouched by parenting on a deeper level. How can childrearing affect dads' testosterone levels? And does it make them less manly?

Does cheating run in the family?

Plenty of people cheat. Collective data on cheating behavior among married couples projects that between 20 and 40 percent of men and 20 and 35 percent of women have committed adultery against their respective spouses. Could genetics be to blame?

Timeline of Sex Pictures

The how-tos of sex haven't changed much over the ages, but our understanding of what's actually happening (and why) took off during the Renaissance. How have humanity's thoughts and beliefs about sex evolved throughout history?

Love in the Lab: Top 5 Historical Discoveries About Sex

As science advanced from philosophy to empirical knowledge, groundbreaking discoveries -- like the five on this list -- revealed a lot about the reproductive equipment inside human bodies. Which revolutionized our understanding of sex the most?

How Orgasms Work

After decades of clinical research, there's still a lot that's not known about that climactic, pleasurable sexual sensation known as an orgasm. What's the biology behind the big moment? And why do men and women experience it differently?

Do men have a stronger sex drive?

Contrary to popular belief, men don't think about sex every 7 seconds. But do they think about it more than women do? What do evolutionary biologists have to say about why one sex has a stronger sex drive than the other?

Does Love Make Your Pupils Dilate?

The eyes are more than the "windows to the soul"; they may help broadcast our sexual arousal patterns as well. What do changes in pupil dilation have to do with it?

5 Ways Birth Control Can Trip Up Your Love Life

The advent of birth control pills not only helped some women reduce pregnancy risk, it also opened the door to greater sexual freedom. But eliminating ovulation may also affect women's sex lives in other, more subtle ways. How?

What's the future of virtual sex?

The future is bright for virtual sexuality. After all, we're human beings. Think of any great artistic or technological achievement and chances are it winds up in the bedroom. Will it end up in yours?

What's the chemistry behind long-term marriage?

Contemporary researchers peeking into the interpersonal and neurological pathways of long-term love have uncovered a host of ingredients for making marriages work. But how many of them are within our control?